Student Assessment Researchers (StARs)

Our Mission

The StARs team believes 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 annual CA research inquiry is a dynamic and collaborative effort prompted by the Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE) 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

Curiosity 

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. 

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).

Intersectionality

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.

Adaptability

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 Publications and Conferences

  • Burke Reifman, J., Penarroyo, M., Sims, M., Torres, L., & White, M. (2023, February)  Student-centered research to understand student perceptions of writing assessments and writing transfer [Paper Presentation]. Writing Research Across Borders (WRAB) 2023, Trondheim, Norway. 
  • Burke Reifman, J., Penarroyo, M., Sims, M., Torres, L., & White, M. (2022, October) How do students see student learning outcomes as preparing them for their imagined futures?: an analysis of student confidence and learning outcomes [Paper presentation]. IUPUI Assessment Institute 2022, Indianapolis, IN. 
  • Burke Reifman, J., Penarroyo, M., Sims, M., Torres, L., & White, M. (2022, June) A dialogue on students as researchers: an innovative model of inclusive, equity-centered assessment research [Paper presentation].  AAHLE 2022 Conference, Providence, RI. 
  • Burke Reifman, J., Kalish, L., & White, M. (2022, April). 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, January) 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). Students as researchers and participants: a model of inclusive, equity-centered assessment research​ [Paper presentation]. IUPUI Assessment Institute 2021, Indianapolis, IN. 

2022-2023 StARs Team

Kara Moloney (she/her) - Ph.D., Literacy Studies, Academic Assessment Lead 

Jennifer Burke Reifman (she/her) - Ph.D. Candidate, School of Education, Lead Graduate StAR 

Mik Penarroyo (they/them) - Sociology, Senior, Undergraduate StAR

Loren Torres (she/her) - Sociology, Junior, Undergraduate StAR