A 2001 graduate of The University of Akron College of Education, alumna Dr. Marian B. Maxfield was recently awarded the American Education Research Association’s (AERA) Division H Research, Assessment, and Evaluation 2012 Outstanding Dissertation Award (second place). Maxfield received her B.A.Ed in Secondary Education in English, Psychology, and Sociology from UA and also taught Educational Technology and Educational Psychology courses. She currently serves on The University of Akron College of Education Alumni Board.
The AERA Division H Outstanding Dissertation Award focuses on research, evaluation, and assessment in school settings. Maxfield’s dissertation, "The Effects of Small Group Cooperation Methods and Question Strategies on Problem Solving Skills, Achievement, and Attitude during Problem-Based Learning” focused on different learning methods implemented during PBL and the effects on elementary students' achievement. The dissertation was completed at Kent State University in the College of Education, Health, and Human Services. The dissertation committee consisted of Dr. David Dalton as director of the dissertation, and Dr. Christopher Was and Dr. Averil McClelland as members.
Maxfield’s research findings support the use of PBL to improve student achievement. The overall results when analyzing the PBL groups indicated Socratic questioning groups had significantly higher achievement scores compared to the didactic questioning groups. The Jigsaw groups had a significantly more positive attitude towards science than the traditional small groups. There were no significant differences in problem solving between the groups. To assist in higher achievement and more positive attitudes when implementing PBL, the results of this study support the integration of Jigsaw cooperative learning method and Socratic questioning.
Currently an assistant professor at Ashland University in the Curriculum and Instruction / Educational Technology Department in the College of Education, Maxfield received her M.Ed. in Instructional Technology and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology from Kent State University, Kent, Ohio.