April 8, 2008
For immediate release
Drs. Matthew Quirk and John Yun of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School have received 2008 Regents Junior Faculty Fellowships, awards designed to help junior faculty develop a substantial record in research and creative work necessary for advancement to tenure.
Matthew Quirk’s project examines the challenges teachers face motivating upper elementary/ middle school children to read in urban classrooms. The proposed project continues work he is currently conducting developing a teacher questionnaire that assesses teacher’s beliefs about student motivation to read and examines its relationship with multiple indicators of reading motivation and reading achievement. This work is being done in collaboration with a team of researchers from the University of Southern California, Cal State University Los Angeles, and Cal State University Fullerton.
John Yun’s project examines the huge gap that exists between the hopes for standardized examinations to improve the quality of instruction in all schools and the use that teachers can make of them in their classrooms. He suggests that current data produced by these examinations is insufficient to provide information to make week-to-week instructional decisions. To address this need, Dr. Yun has proposed an exploratory project to design and evaluate short sets of formative assessments or “testlets” that can provide teachers with usable information to make informed instructional choices focused on why students get questions wrong instead of whether they get them wrong.
Matthew Quirk is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology. After receiving a B.S. in elementary education from Penn State, he taught at both the pre-k and 2nd grade levels in Athens, GA. His subsequent experiences teaching in schools that served students from low SES backgrounds had a significant influence on his interest in children’s early literacy development and academic motivation. Quirk’s post-graduate work at the University of Georgia focused on the interplay between the development of students’ early reading skills and their motivation for engaging in reading related activities. After receiving a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in Educational Psychology, he spent two years as an Assistant Professor in the Graduate Reading program at California State University, Long Beach where he taught courses on reading assessment and instruction as well as courses on research methods and quantitative statistics.
John Yun is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education and a former high school science teacher. His training – culminating in an Ed.D. from Harvard University – is in educational policy using both economic and quantitative methodologies.. Dr. Yun’s research focuses on issues of equity in education, specifically patterns of school segregation; educational differences between private and public schools; the effect of funding, poverty, and opportunity on educational outcomes; and the educative/counter-educative impacts of high-stakes testing.
[Matthew Quirk and John Yun are available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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