S4 Founding Principals Publish in Ecology and Evolution

With our latest research, published in Ecology and Evolution, we describe how one sociocultural learning framework, cultural–historical activity theory (CHAT), could be used to guide data collection to characterize the effects of REU programs on participant’s learning in an educationally meaningful context.

CHAT embodies a systems approach to assessment that accounts for social and cultural factors that influence learning. We illustrate how CHAT has guided assessment of the Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Ecology (HF-SRPE), one of the longest-running REU sites in the United States. Characterizing HF-SRPE using CHAT helped formalize thoughts and language for the program evaluation, reflect on potential barriers to success, identify assessment priorities, and revealed important oversights in data collection.

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