Evidence-Based Approaches to Curriculum Reform and Assessment

Keynote Speaker
Oral Presentation

Prepared by

Contact Information: mmc@msu.edu; 517-355-9715 x 197


There is growing body of work from the learning sciences providing us with insights into how people learn; and from Discipline Based Education Research (DBER) we know what discipline-specific difficulties students face. However, it is quite surprising that relatively little of this understanding has made its way into the design of science and engineering curricula offered at most colleges and universities. This presentation will focus on the need for evidence based curriculum reform, the research findings that can guide such reforms, and how we might assess the results of these reforms, and some findings about the effects of such reforms. Examples of curriculum reform efforts and assessment strategies will be presented and will include: a new general chemistry curriculum, “Chemistry, Life, the Universe and Everything”, approaches to systemic reform that focus on core ideas, scientific practices and cross-cutting concepts, and approaches to the design of assessments that elicit evidence of student use of their knowledge.

Results of such transformation efforts indicate that students who participate in such transformed courses have a more robust understanding of important chemistry concepts, and are more likely to move forward to study in STEM majors.