Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The NRC Finally Comes to Its Senses on Improving STEM Education

Some blog followers might be interested in a recent post “The NRC Finally Comes to Its Senses on Improving STEM Education.” The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: Kevin Kiley (2013) in his Inside Higher Ed review of Robert Zemsky’s (2013) Checklist for Change reports that in an interview Zemsky said that (a) among the questions his book answers is “Why haven’t we changed?” and (b) a major impediment to change is “a disengaged faculty resistant to change.”

As I indicated in a previous comment [Hake (2013) ] on Zemsky’s book, I’ve noticed Zemsky's derogation of faculty before. In “NRC’s CUSE: Stranded on Assessless Island?” [Hake (2003)] at ] I stated that Zemsky had “missed the boat with respect to the potential reform of undergraduate education through education research by disciplinary experts as monitored by rigorous pre/post testing [being] in the good company of CUSE (Committee on Undergraduate Education) [McCray, et al. (2003) at ], and its workshop participants.”

Fortunately, the NRC APPEARS TO HAVE FINALLY COME TO ITS SENSES ON IMPROVING STEM EDUCATION. On p. 35 of Adapting to a Changing World - Challenges and Opportunities in Undergraduate Physics Education [NRC (2013) at ] it's stated:

“Hake’s (1998a) seminal report on the effectiveness of interactive engagement methods remains an important contribution to undergraduate physics education. The article presents results from the Mechanics Diagnostic (MD) [Halloun & Hestenes (1985) at ] and the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) [Hestenes et al. (1992) at], given before and after instruction on Newtonian mechanics in a variety of courses taught using different approaches. . . . . . . the conclusion, that more effective instructional approaches involve active learning, has been supported by many other studies using different methodology [Meltzer and Thornton (2012) at] and Hoellwarth et al. (2005) at]. **************************************************

To access the complete 53 kB post please click on .

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University; Links to: Articles; Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs; Academia; Blog; GooglePlus; Google Scholar; Twitter; Facebook; Linked In

“There is substantial evidence that scientific teaching in the sciences, i.e., teaching that employs instructional strategies that encourage undergraduates to become actively engaged in their own learning, can produce levels of understanding, retention and transfer of knowledge that are greater than those resulting from traditional lecture/lab classes. But widespread acceptance by university faculty of new pedagogies and curricular materials still lies in the future.” - Robert DeHaan (2005)

REFERENCES [URL shortened by and accessed on 18 Sept. 2013.]

DeHaan, R.L. 2005. “The Impending Revolution in Undergraduate Science Education,” Journal of Science Education and Technology 14(2): 253-269; online as a 152 kB pdf at .

Hake, R.R. 2013. “The NRC Finally Comes to Its Senses on Improving STEM Education,” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 18 Sep 2013 20:19:57-0400 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to various discussion lists.

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