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Member Profile

Jim Minstrell


    • Roles: Project Evaluator



Jim Minstrell, Ph.D., was a teacher of mathematics and science at the high school level for over thirty years. Overlapping with the teaching career have been ongoing careers as researcher and developer. Using his classroom and those of his teacher colleagues, he investigated students' understanding of the physical world and of the nature and processes of science. He worked on the development of Project Physics, implemented Science Curriculum Improvement Study, and developed the Physics Pedagogy Program to demonstrate the implications of learning research. For the past twenty years he has been developing tools (on paper and technological) to assist teachers in diagnosing students' facets of thinking and to suggest relevant lessons to promote change in conceptual understanding and scientific reasoning. He is or has been a consultant to numerous projects. He and colleagues at FACET Innovations and other K-12 and higher education institutions are developing and testing web-delivered diagnostic assessment tools to support teachers as they foster development of learning across the gap from preconceptions to standard-based learning targets. Also, he and colleagues are currently developing, conducting, and researching professional development environments. Finally, he and colleagues are participating as external evaluators on NSF projects. His research and development have been supported by the National Science Foundation and by the James S. McDonnell Foundation Program in Cognitive Studies for Educational Practice.  


Students' and Teachers' Facets of Thinking in Science (aka "misconceptions" research)
Assessment for Learning (aka formative assessment)
Use of technology for diagnostic assessment (See
Teaching for deep conceptual understanding
Professional development of teachers who are bridging between learning research and classroom practice
Formative Evaluation of projects that are bridging between learning research and classroom practice 


Minstrell, J., Anderson, R., Kraus, P., and Minstrell, J.E. (in press for 2008). Bridging from Practice to Research and Back: Tools to Support Formative Assessment. In J. Coffey, R. Douglas, and C. Sterns (Eds.) Science Assessment: Research and Practical Approaches. NSTA Press.
Minstrell, J. and Kraus, P. (2005). Guided Inquiry in the Science Classroom. In Bransford, J. and Donovan, S. (Eds.), How Students Learn: History, Mathematics, and Science in the Classroom. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press.