Session A: 9AM – 10:30AM

Education. Session A – Poster Presentations, Ballroom, Union

Location: Ballroom, A. Ray Olpin University Union


What Should the Main Roles of Public Elementary Education Be? An Exploratory Study Based on Survey Responses of Teachers During the Pandemic
Tessa Cahoon, University of Utah

Faculty Mentor: Mary Burbank, University of Utah

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

Education is an important value in American society. Public schools are expected to fill many spoken and unspoken roles in our society: teaching academics, preparing students for the workforce, fostering engaged citizens, creating equity, and serving as community and daycare centers, to name just a few. The COVID-19 pandemic heightened the public’s focus on education and magnified cracks and inequalities present in our educational system. During the pandemic, teachers were forced to constantly reassess their teaching priorities and adapt their teaching strategies and goals, all while dealing with the extra challenges (both personal and public) of the pandemic. The present study prompted an examination on the purpose of public schools, focusing on teachers’ valuable perspectives. The central question guiding this research is: What should the main roles of public elementary schools be in our society? In order to address this question, an online survey was sent out to educators in seven elementary schools in City View District (a pseudonym). The survey’s open-ended questions were analyzed quantitatively by grouping responses into themes and categories, and the survey’s close-ended questions were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Seven teaching expectations were listed in the survey based on the 2013 Interstate New Teaching Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) and Utah Effective Teaching standards (UETS). These expectations focused on covering the content in the Utah Core Standards; adapting/updating teaching instruction; using culturally responsive instruction; meeting students’ individual needs; building relationships with students; collaborating with families, colleagues, and other professionals; and maintaining physical safety. While the majority of teachers (76%) felt that the seven educational priorities were realistic during an average school year, the majority of teachers (72%) felt that these expectations were not realistic during the 2020-21 school year. The results indicate that teachers’ highest priority is building strong relationships with students, and they are most likely to be successful at meeting this goal. The pandemic made it more difficult for teachers to meet all expectations, especially meeting the individual needs of all students, which was a challenge before the pandemic. Teachers also expressed the need for mental health support, both for students and for themselves, and overall, they felt they needed more support to be able to meet the many expectations placed before them.


Evaluating the Efficacy of Asynchronous and Synchronous Problem-Solving Teleconsultation with Teacher who Serve Rural  Students with Disabilities
Kenzie Fleming, University of Utah

Faculty Mentor: Aaron Fischer, University of Utah

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

Special education services are available to help children who are classified with disabilities including Autism, Intellectual Disability, and Developmental Disability. This includes one-on-one support to allow teachers to focus on individual needs of their students. To help better serve students and teachers, implementing teleconsultations via asynchronous and synchronous communication into the curriculum can be beneficial. This includes videoconferencing, animated software such as Vyond, and other types of online feedback.


Frameworks for Social Justice Education in Montessori Classrooms: Educator Perceptions and Implementation
Madeleine Kelly, University of Utah

Faculty Mentor: Mary Burbank, University of Utah

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

As American schools continue to diversify, issues of equity remain unresolved and disparities between different racial and cultural groups have become more pronounced (Paris, 2012). Key components of the Montessori Method seem to align with aspects of a Social Justice Education (SJE) framework. These features include an emphasis on autonomy, high expectations, individualized learning, and a focus on interconnectedness (Montessori, 1912; Lillard et al., 2021). Both frameworks have numerous benefits for diverse students, including improved academic performance, higher self-esteem, and increased motivation (Culclasure et al., 2018; Graham & Hudley, 2005; Lillard et al., 2017). Frameworks for SJE also provide educators with practices and attitudes with which to better support and empower students from diverse backgrounds However, Montessori classrooms still exhibit patterns of bias towards students from diverse backgrounds, indicating room for improvement (Brown & Steele, 2015). Data were collected using a mixed-methods survey with participants at two local Montessori schools. Findings indicate that Montessori educators from two urban elementary education programs agree with key features of SJE. In addition, they report they can and should implement SJE within the classroom, and that the Montessori framework aligns well with the practices and goals of frameworks for SJE.


Middle school student-generated ideas about mathematics: definitions and utility
Alyssa Lee, University of Utah

Faculty Mentor: Tracy Dobie, University of Utah

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

Literature in educational psychology supports utility value, or perceived usefulness, as a core intrinsic motivator for learning. However, in mathematics students often struggle to perceive usefulness due to the common disconnect between content and context. There are several factors potentially contributing to this disconnect including story problems that do not connect to students’ own lives, a lack of opportunities for students to form their own conceptions of math’s usefulness, and emphasis on practicing math skills over applying math knowledge. Connecting content and context requires understanding what math content students include in their definitions of mathematics. How students define math may influence the types of math they are able to see in their own lives, and thus has the potential to limit or bolster connections between in-class math instruction and its applicability. Thus, I use this study to explore these questions: How do middle school students define mathematics? How do those definitions connect with or relate to their ideas of math utility? To answer these questions, interviews were conducted with 7th- and 8th-grade students attending an urban charter school in the Mountain West. Students were asked about their definitions of math; as well as when, where, and how it may be used. Student responses were coded and analyzed to consider potential connections between students’ definitions of math and perceptions of its utility. Understanding this relationship is critical for teachers to improve math instruction by tapping into their students’ intrinsic motivation for math learning.


Best Practices for Undergraduate Research Journals to Support Student Researchers
Eliana Massey, University of Utah

Faculty Mentor: Annie Fukushima , University of Utah

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

In recent decades, undergraduate research has grown dramatically. As more undergraduate students participate in research, supportive structures have developed at universities across the United States. Hundreds of undergraduate research journals showcase and archive the work of student researchers. This presentation identifies and analyzes best practices for undergraduate research journals to support student researchers. To identify best practices, I performed a literature review of existing scholarship on the characteristics of successful undergraduate research journals. As reviewed the scholarship, I developed inductive codes to represent trends in the qualitative data. I also engaged in participatory research by working with the University of Utah’s Office of Undergraduate Research to redesign their undergraduate research journal. This presentation succinctly demonstrates best practices based on previous scholarship and suggests areas for future research and experimentation.


How do Students Describe their Social Belonging in General Chemistry: A Qualitative Study
Olivia Schmitz, University of Utah

Faculty Mentor: Gina Frey, University of Utah

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

This study focuses on the factors that students use to describe their feeling of social belonging in General Chemistry 1, specifically the factors they use to describe their level of comfort with their instructors in the classroom. Previous studies conducted by the Frey group conclude that students’ social belonging affects persistence and academic success in general chemistry and physics 1 at the University of Utah. The aforementioned studies have also characterized two important components of social belonging: sense of social belonging and the belonging uncertainty. A sense of social belonging in the context of a college course is the perception of an individual’s connectedness with people such as peers and instructors and the significance of course environment in fostering inclusivity. An important aspect of course-level sense of belonging is the amount of comfort that students have with their instructors. While recent quantitative studies show that social belonging affects student performance and retention in introductory STEM courses, there are very few studies that ask students what factors they consider when describing their belonging in these courses. In this current study, student responses from General Chemistry 1 about their comfort level with their instructors were analyzed to generate a codebook that contains nine remote and non-remote categories: Flexible and Amiable, Communicative and Organized, Human Aspect of Teaching, Perception of Instructor Knowledge, Perception of Instructor Teaching Practices, Perception of a Growth Mindset Culture, Identity, Non-Specific, and Non-Codable. In this presentation, I will present these categories with their definitions and representative quotes compiled from student responses. I will also discuss the implications for instructors to improve the inclusivity of their STEM courses, and the next steps for this project.


Cognitive learning differences between sexes in organic chemistry
Derek Baker, Southern Utah University
Jacob Mcarthur, Southern Utah University
Lauren Jensen, Southern Utah University
Cassidy Wilkes, Southern Utah University
Seunghwan Shin, Southern Utah University

Faculty Mentor: Guizella Rocabado, Southern Utah University

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

Differences in sexes have long been speculated, yet their application in chemistry learning environments has not been well researched. Literature shows that males have larger cerebral volumes for visual capacities more often associated with hands-on projects and courses than female brains. And female brains have larger cerebral volumes for areas associated with memorization and socialization which more highly correlate with lecture-based learning. Given the high attrition of women in chemistry courses, we investigated this phenomenon in organic chemistry topics that are highly visual (e.g. chirality, Newman projections, chair conformations, bond rotations, etc.) and topics that require more memorization (e.g., functional groups, energy values associated with sterics, nomenclature, definitions, etc.). We conducted an anonymous survey with students who are currently enrolled in organic chemistry or have taken organic chemistry in the past. The questions varied in difficulty as well as levels of visualization or memorization required. The results show correlation with the literature that males score better in the visual-based questions, and females score better in the memorization-based questions. With these results, we have designed course interventions to bridge the gaps between the extremes of visualization vs. memorization-based concepts for the students.


Perceived costs in organic chemistry and their relationship to course performance
Cassidy Wilkes, Southern Utah University
Derek Baker, Southern Utah University
Jacob Mcarthur, Southern Utah University
Lauren Jensen, Southern Utah University
Seunghwan Shin, Southern Utah University

Faculty Mentor: Guizella  Rocabado, Southern Utah University

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

Organic chemistry is one of the most feared and failed courses in the undergraduate curriculum. Consequently, studying what makes this course “too difficult” as perceived by students is worthwhile because these perceptions result in many students not considering STEM majors because they require chemistry courses. Our research group has investigated perceived costs in general chemistry, and this study expands our understanding of these constructs in organic chemistry. Students’ perceived costs of a chemistry class can be many, such as task effort, loss of valued alternatives, emotional, and others. These costs might be overcome  by students’ interests and goals, yet the level of perceived costs might have a lasting impact on the students’ overall perception of chemistry and their desire to pursue chemistry and other STEM careers in the future. In this mixed methods study we investigated the mentioned subclasses of perceived costs, other salient perceived costs, and mastery or performance goal orientations and the impact these constructs may have on achievement in organic chemistry classrooms. Utilizing cluster analysis as well as student interviews, we investigated students’ profile of perceived cost and goal orientation as it relates to their final grades. Our results show some similarities in the student profiles we have found in general chemistry and also some distinct differences unique to the reputation of organic chemistry.  Other interesting results have also emerged from this research, which have the potential to have an impact on future instruction of these courses.


Unleashing the Power of USB Keystroke Injection: A Study on Cybersecurity Implications
Christopher Wilkinson , Utah Valley University

Faculty Mentor: Sayeed Sajal, Utah Valley University

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

One of the most important elements a technology user in this day and age is to know of the cybersecurity threats your particular system faces which is especially relevant to both those who program devices, as well as those physically designing them. Technology users should educate themselves on potential threats and vulnerabilities that exist in their code or products, how to defend and protect themselves, and how to respond after an event has occurred. After working with the Utah Valley University Cybersecurity Club I have come to realize how important it is to protect and defend the physical hardware infrastructure. This research paper holistically examines USB-based Keypress Injection Attacks in the following three parts: One, the increasing availability, accessibility, and use of USB-based Keypress Injection Attacks, two, what can be done to prevent a USB-based Keypress Injection Attacks on personal devices, and lastly, the increasing availability of the hardware and tools necessary to the general public to perform these attacks. The USB-based Keypress Injection Attacks will be broken into two categories. The first are scripts that only run when the hardware is attached. The second category will focus on persistent attacks that stay on the victims device. My primary goal of this paper is to examine and discuss the results from writing and running ten unique scripts from my very own Hak5 USB Rubber Ducky and related USB-based Keypress Injection Attack hardware. Having educated myself on the ever increasing reality of USB-based Keypress Injection Attacks I will be able to better protect myself and educate others on preventative measures, what signs of a potential threat could look like, and how to get started yourself.


Diagnostic Accuracy of Nonword Repetition in Dual Language Learners
Elizabeth Hunt, Brigham Young University
Carolyn Ferguson, Brigham Young University
Mark Lambeth, Brigham Young University

Faculty Mentor: Connie Summers, Brigham Young University

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

Traditional language assessment measures for dual language learners (DLLs) can be biased. Nonword repetition (NWR) shows potential for being a less-biased measure of language ability. The purpose of this research was to establish guidelines for the use of NWR in clinical settings. Diagnostic accuracy and optimal cut-off scores for NWR tasks inform these guidelines. Participants included 100 Spanish-English DLLs from elementary schools in the Mountain West region. All participants were between the ages of 5 and 8 with Spanish reported as the home language. Participants included typically developing children (TD) and children with language disorder (DLD). NWR tasks were administered to all participants in both English and Spanish within classroom settings. Nonwords were scored according to the number of percent phonemes correct (PPC). Preliminary results showed that the NWR tasks were accurate in differentiating language disorder in DLL children with English PPC and Spanish PPC scores both presenting sufficient sensitivity and specificity. Spanish NWR tasks yielded higher scores for TD and DLD participants alike, when compared with English NWR scores. Appropriate cut-off scores were calculated to ensure the most accurate sensitivity and specificity for every task, as well as every combination of tasks. These findings indicate that NWR tasks are useful clinical assessment tools to evaluate language abilities in DLLs.


Workbook style learning integrated into the classroom
Willow Park, Southern Utah University
Caysen Crum, Southern Utah University

Faculty Mentor: Caleb Hiller, Southern Utah University

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

Work-book style learning has been a popular approach among primary and secondary schooling. It is well known that the transition between high-school and college may be a difficult transition. The intended purpose of this study is to directly access work-book learning in a professional classroom. Throughout our analysis we aim to quantify our data by determining if it is more effective providing them a) before class, b) in class, or c) after class. After coming to a conclusion we aim to provide a better learning experience in the classroom, along with a retention of the information. We want students to feel secure in their education and take their knowledge beyond the classroom.


Evaluation of Automated Transcription for Language Sample Analysis: The Impact of Accent on Word Error Rates
Haven Broadhurst, Utah State University

Faculty Mentor: Sandra Gillam, Utah State University

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

Language sample analysis is considered a gold-standard procedure when assessing language disorders. It is an unbiased, reliable way to provide information regarding an individual’s language abilities. Although Speech Language Pathologists would consider it a critical part of the assessment, the procedure can be very time-consuming. Recently, research evaluating the clinical application of automatic speech recognition software (ASR), Google Cloud Speech (GCS), for the purpose of transcription has been conducted on monolingual English-speaking children. The current study expanded upon these findings, by assessing the use of GCS with bilingual Spanish-speaking children, to examine the effect accented speech has on ASR transcription accuracy. To do this, audio samples elicited from school-aged bilingual children were transcribed with GCS and then evaluated for accuracy. 54 oral narrative samples elicited from Spanish-speaking bilingual children between the ages of 6;0-10;11 were transcribed by hand, and automatically, using Google Cloud Speech (GCS). A weighted word-error rate was used to calculate the minimum edit distance between the gold-standard transcripts and those transcribed with GCS, as a measure of transcription error. On average, the weighted word-error rate was 0.38 (SD = 0.15), meaning that 38% of words were incorrectly transcribed. The range of error rates was quite large. A follow-up analysis was conducted to determine whether there were significant differences in the transcription error of audio files elicited from children with perceived accents and those without. Results of the analysis indicated that there was not a statistically significant difference in transcription error for accented (M = 0.37, SD = 0.08) and non-accented (M = 0.39, SD = 0.19) audio samples controlling for age and gender of the narrator. The implications of these findings are that GCS may be a useful tool for SLPs to use in assessment of accented language.


Most Useful Study Practices Used by Students in Human Anatomy: Does it Vary by Grade?
Cassidy Chamberlain, Southern Utah University

Faculty Mentor: Jennifer Mraz-Craig, Southern Utah University

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

Human Anatomy is a challenging, rigorous course and students often struggle with finding the most useful study practices to use. During 2019-2022, Human Anatomy students completed an end-of-semester questionnaire on the study practices they found to be most useful in the course. The responses from the students that received a final grade of A and A- in the class versus C- or below were ranked based on percentage for comparison. Preliminary data analysis is still ongoing. This information can be used for future Human Anatomy students as a way to determine more successful study practices, as well as a guide for instructors on what type of study material student’s find most helpful.


Student Views of Science Ideas: From Evolution to Vaccines???
Jon Lund, Utah Valley University

Faculty Mentor: Heath Ogden, Utah Valley University

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)

Controversy and skepticism have often followed the discovery of scientific theories. We investigated the acceptance of important scientific topics. Focusing on four foundational topics in biology: evolution (human and non-human), the age of the earth, climate change, and vaccination safety. We sought to understand what percent of Utah Valley University (UVU) students disagreed with well-known and understood scientific discoveries. We used quantitative questions in an anonymous survey to ask and find out the acceptance of these topics among UVU students. At the beginning of the 2022 Fall semester, a survey was administered by 7 instructors across 13 sections to 1268 students in BIOL 1010. BIOL 1010 represents the general student population because it is a required class for all degree-seeking students. This survey consisted of 22 questions addressing views of scientific ideas. The data was analyzed using R studio. The results can help provide a greater foundational understanding of incoming viewpoints. This understanding is crucial to help us learn what topics require more focus in science education.


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Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research 2023 - Program Copyright © 2023 by Office of Undergraduate Research is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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