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School of Education

Andrew Potter

Ph.D. in Education – Literacy

The faculty in the School of Education’s Literacy group, especially with their backgrounds in special education and interest in writing research, was what drew me to pursue graduate study at the University of Delaware. I applied to work with Dr. Charles MacArthur because his research aligns with my interests and also because he has a reputation as both an excellent researcher and mentor.

I am interested in integrated writing and reading instruction and development. I’m also interested in how strategy instruction, content knowledge, and technology can help students write from sources.

I work on Dr. MacArthur’s Supporting Strategic Writers (SSW) research project, funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). In my role as a research assistant, I have collaborated with other researchers to support curriculum revisions, data collection of student writing assignments, field observations of classroom instruction, and quantitative data analysis of student outcome measures.

I’ve learned a great deal from working on Dr. MacArthur’s SSW project. We interact with instructors at research sites, visit classrooms both in-person and remotely, and interview students and instructors. It has been interesting to see the research project develop over time and to see promising results in student writing outcomes.

In addition to working closely with Dr. MacArthur as a research assistant, I have also worked with Dr. Kristin Ritchey as a teaching assistant for her EDUC 680: Educational Evaluation: Exceptional Children and Youth course. I was able to learn much from her in terms of how she structures her course, delivers content, assesses student learning, and interacts with students. I am looking forward to teaching an online version of the class this summer. I also have had opportunities to collaborate with Dr. Adrian Pasquarella to help clean and analyze a data set of teacher surveys and student achievement. This summer, I am scheduled to work with Dr. Teya Rutherford to analyze a reading technology tool.

I also had an opportunity to present a paper at the American Reading Forum conference in December 2019 on my work with Dr. Joshua Wilson to analyze a secondary dataset of writing achievement and technology use for a statewide implementation of a writing technology. The project stemmed from work with Dr. Christina Barbieri and Dr. Henry May in their course EDUC 867: Advanced Research Design. The paper won an award for the American Reading Forum graduate student scholarship, and Dr. Wilson and I have submitted the manuscript for publication (for which we are awaiting a response from reviewers).

Working on the project with Dr. Wilson in Drs. Barbieri and May’s course has been a really important experience thus far. I was able to apply concepts I learned from my quantitative methods courses and apply them to a dataset that is aligned to my research interests. It has also been really interesting to collaborate with Dr. Wilson on writing the manuscript; I learned a lot from observing his writing process.

Overall, I have enjoyed my graduate student experience at the University of Delaware. I have learned so much from the opportunity to work alongside accomplished professors in research and teaching settings.