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Maggie Renken

Assistant Professor    

Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, University of Wyoming,2011
M.S. in Experimental Psychology, University of Wyoming,2008
B.S. in Psychology,Clemson University,2005


Maggie Renken’s research has made significant contributions to understanding, scaffolding and measuring students’ STEM knowledge. Projects explore the acquisition and revision of knowledge in domains like biology and physics. Studies address the mechanisms underlying knowledge acquisition and the development of these mechanisms. This work is intended to inform approaches for assessing and improving scientific thinking and learning in formal and informal STEM learning environments, particularly those that integrate technology use. While emphasis is on adolescents in grades 6-12, projects often span Pre-K-16 and often narrow in on considering outcomes for students from populations typically underrepresented in STEM.


Selected Publications

Renken, M., Peffer, M., Otrel-Cass, K., Girault, I., and Chioccariello, A. (2016). “Simulations as scaffolds in science education.” Springer Briefs in Educational Communications and Technology. Springer Publishing: New York.

Peffer, M. and Renken, M. (2016). “Practical strategies for collaboration across discipline-based education research and the learning sciences.” Cellular Biology Education-Life Sciences Education, 15 (11), 1-10. doi: 10.1187/cbe.15-12-0252.

Renken, M., McMahan, E., and Nitkova, M. (2015). “Initial validation of an instrument measuring psychology-specific epistemological beliefs.” Teaching of Psychology, 42(2), 126-136. doi: 10.1177/0098628315569927.  

Renken, M. D., and Nunez, N. (2013). “Computer simulations and clear observations do not guarantee conceptual understanding.” Learning and Instruction, 23, 10–23. doi:10.1016/j.learninstruc.2012.08.006

Renken, M. D., and Nunez, N. (2010). “Evidence for improved conclusion accuracy after reading about rather than conducting a belief-inconsistent simple physics experiment.” Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology, 24, 6, 792-817. doi: 10.1002/acp.1587.

Externally-Funded Research 

Acquainting Metro Atlanta Youth with STEM (AMAYS) National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) (Co-PI).