With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the University of South Carolina (UofSC) announces a special Institute in Measurement MEthodology in Rural STEM Education (IMMERSE) focused on measuring and studying key concepts central to rural STEM education. The Institute’s goal is to build the capacity of the U.S. transdisciplinary rural research community, who have a demonstrable interest in rural STEM education research, to develop psychometrically sound measures to study concepts central to rural STEM education research, such as place-based education and community engagement.
IMMERSE has three substantive emphases:
- Prepare transdisciplinary rural researchers to meet calls from federal and state governments and the National Rural Education Association to study rural STEM education and workforce development,
- Prepare rural researchers to address barriers and protective factors unique to and/or operant within rural communities, schools, and students as it relates to STEM education and workforce development,
- Prepare rural researchers to conduct high-quality, rigorous studies in STEM education and workforce development that influence local, state, and/or federal policy and practice.
Drawing on measurement science and the unified validity framework, the IMMERSE training will enable rural researchers in STEM, social sciences, and education to undertake empirical studies that attend to rurality.
Selected Fellows will gain knowledge in how to develop psychometrically sound measures grounded in the rural context through such topics as item analysis, factor analysis, reliability and validity investigations, and mixed methods research. Fellows will engage in hands-on working sessions in state-of-the-art methodology and will receive sustained mentoring with a methodological expert as they develop sound measures and design high-quality studies in rural STEM education that contribute to the field and result in tangible products (e.g., peer-reviewed publications, national conference presentations, grant submissions).