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Improving undergraduate instruction in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

report of a workshop


Participants in this workshop were asked to explore three related questions: (1) how to create measures of undergraduate learning in STEM courses; (2) how such measures might be organized into a framework of criteria and benchmarks to assess instruction; and (3) how such a framework might be used at the institutional level to assess STEM courses and curricula to promote ongoing improvements. The following issues were highlighted: - Effective science instruction identifies explicit, measurable learning objectives.- Effective teaching assists students in reconciling their incomplete or erroneous preconceptions with new knowledge.- Instruction that is limited to passive delivery of information requiring memorization of lecture and text contents is likely to be unsuccessful in eliciting desired learning outcomes.- Models of effective instruction that promote conceptual understanding in students and the ability of the learner to apply knowledge in new situations are available.- Institutions need better assessment tools for evaluating course design and effective instruction.- Deans and department chairs often fail to recognize measures they have at their disposal to enhance incentives for improving education.- Much is still to be learned from research into how to improve instruction in ways that enhance student learning.

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