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Achieving Harmony: Tuning into Practice
Wednesday, June 17 • 4:00pm - 5:30pm
POSTER.43 - You can’t change what you can’t measure: Measuring teaching practices and student learning to promote improvement in introductory science classes

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In order improve, we have to be able to measure, but measurement in introductory science courses has often been limited to examinations designed for grading purposes and course evaluations to assess instructor effectiveness. The data from these measures do not provide the comprehensive understanding of student learning and pedagogy that is needed to promote change and improve student learning. We have expanded assessment efforts in introductory science courses at a large 4-year institution to focus on students’ conceptual understanding of course material, students’ mindsets, pedagogical approaches, and classroom interactions. Conceptual understanding is measured through assessments that are aligned with individual course learning goals. Student mindsets are assessed using the C-LASS (Adams et al., 2006) to assess the extent of expert thinking. Finally, pedagogical approaches and classroom interactions are measured using the General Observation and Reflection Tool, an application to record observations and reflections related to learning activities (Smith et al., 2013). Measures are implemented throughout the course in order to assess outcomes and quantify change. The triangulation of these instruments, in conjunction with regular classroom assessments, student characteristics and prior achievement provide a thorough picture of course instruction and student learning. This allows instructors and departments to measure change and make evidence-based decisions. We will present an overview of the tools and assessment strategies that have been used to measure student learning and pedagogical approaches at our institution, and how these measures have promoted change. 

Adams, W. K., Perkins, K. K., Podolefsky, N. S., Dubson, M., Finkelstein, N. D., & Wieman, C. E. (2006). New instrument for measuring student beliefs about physics and learning physics: The Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey. Physical Review Special Topics-Physics Education Research, 2(1), 010101.

Smith, M. K., Jones, F. H., Gilbert, S. L., & Wieman, C. E. (2013). The classroom observation protocol for undergraduate STEM (COPUS): a new instrument to characterize university STEM classroom practices. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 12(4), 618-627.


Wednesday June 17, 2015 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Bayshore Foyer

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