My research covers topics such as: 

Read about a few of my projects below:

Characterizing assessments in undergraduate biology courses

In this project, I analyzed the tests and exams administered in introductory-level biology courses. I am interested in seeing how exam questions assess the science practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas that are outlined in the framework for three-dimensional science education. 

Examining the effects of administration stakes and settings on concept assessment scores

Concept assessments are instruments developed by educational researchers to measure student understanding of core biology concepts. These assessments can be administered under graded high-stakes or ungraded low-stakes conditions and students can take the assessment during class time or in an out-of-class setting. The stakes and settings in which students complete the assessment may affect their motivation and may invalidate scores in different ways. This research sought to determine the effect of different stakes and settings on concept assessment scores and aimed to provide instructors with recommendations for how to administer concept assessments in their courses. 

Check out a short video summary of our findings! 

Understanding and addressing the effects of test-taking motivation in low-stakes program assessments

Ungraded, low-stakes administration conditions have the potential to elicit low test-taking motivation in students. Test-taking motivation can be measured through self-reported measures, the amount of time spent on the entire test, and the amount of rapid-selection behavior used. While most students provided adequate levels of motivated behavior on the General Biology–Measuring Achievement and Progression in Science (GenBio-MAPS) assessment, some students did not, and we provide recommendations for identifying and filtering out data from students with low test-taking motivation so that the filtered data set better represents student understanding. 

See this published work in CBE - Life Science Education

Hollywood science in the high school classroom

In this undergraduate senior thesis, I examined the benefits of using science fiction films as a context for teaching high school biology concepts. I provided an interdisciplinary analysis of the science fiction movies Gattaca, WALL-E, and The Day After Tomorrow and curated 5E-model lesson plans to engage students in higher-order cognitive skills related to ecological, societal, and ethical issues. This research was awarded Honors in the Discipline in Biology at Elizabethtown College. 

Crystal Uminski_Hollywood Science in the High School Classroom.pdf

My very helpful research partner.