Hi, Friends.

My name is Nick Palumbo; I am a doctoral student at the University of Rochester and the fall 2015 project manager for the Inquiry Science Stars program. I have experience as both a special educator and as a developmental psychology researcher. To that end, I took lots of observational notes over the course of the fall. I became fiercely interested in looking at the development of students’ (STARS) ownership of scientific inquiry. My observations revealed a seemingly palpable “developmental trajectory” illustrating an association between students’ identity development and their ownership over the scientific inquiry. The proposed conceptual model  is a visual representation of my notes, ideas, and thoughts representing these developmental trajectories (see the PDF link below).

Full disclosure – I want to openly point out the obvious biases and problems with this conceptual model:

  1. This is a CONCEPTUAL MODEL; therefore, it is not founded in empirical data or constructed based on empirical literature. This should NOT be confused with a theoretical model. However, elements of this conceptual model are clearly not novel and are heavily influenced by empirically founded theories (e.g., Self Determination Theory, Ecological Systems Theory, etc.).
  2. This is a conceptualization of possible developmental trajectories founded on my biased perceptions and interpretations of STARS’ identity development. In other words, this is merely conjecture.
  3. This is FAR from a comprehensive conceptual model illustrating developmental trajectories, as developmental trajectories are multifaceted constructs.
  4. Humans are unique animals. This conceptual model is not intended to be reductionist or to homogenize the unique lived experiences of individuals; rather, this is merely one interpretation of conceptualizing youths’ identity development.

I am sharing this conceptual model with the hopes of  getting reform-minded educators thinking about the important role of identity development in academic and social-emotional outcomes for youths. 

STARS, Conceptual Model – Developmental Trajectory of Scientific Ownership


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