Oxford, Ohio 45056
(513) 529-1950 fax
Miami professor part of national committee studying higher education teaching and learning in science and engineering
The report says disciplined-based education research (DBER), which investigates how students learn in particular scientific disciplines and identifies ways to improve instruction, has yet to prompt widespread changes in teaching practices.
“Students harbor incorrect ideas in every single science discipline and engineering. No discipline is immune,” said Lowery Bretz. “It's not just learners who are non-majors, but includes future scientists and engineers. These challenges span several areas, including conceptual understanding, problem solving and interpretation of representations, which all sciences use.
“If faculty were more aware of the challenges students face, they might change their instruction and assessment to focus on conceptual understanding instead of assessing learning at a lower level where students can successfully mimic what was presented.”
DBER research is emerging in many scientific disciplines, including physics, chemistry, biology, the geosciences, and astronomy, as well as in engineering. A DBER scholar in physics, for example, might investigate how students learn concepts such as force or acceleration and try to identify effective ways for instructors to teach these concepts.
Notable research findings from DBER on undergraduate teaching and learning include:
Science and engineering faculty, institutions, disciplinary societies, and professional societies should all support high-quality DBER and the adoption of the evidence-based teaching strategies that have emerged from it, the report says. They should also work together to prepare future faculty who understand research findings on learning and teaching and who value effective teaching as part of their career aspirations, the report states.
The study was sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council make up the National Academies. The Research Council is the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. For more information and a pdf link, visit http://national-academies.org.