Research interests


While grading is a central part of most formalized systems of higher education today, grades are often misaligned with the learning outcomes important to STEM instructors. Grades promote external motivation to learn rather than a learning-focused or internalized motivation. Furthermore, grades have been shown to enforce societal-level inequities. Alternative structures are a growing focus of study. One approach is ungrading, the practice of de-emphasizing or removing grades altogether in formal classroom settings. Today, “ungrading” serves as an umbrella term encompassing a variety of approaches and structures to feedback and evaluation. I use an ungrading approach in all my classes based on student self-reflection and self-evaluation, and I study ungrading in general to understand how it works and to improve how it is done.

To learn more about my take on ungrading, check out the video on the home page (or at this link).

Equity in STEM

I believe that equity issues are inseparable from the physics content in my syllabi and in my classroom. As such, I strive to incorporate an awareness of and a sensitivity to systemic oppression in all areas of my research and teaching, as well as a moral obligation to address it. I also recognize the essential importance of self-education and collective learning on issues of oppression. I am particularly interested in the experiences of people with LGBT+ identities in STEM culture. 

I am a co-founder of CU-Prime, a student-run diversity-focused organization at CU Boulder, and a Core Organizer in The Access Network, a national network of such organizations across the US.

Experimental Modeling

Modeling, as specified by the Modeling Framework for Experimental Physics, is a central learning outcome for physics laboratory classes (especially at the upper-division level). I was central in the development of MAPLE, the Modeling Assessment for Physics Laboratory Experiments, a research-based assessment instrument to measure proficiency with the Modeling Framework.

Measurement Uncertainty

Measurement uncertainty is a common learning goal in introductory physics lab courses, and serves as the foundation for much of experimental physics learning. I was central in the development of SPRUCE, the Survey of Physics Reasoning on Uncertainty Concepts in Experiments, a research-based assessment instrument to measure proficiency with concepts and practices connected to measurement uncertainty.