April 21, 2014 – Dr. Ben T. Phillips recently presented the work he has been conducting in relation to his Pew Research Grant topic, Determining the Cognitive Strategies of High-Performing Test Takers on a College Readiness Math Assessment. The university’s Pew Research Grant committee named Phillips as a 2012-13 Pew Research Grant recipient. As a result of being selected by the committee, Phillips was asked to share his findings with the Pew Grant committee and other interested individuals at the annual Pew Research Grant luncheon. The luncheon was held on April 16th on the main campus of Union University in Jackson, TN.
Phillips’ presentation focused on the processes and procedures he has used to collect data for the study, in addition to situating the study within the broader context of related academic literature. One of the most relevant findings from Phillips’ research focused on the value and importance that visualization has on the mathematical achievement of high-performing test takers of the ACT. As Phillips emphasized, students who are successful on the math portion of the ACT tend to draw visual diagrams and think visually to demonstrate success on the test.
In relation to the study, Phillips states, “This study was an opportunity to determine how high-performing test takers think while taking a math test. It was a fascinating look into the minds of really sharp students. Now the job is to take what we’ve learned from high-performing students and teach that to low-performing students.”
Phillips’ presentation marked the first time a faculty member from the School of Education at Union University has been selected as a sole recipient for the prestigious Pew Research Grant. This aspect of his serving as the first sole recipient from the School of Education increased the significance of the presentation and of the award itself.
To learn more about the Pew Research Program at Union University, please visit: https://www.uu.edu/programs/pew/. To learn about the School of Education at Union University, please visit: http://www.uu.edu/programs/education/.