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Abstract Title: Assessing the Maryland Learning Assistant Program
Abstract: We review findings from the first four years of running a Learning Assistant (LA) program [1] at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). At UMCP, LAs have supported educational transformation efforts across 12 different science courses and engaged 22 different instructors in research-based educational practices.  In assessing the impact of this program on LAs, we have replicated CU-Boulder's finding that LAs' conceptual understanding is improved through participation in the LA program (~10% average absolute gain on FMCE[2]) [3]. We are investigating the longitudinal impacts of the LA experience on LAs and how our LA program may be cultivating change agents.  We find that many of our former LAs continue to be involved in some teaching and work to change how learning environments are structured.  LAs also report that their experiences in the program were transformative for the ways that they thought about teaching and learning science.
[1] V. Otero, N. Finkelstein, R. McCray, and S. Pollock (2006). "Who is responsible for preparing science teachers?" Science, 313, pp. 445-446.
[2] R. K. Thornton and D. R. Sokoloff (1998). "Assessing student learning of Newton's laws: The Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation and the Evaluation of Active Learning Laboratory and Lecture Curricula." American Journal of Physics, 66(4), pp. 338-352.
[3] V. Otero, S. Pollock and N. Finkelstein (2010). "A physics department's role in preparing physics teachers: The Colorado learning assistant model." American Journal of Physics, 78(11), pp. 1218-1224.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Chandra Turpen
University of Maryland, College Park
1312 Toll Physics Building, Department of Physics
Univesity of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
Phone: 3038170250
and Co-Presenter(s)
Erin Sohr, University of Maryland, College Park