All good things must come to an end, even pre-doctoral internships. In August we said goodbye to Farnaz Tehranchi, Kianna Mousavi Hanjani, and Simon Sun as they threw their lanyards and ID badges into the air and returned to their respective universities (Penn State, Iowa State, & Rutgers) to resume their doctoral programs. When they first started their internships, they briefly outlined what they hoped to achieve during their time with ACTNext, and as a follow-up they’ve taken a moment to reflect on their experiences here. They each brought unique perspectives to their areas of research and we thank them for their hard work and dedication to helping advance ACTNext and its mission to deliver the next generation of learning and assessment technologies. Congratulations to our first class of ACTNext alumni, they’ve set the bar high and we’re excited to see where they go from here!
In my nine weeks as an intern with ACTNext, I learned much more than I expected to; not only about how people work alongside each other in a big company, but also about how every single part of a team helps the team achieve their goals. I was able to learn and implement some new techniques and also work with real life data and see all the theoretical work in action. This internship showed me there is a good place for research and learning in ACTNext and that is what keeps their projects exciting and on the next level. I am so happy to have been a part of this amazing group, and look forward to hearing about all their accomplishments in the future!
This internship helped me to look at my research, and a cognitive tutor, on which I’ve been working, from a different perspective. I was introduced to a new research area, computational psychometrics. I was involved in preparation and analysis of real data. Also, I had a chance to participate in a study with an eye-tracking technology and part of this research was accepted to CLIEDE2017: Connecting Language, Interaction and Education in Digital Environments workshop at Penn State University. Sept, 26, 27th. This workshop is supported by the National Science Foundation, Award IIS-1455533; the Waterbury Lectures of Penn State University, and Penn State University’s Teaching and Learning and Technology.
I enjoyed working with the most pioneering and innovative people in psychometrics at ACTNext. This two-month experience dramatically shaped my opinion towards what psychometrics can and should offer to facilitate teaching and learning. The diagnostic engine that I was working on with my supervisor Dr. Chopade during my internship can provide in-depth feedback to help students learn what they did not. Specifically, we piloted the process that starts with building the item-skill structure by content experts, validating this structure using data driven methods, and optimizing the selection of the best model for each item. Furthermore, we asked the question, “Have the existing tests given accurate enough results that can be used in the final report?” and offered a solution if not, which is to administer extra questions via a computerized adaptive approach. It feels really great to apply what I learned from courses and textbooks to solve real-world problems. Along with my work at ACTNext, I identified several research areas which can be transformed as topics to investigate in my future studies.