Student Assessment Researchers (StARs)

Our Mission

The Student Assessment Researchers (StARs) believe that student voices should be included in conversations about assessment of student learning at UC Davis. Undergraduate students have the opportunity to share their experiences, perspectives, and expertise of their academic journey through the Curious Aggies (CA) project. The CA research inquiry is a dynamic and collaborative effort with a strong emphasis on humanizing research through the partnerships created by our student researchers.

In this, our undergraduate StARs have been trained to recruit participants, conduct interviews, and to analyze data in ways that value the student perspective. For this project, we employ both qualitative and quantitative analyses of data, provide descriptive statistics from the survey of responses by categories such as year, major, transfer status, socioeconomic standing, racio-ethnic identity, gender identity, and first-generation status. Our research represents a grounded theory analysis of interview data. 

We believe that student-led research is important because it ensures that data collected about and with students is analyzed by students. Through Curious Aggies, student-led research makes it possible for undergraduates to contribute to create change that will benefit our learning. 

Our Core Values


We are always curious about ways to improve the ways students can demonstrate their learning here at UC Davis. We believe that curiosity is incredibly important to keep the interests of students at the forefront of student equity. 


Our work seeks to develop and provide effective resources for both students and faculty to foster a more equitable learning environment for students attending UC Davis. Pedagogical practices should never be approached as “one-size-fits-all.” All resources are informed by undergraduate perspectives collected during the Curious Aggies project (Burke Reifman, et al., 2021).


We will always encourage and invite students of all identities to involve themselves in assessment work. Our work will always strive to uplift the voices of students who hail from historically underrepresented communities with careful consideration of how it has shaped their academic experiences.


With the recent challenges to our instructional modalities, it is more important than ever to account for the diverse and dynamic needs of our student population. We recognize that research about undergraduate assessment is an ongoing and dynamic process. Research inquiries will adapt and change to account for developing student perspectives. 

Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications and Conference Presentations

Reifman, J. B., Sims, M., Penarroyo, M., & Torres, L. (2023). Investigating Student Confusion and Self-Efficacy with SLOs to Support Student Learning [Article]. Learning Assistance Review (TLAR), 28(1), 39-63.

Burke Reifman, J., Penarroyo, M., Torres, L., & White, M. (2023, Feb. 18-22). Student-centered research to understand student perceptions of writing assessments and writing transfer [Conference Presentation]. Writing Research Across Borders (WRAB), Trondheim, Norway.

Burke Reifman, J., Penarroyo, M., Torres, L., & White, M. (2022, Oct. 9-11). How do students see student learning outcomes as preparing them for their imagined futures? An analysis of student confidence and learning outcomes [Conference Presentation]. IUPUI Assessment Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Burke Reifman, J., Kalish, L., & White, M. (2022, June 6-9). A dialogue on students as researchers: An innovative model of inclusive, equity-centered assessment research [Conference Presentation]. Annual Conference of the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education, Providence, RI. Slides:

Burke Reifman, J., Kalish, L., & White, M. (2022). From participant to researcher and back again: Reflections on a model of inclusive, equity-centered assessment. Emerging Dialogues in Assessment.

Burke Reifman, J., White, M., & Kalish, L. (2022). Students as participants and researchers: A model of iterative member-checking for inclusive, equity-centered research. Intersection: A journal at the intersection of assessment and learning  3(1).

Burke Reifman, J., Kalish, L., Moloney, K., & White, M. (2021, October 24-27). Students as researchers and participants: A model of inclusive, equity-centered assessment research [Conference Presentation]. IUPUI Assessment Institute, Indianapolis, IN. Slides:

2022-2023 StARs Team

Lead Graduate StAR
Undergraduate StARs
Academic Assessment Lead