Tuesday, February 5, 2019

PER Research Associate, MIT [UPDATE: position filled]

Research Associate MIT: Physics Education Research

RELATE.MIT.edu group, Dave Pritchard
The REsearch on Learning Assessing and Tutoring Effectively group is studying and improving learning in demonstrable ways. Central to this is assessment: help create/improve our (not yet) complete set of research-based week by week topical quizzes and an assessment of reasoning skills for mechanics. Our goal is to provide students and teachers formative/summative assessments with resolution down to the sub-topic level, as well as evaluations of higher level skills.  This involves identifying and improving existing problems as well as authoring new ones, while always analyzing their performance and (hopefully) demonstrating their superiority over traditional hand-graded problems. The major responsibility of the research associate will be to collect and augment assessments, and ideas from the research literature, write new questions, and help understand the data.  We are also analyzing a large (17k) data set on the FCI emphasizing the diagnosis of specific student shortcomings on the pretest by mining information from the incorrect responses – ultimately to guide instruction.
This postdoc will include curating resources, performing experimental/control group experiments to research which instructional resources teach which topics & learning objectives best, and especially the characteristics of expertise.  RELATE has expertise in educational data mining, psychometrics including multi-dimensional item response theory, and experience in designing online experiments. (see http://RELATE.mit.edu)  Our postdocs generally participate in the physics department’s teaching and online education.

Requisite Knowledge and Skills:

Knowledge of Physics (esp. mechanics and E&M) and education research literature
Programming ability with Python and Statistics/data analysis skills, r
Teaching experience in introductory physics
Writing novel and clear questions and research articles

A Ph.D or Ed.D in physics or science education research, statistics and data mining, or cognitive science etc. is desired, but a physics BS with following teaching experience is OK.  Applicant must be comfortable working both alone and with others.  All former RELATE alumni have obtained positions in academia or education companies. Inquiries and applications (CV, cover letter, and list of at least three references) should be sent to relateMIT@gmail.com (please include “postdoc application” in subject line). Review of applications will begin immediately; starting date June to late Fall 2019.

MIT is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer. For more information check http://web.mit.edu/physics/about/employment.html and http://relate.mit.edu/jobs.html .
Prof. David E. Pritchard  dpritch@mit.edu
Room 26-241 Dept. of Physics, MIT
77 Massachusetts Ave. , Cambridge, MA 02139.