Dr Kara Makara Fuller
- Lecturer (People, Place & Social Change)
My research focuses on understanding how students’ social interactions in educational settings influence the development of their motivation and learning. I received my B.S. in Psychology from James Madison University, my Ph.D. in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan, and was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan. I am a Chartered Member (CPsychol) of the British Psychological Society. Within the School of Education at the University of Glasgow, I teach and supervise within the MSc in Psychological Studies programme, teach a number of online distance learning courses, lead the Introduction to Educational and Social Research course for PGT students, and contribute lectures to the MEduc programme. I am also on the University of Glasgow Aspiring Leaders Programme.
A central question that guides my research is how social interactions in schools and universities influence motivation and learning. At the start of my PhD, I explored the motivational consequences of standardised testing and how this creates a culture of competition. This then evolved into how peer relations are an important part of the school context that impact students’ motivation. My PhD thesis examined the associations and predictive influence among secondary students’ academic and social goals, peer social network connections, and academic achievement (Makara, 2013; Makara & Madjar, 2015; Makara & Karabenick, 2017), and then my postdoctoral research expanded this through an examination of how first-year university students’ patterns of social interactions with others influence their academic success (Makara et al., 2015). In relation to social aspects of learning and motivation in schools, as an early career researcher I examined students’ social goals in educational settings (Makara, in press; Shim et al., 2017) and students’ academic help seeking from peers and teachers (Makara & Karabenick, 2013; Gonida et al., 2014). Currently, I have come full circle to again explore assessment through the CAMAU project (2016-2019) and examining the conceptualisation of learning progression, specifically looking at the areas of Humanities and Health and Wellbeing. As a part of this recent work, I am a member of the University of Glasgow Education Assessment Network.
My research can be characterised by four complementary strands of social aspects of motivation and learning, within the contexts of:
- Assessment – learning progression, peer assessment, help seeking as an agentic process of learners initiating feedback, and the role of teacher and pupil social interactions in assessment for learning
- Academic help seeking – the relationship between motivation and academic help seeking, and various aspects of the help seeking process including who students go to for help
- Achievement goals – students’ academic and social achievement goals, correlates of academic and social achievement goals, and how social goals influence other learning processes (e.g., help seeking)
- Interpersonal connections – peer relations in schools, students’ and teachers’ social networks, and how social networks in schools influence motivation and learning.
Themes of my work:
- Breadth in terms of age group, covering young children through postgraduate students, and teachers, drawing from my expertise in developmental psychology. Some examples from my publications include research on young children (Ryan, Shim, & Makara, 2013; Wrigley, Makara, & Elliot, 2016), research on secondary students (Makara, 2013; Makara & Karabenick, 2017; Makara & Madjar, 2015), research comparing a range of different ages (Gonida et al., 2014), research on university students (Shim et al., 2017; Lee et al., 2017), and research on postgraduate students (Elliot et al.).
- Breadth internationally, with research across countries, international comparative research, and research on international students, drawing from my expertise in the psychology of individual differences. Some examples from my publications include research in the United States (Makara & Madjar, 2015), China (Shim, Wang, Makara et al., 2017), Greece (Gonida et al., 2014), comparative research between the United States and South Korea (Lee, Lee, Makara et al., 2017), international students in the UK (Elliot et al., 2016), and research using the PISA dataset (Cortina et al., 2010). I have recently published a book chapter on students’ social goals within an Asian context (Makara, in press).
- I am keen to engage in research directly with teachers and schools, as evidenced by my experience working with teachers as part of my longitudinal study at a large secondary school in the US (Makara & Karabenick, 2017) and in our current CAMAU project in Wales (Hayward et al., 2018).
Recent Conference Presentations:
Makara, K. A., Ryder, N., & Wallis, R. (2019, September). Describing learning progression within curricular areas of learning. Paper to be presented as part of a symposium at the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Annual Conference, Manchester, UK.
Morrison-Love, D. & Makara, K. A. (2017, November). CAMAU Project: Subsidiarity and Partnership. Paper presented as part of a symposium at the Association for Educational Assessment (AEA) Europe Conference, Prague, Czech Republic.
Makara, K. A., Karabenick, S. A., & Epstein, A. (2017, August). The Contribution of “Bonding” and “Bridging” Peer Relations to Students’ Academic Achievement. Paper presented as part of a symposium at the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI), Tampere, Finland. AWARD: Awarded as the Invited SIG Symposium for the Motivation and Emotion SIG
'CAMAU', Progression and assessment in the Welsh curriculum. Funded by Welsh Government and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, 2017-2019. Co-Investigator, along with Louise Hayward (PI), David Morrison-Love, Georgina Wardle, Peter Donaldson, Kay Livingston, and Francisco Valdera-Gil. £399,482.
'Towards maximizing international PhD students’ experience in the UK', funded by UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Account, University of Glasgow, 2016-2017. Co-Investigator, along with Dely Elliot (PI), Muir Houston, and Kate Reid. £4,160.
'Partnership Development between University of Glasgow and Baku State University', funded by British Council, 2015. Collaboration with Vivienne Baumfield, University of Exeter, and Aliyeva Turana, Baku State University. £3,000.
'Evaluation of Roots of Empathy Scotland' - school-based intervention programme designed to increase children’s empathy, contracted by QA Research, funded by UK Action for Children, 2014-2015. Research consultant along with Dely Elliot. £5,000.
I supervise a number of PhD students in the School of Education as well as PGT students in the MSc in Psychological Studies programme. I am currently open to taking on new PhD students with projects related to my research expertise–please feel free to contact me with enquiries.
Current PhD students:
- Dayana Balgabekova
- Emily Pacheco
- Hsin-Yi Shih
- Jianshu Liu
- Jie Zhang
- Nouf Abdulrahman Almohideb
I am course leader for Introduction to Educational and Social Research, a core research methods course for a large number of PGT students in the School of Education. I am also course leader for the Individual Differences courses on the MSc in Psychological Studies programme and the MSc Psychology (Online) programme, as well as Academic Coordinator for the School of Education staff on MSc Psychology (Online). I also contribute lectures for Curriculum, Assessment, Pedagogy: Understanding Learners as part of the MSc Education (Online) porgramme and on Child Development to the MEduc programme. Previously I have taught undergraduate Educational Psychology and Developmental Psychology.
- British Psychological Society, CPsychol
- European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction
- American Educational Research Association (Division C and the Motivation in Education Special Interest Group)
- American Psychological Association (Division 15: Educational Psychology)
- Society for Research on Adolescence
- Curriculum Journal (2014-2018)
- Grant reviewer for the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
- Journal reviewer for AERA Open, British Journal of Educational Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Journal of Educational Psychology, Elementary School Journal, Journal of the Learning Sciences, Journal of Experimental Education, Educational Theory, Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, Learning and Individual Differences, Learning and Instruction, and Review of Education
Service at the University of Glasgow
- School of Education Ethics Officer (2016-2019)
- Previously co-organised the Curriculum, Assessment, and Pedagogy RTG seminar series, and organised a seminar for the University of Glasgow Education Assessment Network