Sharon Nelson-Barber

About Me (Bio)
Sharon Nelson-Barber, EdD, directs WestEd's Center for the Study of Culture and Language in Education. She is also a Lecturer in Stanford University's Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, where she teaches Native American studies and cultural and social anthropology. Dr. Nelson-Barber, a sociolinguist, is active in major organizations and meetings in anthropology and education, and serves on a number of national advisory boards. She holds a doctorate in human development from Harvard University. Her work explores ways in which teachers can more effectively teach the full spectrum of students in today's classrooms. In particular, she focuses on the teaching knowledge and abilities of educators in nondominant contexts, spanning indigenous settings in the lower 48 states, Alaska, the northern Pacific region of Micronesia, and many areas of Polynesia. She is cofounder of Pacific/Polar Opportunities to Learn, Advance, and Research Indigenous Systems (POLARIS), a research and development network that encourages social and educational transformation. Dr. Nelson-Barber combines expertise in qualitative research and culturally competent assessment and evaluation with years of experience providing equity assistance to schools, organizations, and service agencies serving diverse communities. Among her extensive publications, she is coeditor and contributor to the 2009 book titled "Culturally Responsive Mathematics Education."
Arizona State University (ASU)

This EAGER project aims to conduct a study designed to operationalize a culturally responsive computing framework, from theory to empirical application, by exploring what factors can be identified and later used to develop items for an instrument to assess youths' self-efficacy and self-perceptions in computing and technology-related fields and careers.

Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL)

This project is conducting an empirical analysis of NAEP assessment items in science to determine whether evidence supports the hypothesis that standardized tests capture only a limited amount of student knowledge because of their cultural background. The investigator will create a model of test design more likely to extract student knowledge from students of varied cultures by expanding items’ content. The study will examine the experience of American Indian groups, Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders.

Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL)

This study examines ways that teacher-level factors (including teacher background variables and instructional practices) and student-level factors (such as self-rated mathematics interest and proficiency), and interactions among these factors, are associated with American Indian/Alaska native (AI/AN) student academic achievement in middle grades mathematics. The ultimate goal is to identify malleable factors that, if changed, could improve teachers' practices and AI/AN student achievement in mathematics.

Northern Arizona University

This project will explore how a nationally implemented professional development model is applied in two distinct Indigenous communities, the impact the model has on teacher practice in Native-serving classrooms, and the model's capacity to promote the integration of culturally responsive approaches to STEM teaching.