UNH 3030, 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90045

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Presented by:
Rochelle E. Tractenberg, PhD, MPH, PhD, PStat, Georgetown University 

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While higher education can tend to focus on cultivating certainty - in the sense of providing the right or best answer in summative assessment, this presentation will discuss two types of uncertainty that can be useful to support the development of “scientific literacy”. One type of uncertainty plays a critical role in the development of any new and complex skill: the uncertainty that is (self-) assessed throughout metacognition, the process of thinking about, and directing, one’s own thinking. We have found that metacognition is a learnable, improvable skill set, although it is difficult to teach and assess. A second type of uncertainty – possibly equally difficult to teach – is that inherent in the application and interpretation of statistics. The utility of a Mastery Rubric, a curriculum building and evaluation tool, in cultivating each of these types of uncertainty, will be discussed. Evidence on metacognitive development will be presented from a Mastery Rubric for Ethical Reasoning; and the newest Mastery Rubric, for Statistical Literacy, will be described. An argument will be outlined for the utility of the Mastery Rubric for Statistical Literacy in cultivating uncertainty in terms of both statistics and the learner’s abilities to think and reason in complex problem solving such as that which supports “scientific literacy”.

Dr. Tractenberg is a Tenured Associate Professor in the Departments of Neurology; Biostatistics, Bioinformatics & Biomathematics; and Psychiatry at the Georgetown University Medical Center. She directs the Collaborative for Research on Outcomes and –Metrics and the Best Evidence in Health Professions Education (BEME) International Collaborating Center (BICC) at Georgetown University. She is a cognitive scientist (PhD 1997) and biostatistician (MPH 2002), as well as an expert in measurement (PhD 2009). Dr. Tractenberg's research areas include measurement in biomedical and higher education applications; latent variable modeling and clinical research; and preparing biomedical and quantitative scientists for ethical and responsible participation in research and science.

Refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP to teachers@lmu.edu or x85866.

This program will be video and audio taped and may be podcast. By your willing participation in the program, you expressly and irrevocably consent to be photographed, videotaped and/or audio taped and quoted/cited. The films, tapes, and other digital recordings will become the property of the Center of Teaching Excellence, LMU.

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