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Michael D. Eisner College of Education

College of Education

Personnel Directory

Carolyn Jeffries

Carolyn  Jeffries
Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling
Office:ED 2208
Phone:818 677 2835



Ph.D. Educational Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles; M.A. Education, California State Univeristy, Long Beach; B.S., Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine


Single Subject Teaching, Life Science and Chemistry, State of California, Life

Teaching Interests

Educational psychology, specifically as it relates to instructional design.

Research Interests

Vignettes as learning and assessment tools, mnemonics, and discovery boxes as a teaching and learning strategy.


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Jeffries, C. (2013). Thinking inside the box. In L. Froschauer (Ed.), A year of inquiry: A collection for elementary educators (pp. 118-123). Arlington, Virginia, NSTA Press.


The authors conducted a test to determine whether they could incorporate a discovery box into a preschool setting was successful. It stimulated the students' natural inquiry processes while promoting understanding of healthy foods and allowing for practice of fine-motor skills. It was easily incorporated into the curriculum and classroom space. Since preschoolers are naturally curious, they tried to determine and predict how the tools and components worked. They inspected the materials and used the tools to measure, analyze, and create mental models. They also constructed their own explanations. This article describes the authors' experiences developing and setting up the discovery box learning activity center for preschoolers. (Contains 3 figures and 4 print resources.)

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Jeffries, C., & Maeder, D. W. (2004 - 2005). Using vignettes to build and assess teacher understanding of instructional strategies. The Professional Educator, 27(1 & 2), 17-28.


In the last fifty years, the use of stories in education has included vignettes as an effective stimulus for discussion of real-life contexts and problems. However, vignettes have rarely been used as an assessment tool and there is no reported consensus on their definition and design. This article documents the use of vignettes as an effective method of assessing pedagogical understanding in our teacher development courses from 1995-2003, suggesting that vignettes are significantly correlated with more traditional forms of assessment, are highly predictive of course-ending project performances, and represent an episode of learning in their own right. Finally, we propose a more concise definition and a more rigorous course of study for vignette development and implementation.

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Jeffries, C., & Maeder, D. W. (2006). Using instructional and assessment vignettes to promote recall, recognition, and transfer in educational psychology courses. Teaching Educational Psychology, 1(2), 1-19. 


Instructors have long used short descriptive stories such as vignettes as a tool to model, teach, and research behavior and understanding as well as to stimulate discussion and problem solving in learning situations. This article summarizes the results of a study comparing the effectiveness of two types of vignettes  (evaluation and synthesis) as instructional tools and assessment tasks in five sections of an educational psychology course. Study results suggest that the positive effects of vignette instructional and assessment tasks on student mastery of subject matter are additive, regardless of the type of vignette. Mean quiz, assignment, and posttest scores in the two sections that received vignette instruction were significantly higher than those in sections that did not receive vignette instruction and differed only in terms of assessment style (forced-choice, summarization, and vignette). Scaffolding vignette instruction not only enhanced vignette assessment performance as a measure of transfer of course content, but also enhanced recognition and recall of coursecontent. 

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Jeffries, C., & Maeder, D. W. (2009). The effect of scaffolded vignette instruction on student mastery of subject matter. The Teacher Educator, 44, 21-39.
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Jeffries, C. (2011). Thinking inside the box: Using discovery boxes and learning centers to promote inquiry and teach healthy food choices at the preschool level. Science and Children, 48(6), 30-34.
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Jeffries, C., & Maeder, D. W. (2011). Comparing vignette instruction and assessment tasks to classroom observations and reflections. The Teacher Educator, 46(2), 161-175
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Summarizes the development and results of a recently implemented self-care program for faculty and staff members in the Michael D. Eisner College of Education at California State University, Northridge. Survey, observation and interview data indicate that the program is effectively making significant inroads toward a cultural shift in the perception of self-care. It is posited that if greater numbers of institutions implement such programs, they will be better able to promote student success, to produce higher levels of research and to serve as exemplary educational models.

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