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Maggie Renken

Assistant Professor    
Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, University of Wyoming,2011
M.S. in Experimental Psychology, University of Wyoming,2008
B.S. in Psychology,Clemson University,2005

Maggie Renken’s research focuses on understanding students’ scientific thinking. Projects explore how science knowledge is acquired by considering the role of underlying mechanisms, like epistemic cognition, and their development. This work is intended to inform approaches for assessing and improving scientific thinking and learning. Her research considers the role of text-based explanations, hands-on experimentation and computer-simulated experiences in students’ disciplinary core knowledge has been recognized with an Outstanding Masters’ Thesis award from the University of Wyoming, an Outstanding Dissertation award from the Educational Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association and an Award for Outstanding Research from GSU’s Department of Educational Psychology, Special Education, and Communication Disorders.

Since her time as an NSF Graduate Fellow in K-12 STEM education with the University of Wyoming’s Science Posse, Renken has worked with K-12 educators in a variety of school settings, with researchers in ecology, mathematics, engineering, biology, physics and geosciences, and with science education researchers in eight countries outside the United States including India, Denmark, France, Italy, Greece, New Zealand, China and Canada.

Maggie Renken CV


Renken, M., McMahan, E., and Nitkova, M. (in press, expected publication date January 2015). “Initial validation of an instrument measuring psychology-specific epistemological beliefs.” Teaching of Psychology.

Renken, M., Carrion, C., and Litkowski, E. (in press, expected publication date December 2014). “Targeting students’ epistemologies: Instructional and assessment challenges to inquiry-based science education.” In J.M. Carfora and P. Blessinger (Eds.), Inquiry-Based Learning for Faculty and Institutional Development: A Conceptual and Practical Resource for Educators. Emerald Publishing.

Goldin, I., Renken, M., Galyardt, A., and Litkowski, E. (in press, expected publication date September 2014). “Individual differences in identifying sources of science knowledge.” Lecture Notes in Computer Science Series: Proceedings of the 2014 European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning, Graz, Austria.

Renken, M., Chinn, C.,Vargas, P., and Sandoval, W. (2014). “Exposing and Assessing Epistemic Thinking.” In Polman, J. L., Kyza, E. A., O’Neill, D. K., Tabak, I., Penuel, W. R., Jurow, A. S., O’Connor, K., Lee, T., & D’Amico, L. (Eds.) Learning and Becoming in Practice: Proceedings of 11tth Annual International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2014), Boulder, CO, Volume 3, 1686-1690.

Renken, M. D., and Nunez, N. (2013). “Computer simulations and clear observations do not guarantee conceptual understanding.” Learning and Instruction, 23, 10–23. doi:10.1016/j.learninstruc.2012.08.006

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