Dr. Joel Kuipers



GWIPP Research: Joel Kuipers

This page features research funded through GWIPP and performed by Joel Kuipers.

Title: Developing a Semiotic Framework for How People Learn Science Across Contexts
Researcher: Joel Kuipers
Funding: SRI International
Category: Education Policy
Start Date: September 2008
Status: Completed

Summary: Recent results from standardized assessments indicate that science is one of the most challenging subjects for students and that American students are falling behind their peers in other developed nations (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2005; National Center for Education Statistics, 2000; Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, 2007).  Moreover, these reports indicate that American students’ achievement in science has not improved in the last three decades. 

While achievement scores provide an indication of students’ overall understanding of science, we have less detailed information about student learning science in and across formal and informal settings (but cf. Linn, Bell, & Hsi, 1998).  We adopt an ethnographic perspective that treats the process of learning as distinct from individual moments of cognition, taking place within and across many events, and over time (Wortham, 2006).  Yet the question remains how may one document empirically students’ learning behaviors over time?  How can one capture and analyze the vast amount of data needed to examine a phenomenon that takes place both within and across timescales?  It is with these questions in mind that this project was designed.  It proposes development of a theoretical framework for analyzing learning behaviors within and across contexts, as well as a technical toolbox for handling the amount of data needed to examine student learning over time.