Show The Graduate Center Menu




Alexandra Adair, PhD
May 2020

Educational Psychology
Learning, Development, and Instruction

Apart from studying educational media, Dr. Adair's other research interests include, preschool science and engineering, the impact and use of media and technology in the home learning environment, measurement and assessment of school readiness and representation in classrooms.

 


Alexandra Adair, is a researcher at EDC where she regularly works on projects involving the development and evaluation of educational media for young children. To date, she has contributed to a number of studies involving educational media content focused on improving young children’s STEM, literacy, and computational-thinking skills. Apart from studying educational media, her other research interests include the impact and use of media and technology in the home learning environment and preschool science.

Alexandra holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from CUNY Graduate Center, a master’s degree in psychology from the New School for Social Research, and her B.A. in English literature from Emory University. Before joining the Ed Psych program, she was a middle school humanities teacher in New York City public and private schools.


Dissertation Title:

"Measuring Preschool Parents’ Attitudes Towards Science: Development and Psychometric Evaluation of a Parent Version of the Dimensions of Attitudes Towards Science Instrument."

Presently, no measure or theoretical framework exists for preschool parents’ attitudes towards science. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a measure of preschool parents’ attitudes towards science with a corresponding theoretical framework, as well as explore related constructs. To develop the measure, I adapted Wendt and Rockinson-Szapkiw’s (2017) English translation of van Aalderen-Smeets & Walma van der Molen’s (2013) Dimensions of Attitudes towards Science (DAS) scale by making it appropriate for use with preschool parents.

The Preschool Parents Dimensions of Science Scale (PP-DAS) was pilot tested and revised before being administered to 330 preschool parents in the United States. Results indicate that the measure has solid psychometric properties and supports the application of van Aalderen-Smeets et al.’s (2012) theoretical framework to preschool parents. Further analyses support the relationship between preschool parents’ attitudes towards science with additional related constructs, including parents’ views of science and past science experiences, as well as demographic factors, such as race and income.

Lastly, results also indicate there are four classes of preschool parents, based on their attitudes towards science: High Potential, Promising, Indifferent, and Reluctant. Overall, this study has the potential to address an existing gap in the field by proposing a theoretical framework and a psychometrically evaluated measure of parental attitudes towards science that can be employed by researchers in subsequent studies.


Committee Members:

Dr. Bruce Homer (chairperson); Dr. Joan Lucariello; Dr. Jay Verkuilen; Dr. Peggy Chen; Dr. Megan Silander


Acknowledgements / Special Thanks:

I want to take this time to acknowledge the many people who have helped me along the way, starting with my supportive and uplifting advisor and chair, Dr. Bruce Homer. I would also like to thank my other committee members Dr. Joan Lucariello and Dr. Jay Verkuilen, both have been invaluable educators.

I’d would also like to acknowledge the Educational Development Center, specifically the Center for Children and Technology, for their never-ending support and guidance.

A tremendous amount of thanks to both my parents for supporting me in any and every possible way, reassuring me of my strength, my intelligence, and that I am forever loved. Thank you, to my husband, who has shown me so much love, patience, and care through every step of this journey. Thank you to my siblings, Barb and Ross, who are always good for a laugh, a drink, and a hug. To my friends, who have showered me with kind words and greeted me with open arms when I have needed it, thank you.

Special thanks to the Educational Opportunities Office and the Presidential Magnet Fellowship for their mentorship and support.


What's Next?

Dr. Alexandra Adair is a researcher at the Education Development Center. As a researcher at EDC she regularly works on projects involving the development and evaluation of educational media for young children. To date, she has contributed to several studies involving educational media content focused on improving young children’s STEM, literacy, and computational-thinking skills. Since 2016, Alexandra has been a contributing researcher on the Ready To Learn project, a federal research and development program using transmedia to improve the science and literacy skills of young children. As part of the Ready To Learn Initiative, Alexandra has contributed to several projects, her primary role being the co-lead and principal data analyst for the Community Collaboratives for Early Learning and Media, a network of 30 PBS member stations and partner organizations implementing programming for children and families.