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Maria Araceli Ruiz-Primo

Director, Research Center

My story:

I became interested in assessment and program evaluation when I was an undergraduate student. In Mexico, undergraduate students need to write a thesis to obtain a bachelor degree. Mine was on the topic of assessment.

The first assessment I developed was an instrument for measuring methodological skills of soundness and the soundness of the approaches they used to answer research questions in psychology. I know now that I developed a performance-based assessment using students research projects. The instrument was later used in the evaluation of an instructional program in the School of Psychology at the National University of Mexico (UNAM).

Eight years later, I came to the United States as a student in a Ph.D. program in educational psychology. That was the time in which important research took place in the U.S. that showed the value of using performance assessments in education. Since then, my research has focused on the development and evaluation of assessments in science education. I have conducted research on the use of science notebooks, concept maps, and other instruments in the assessment of student learning. The last seven years, I also have focused on classroom assessment and, more specifically, formative assessment.

My students at University of Colorado Denver:

It has been a great experience to teach students at CU Denver. One of my goals is to support them to become critical consumers of the assessments they use. At the end of my courses, I want my students to leave with a clear understanding of the notion of measurement in education and the social sciences and a good set of methodological skills.

Teaching is an intense experience. I believe in the instructional value of feedback. Thus, a great deal of my efforts are oriented to writing detailed comments on the students; papers and designing activities and assignments that are meaningful to their current and future professional lives.

Classes I teach at the University of Colorado Denver School of Education & Human Development:

  • Introduction to Measurement REM 5300

My research interests:

  • Development of technically sound assessments
  • Development of a methodology for instructionally sensitive assessments
  • Student-engaged formative assessment
  • Inquiry-based science instruction

My hobbies:

My husband and I collect old typewriters. I enjoyed a lot cooking and baking.

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