Measuring Systemic Change in Introductory Science Courses

Thursday 10:30am - 11:00am Waterfront
Oral Presentation

Cori Fata-Hartley, Michigan State University
Michigan State University has adopted a transformation approach for introductory science courses based on the vision for science teaching and learning described in the NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education. This approach integrates deep understanding of core ideas with scientific practices and crosscutting concepts to yield what is referred to as Three-Dimensional Learning (3DL). Levers for the transformation included discussions among faculty in the disciplines, a professional development fellowship focused on 3DL, and among others, support from administrative leaders. We used our previously published protocol, the Three-Dimensional Learning Assessment Protocol (3D-LAP), to characterize the extent of change in introductory science course assessments over time with respect to 3DL. We applied the 3D-LAP to approximately 4,000 assessment items from four years of chemistry, biology, and physics exams and found that the results of the transformation efforts varied across disciplines. We will describe the disciplinary differences and discuss how departmental culture, course organization, and perceived course ownership impacted change efforts. The results demonstrate that (1) the 3D-LAP can be used as a tool to study the extent of change in transformation efforts and (2) change is controlled by course and departmental level situational factors.