Jonathan Shemwell

Assistant  Professor of Education

Cooperating Assistant Professor of Physics

Member of the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center)

330 Shibles Hall
(207) 581.2411
Email Jon Shemwell

See Jon’s Faculty Profile on the College of Education and Human Development Site


  • Ph.D, Science Education  Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 2011
    Secondary Science Certification and State of  Illinois Master Teacher  National Board for
    Professional Teaching Standards, 2003
  • Certified (Alternative) Teacher  Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 1998
  • Certified Nuclear Engineer Officer  Office of Naval Reactors, Washington DC, 1993
  • M.S., Applied Physics  Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, 1990
  • B.S., Physics (cum laude) United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, 1989


Jon Shemwell strives to build theories of science thinking and learning that inform and propel the design of instruction.  His research interests include cognitive representations, especially mental models; classroom discussion and scientific argumentation; alternative modes of science learning such as using contrasting cases; and assessment.

Recent Publications:

Nissen, J. M., & Shemwell, J. T. (in press). Gender, experience, and self-efficacy in introductory physics. Physical Review Special Topics-Physics Education Research.

Barth-Cohen L, Smith MK, Capps D, Shemwell, J., Lewin J, Stetzer MR. What are middle school students talking about during clicker questions?  Characterizing small-group conversations mediated by classroom response systems.  Journal of Science Education and Technology, 2016, 25:50-61.

Shemwell, J. T., Chase, C. C., & Schwartz, D. L. (2015). Seeking the general explanation: A test of inductive activities for learning and transfer. Journal of Research in Science Teaching52(1), 58-83.

Shemwell, J. T., Avargil, S. A. & Capps, D. K. (2015). Grappling with long-term learning in science: A qualitative study of teachers’ views of developmentally oriented instruction. Journal of research in Science Teaching.

Shemwell, J. T., Gwarjanski, K. R., Capps, D. K., Avargil, S., & Meyer, J. L. (2015). Supporting Teachers to Attend to Generalisation in Science Classroom Argumentation. International Journal of Science Education37(4), 599-628.

Furtak, E. M., Shavelson, R. J., Shemwell, J. T., & Figueroa, M. (2012). To teach or not to teach through inquiry. In S. M. Carver, & J. Shrager (Eds.), The journey from child to scientist (pp. 227-244). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Furtak, E. M., Hardy, I., Beinbrech, T., Shavelson, R. J., & Shemwell, J. T. (2010). A framework for analyzing reasoning in science classroom discourse. Educational Assessment, 15(3-4), 175-196.

Shemwell, J. T., & Furtak, E. M. (2010). Scientific argumentation and science discussion: A study of conceptually rich (and poor) student talk. Educational Assessment, 15(3-4), 22-250.

Shemwell, J. T., Fu, A. C., Figueroa, M., Davis, R. D., & Shavelson, R. J. (2010). Assessment in schools – secondary science. In P. Peterson, D. Baker & B. McGaw (Eds.), International encyclopedia of education (3rd ed., pp. 300-310). Oxford: Elsevier.

Furtak, E. M., Ruiz-Primo, M. A., Shemwell, J. T., Ayala, C. C., Brandon, P., Shavelson, R. J., et al. (2008). On the fidelity of implementing embedded formative assessments and its relation to student learning. Applied Measurement in Education, 21(4), 360-389.