The adapted CREATE(S) Process

Fostering Scientific Literacy Through Synthesis: the CREATE(S) Process

Researchers in the Center for Educational Assessment, in collaboration with colleagues at UCLA, Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine, and Arizona State University, published a new study in the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education’s special edition on Scientific Literacy.

This study examined the impact of the CREATE(S) process (Concept map the introduction, Read methods and results, Elucidate hypotheses, Analyze data, Think of the next Experiment, and Synthesis map), on students’ scientific literacy skills, specifically their understanding of the process of science and their ability to use narrative synthesis to communicate science. Analyses revealed that CREATES intervention students versus the comparison group demonstrated improved ability to interpret and communicate primary literature, especially in the methods, hypotheses, and narrative synthesis learning outcome categories. Through a mixed-methods analysis of a reflection assignment completed by the CREATES intervention group, students reported the synthesis map as the most frequently used step in the process and highly valuable to their learning. Taken together, the study demonstrates how this modified CREATES process can foster scientific literacy development and how it could this scaffolded approach can be applied in other Journal Club settings.

Figure: The adapted CREATE(S) Process

The adapted CREATE(S) Process


Citation: Goodwin, E. C., Shapiro, C., Freise, A. C., Toven-Lindsey, B., & Moberg Parker, J. (2023). Synthesizing Research Narratives to Reveal the Big Picture: a CREATE (S) Intervention Modified for Journal Club Improves Undergraduate Science Literacy. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education, e00055-23.

Screenshot from one of the Swivl videos showing a child-caregiver interaction.

Video-based Child Observation Course Integration Initiative IIP Preliminary Summary Summer 2022


Scaling Up a Life Sciences College Career Exploration Course to Foster STEM Confidence and Career Self-Efficacy

Senior Survey Introduces Custom Questions About Academic Experiences

The annual UCLA Senior Survey collects feedback from graduating seniors regarding their academic and social experiences, campus life, and post-graduate plans; over the past decade, it has become a powerful tool to support program review and wide-ranging efforts to improve teaching and learning on campus. This year, we piloted a customizable bank of questions, inviting departments with upcoming program reviews to design their own survey items. Two majors and two minors have participated so far in this new opportunity, with questions about equity and inclusion at the forefront. We look forward to reviewing findings from our pilot effort this summer.


Research Collaboration Highlights the Role of Undergraduate Research in Building Career-Related Skills for Humanities and Social Science Majors


New research published in the summer 2021 edition (Volume 4, Number 4) of the journal Scholarship and Practice of Undergraduate Research (SPUR) highlights the important role that participating in undergraduate research plays in helping humanities, arts, and social science students develop important skills desired by today’s employers.

While many studies on undergraduate research outcomes are focused on STEM fields, the widely variable experiences in the humanities, arts, and social sciences are less known and harder to study. The structure and standardization of the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP) and Undergraduate Research Fellows Program (URFP), both offered through UCLA’s Undergraduate Research Center – Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (URC-HASS), however, provide a unique opportunity to study the outcomes of these students. Compared with a quasi-control group of non-research students, students engaged in research reported statistically significant better outcomes on average in attaining skills related to critical thinking/problem solving, professionalism/work ethic, and oral/written communication, three of the top four competencies desired by hiring employers, as ranked by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

This study and publication are the result of an ongoing collaboration between the URC-HASS and the Center for Educational Assessment (CEA). The authors of the paper are Drs. Kelly Kistner (Assistant Director, URC-HASS), Erin M. Sparck (Postdoctoral Scholar, CEA), Amy Liu (Research Analyst, CEA), Hannah Whang Sayson (Assistant Director of Data Analytics, CEA), Marc Levis-Fitzgerald (Director, CEA), and Whitney Arnold (Director, URC-HASS).

The full article can be accessed on the Council of Undergraduate Research’s website for Scholarship and Practice of Undergraduate Research (SPUR) in Volume 4, Number 4.

Center for Educational Assessment Receives Racial and Social Justice Grant to Increase the Sense of Belonging within the UCLA Community

As the nation grapples with the impact of historical and structural racism, UCLA seeks to create systemic change on campus and within the community. As part of a larger effort, the Center for Educational Assessment (CEA) recently received the Racial and Social Justice Grant, funded by UCLA’s Institute for American Cultures (IAC) and the Office of Research and Creative Activities (ORCA). The project, “All Bruins Belong: Addressing Inequities Through Positive Academic Engagement,” will work with underrepresented minority (URM) students and faculty to explore factors related to inequities and positive engagement in the classroom. In doing so, the project will identify best practices that encourage critical thinking and respectful dialogue to increase the sense of belonging at UCLA.

“All Bruins Belong” will bring together a team of researchers from across campus, including Adrienne Lavine (Associate Vice Provost, the Center for the Advancement of Teaching; Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering), Charles J. Alexander (Associate Vice Provost for Student Diversity; Director, Academic Advancement Program), Paul Barber (Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), Molly S. Jacobs (Coordinator for Curriculum Assessment, CEA), Marc Levis-Fitzgerald (Director, CEA), Victoria Marks (Professor, Department of World Arts and Cultures; Associate Dean, School of Arts and Architecture; Chair, Disability Studies minor), and Vilma Ortiz (Professor, Department of Sociology). For more information on the grant, visit the RSJ program information page here.

Figure A 1st gen vs. non 1st gen and urm vs. non urm students

New Research Shows the Impact of Remote Instruction on URM Students in STEM and the Opportunity to Expand Course-Based Research

A new study published in The Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education’s special edition, “Teaching in the Time of Crisis” looked at the impact of the rapid shift to remote teaching at the start of 2020. Students enrolled in UCLA’s HHMI Health Disparities and Environment Program developed a survey that was administered to students during the Spring 2020 quarter. Survey findings indicated that there were significant disparities in remote learning that disproportionately impacted underrepresented minority (URM) and first-generation students.

Another unique aspect of this paper comes from the research project itself, which was a novel course-based research experience (CURE) for students in the HEDP. Traditionally, CUREs are bound by a need to have lab space. This study showed that it is possible to scale up access to CUREs even in the context of remote instruction. As one student noted, “a lot of us were…upset a little bit…that we weren’t going to be able to go out into the field, but I think that kind of turned into, like, excitement because…we started to do COVID research, especially because that’s…really relevant now” (p. 18). The study and resulting publication were led by Professor Paul Barber with the assistance of researchers at the Center for Educational Assessment (CEA), including Casey Shapiro, Molly Jacobs, and Marc Levis-Fitzgerald. Additionally, 14 undergraduate students and two graduate students were involved throughout the process, further demonstrating the potential for engaging students impactfully in research experiences.

Figure A 1st gen vs. non 1st gen and urm vs. non urm students

Figure C 1st gen vs. non 1st gen and urm vs. non urm students



Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree key

Figure 1. Responses to two of the questions from the remote instruction survey show significant differences between: 1st Generation and non-1st Generation students and URM and non-URM students.

The full article can be accessed here:

PEERS grad school figure

New Research from CEA Highlights Impact of PEERS Program in PhD and MD Enrollment for Underrepresented Students in Science Majors

A new study published in the Spring 2021 issue of CBE – Life Sciences Education features the UCLA Program for Excellence in Education and Research in the Sciences (PEERS), an academic support program that serves first- and second-year science majors from underrepresented and underserved backgrounds. Study findings show that students in PEERS enroll in Ph.D. and M.D. programs at significantly higher rates than similar peers in a matched comparison group, and are also more likely to participate in undergraduate research. Taken together, the results indicate that the PEERS program has not only been able to support students during their first two years as science majors at UCLA, but that these students have been successful throughout their undergraduate years and beyond as they pursue careers in high-skill STEM fields. This study is the product of a long-term partnership between researchers at the Center for Educational Assessment (CEA), including Marc Levis-Fitzgerald and Brit Toven-Lindsey, and the PEERS leadership team, including Professor Paul Barber and Tama Hasson, Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Research.

PEERS grad school figureThe full article can be accessed here: