WIDER: EAGER: Recognizing assessing and enhancing evidence-based practices in STEM at Arizona State University Polytechnic

Project: Research project

Description

This two-year project is a systematic effort to recognize, assess, and enhance evidence-based STEM instructional practices on the Arizona State University Polytechnic campus, one of four campuses of Arizona State University (ASU). ASU enrolls over 70,000 students across its campuses, and awards over 13,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees each year. ASU is among the nations leading post-secondary institutions in number of degrees awarded to Hispanic and Native American students. The lead academic unit will be the College of Technology and Innovation (CTI), which is the college responsible for STEM instruction at ASU Polytechnic. CTI offers courses in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, engineering, and technology, with degree programs in engineering, technology, and applied sciences. Our working definition of evidence-based instructional practices is modeled on that currently used in the physics education community: practices are explicitly based on research in the learning and teaching of the content area; they incorporate classroom and/or laboratory activities that require all students to express their thinking through speaking, writing, or other actions that go beyond listening and the copying of notes, or execution of prescribed procedures; and they have been tested repeatedly in actual classroom settings and have yielded objective evidence of improved student learning. We will follow a four-pronged plan to survey, assess, and enhance the use of evidence-based instruction: (1) We will collect syllabi and instructional materials for primary STEM courses offered at ASU Polytechnic and examine them to determine whether and to what degree they incorporate evidence-based instructional practices. This will be done in collaboration with the course instructors who, through discussions with the PI and project team, will help make these determinations; (2) We will carry out observations of selected classes and laboratories to aid in determination of implementations of evidencebased instructional practices. In these efforts we will be aided by use of observational protocols such as UTOP and RTOP, as well as sets of characteristics linked to research-based practices in physics; (3) We will begin regular assessment of student learning in introductory STEM courses through pre- and postinstruction use of standard diagnostic instruments such as FCI and FMCE (physics), CCI (calculus), BCI and CINS (biology), TTSCI and MCI (engineering), and ACS chemistry tests. Creation of a solid baseline of student learning data in all targeted courses will allow us to gauge the effectiveness of future reforms as we increase the use of evidence-based instruction; (4) We will work with instructors and department chairs to facilitate and enhance the adoption and use of evidence-based instructional materials and practices. We will create a CTI library of evidence-based instructional materials in physics and other STEM fields and acquire texts, workbooks, ancillary materials, multimedia materials, and instructors guides for a wide and representative range of evidence-based materials for use and reference by CTI faculty and staff.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date9/15/128/31/16

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $298,352.00

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physics
evidence
innovation
instructor
student
engineering
instruction
learning
biology
chemistry
classroom
applied science
syllabus
multimedia
speaking
diagnostic
graduate
mathematics
staff
reform