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context in the following chapters.
Participants in this workshop were charged with examining student learning outcomes in the sciences, exemplary instructional practices, and the barriers as well as the enablers to instructional reform at the institutional level. Through presentations by plenary speakers and the discussions that followed, reports from breakout sessions, and general discussions throughout the workshop, major themes emerged. In this report, a summary of the workshop presentations and subsequent discussion, participants’ statements, and the resulting themes are organized around the workshop’s guiding questions into three related areas: identifying desired learning outcomes, evaluating effective instruction, and promoting effective instruction at institutional and departmental levels.
The following chapters focus on the four guiding questions (a-d) regarding undergraduate STEM education presented at the beginning of this chapter. Chapter 2 addresses question b—what are the desired student outcomes of such STEM courses that can indicate course effectiveness—by examining the process of developing such learning outcomes. It outlines some of those outcomes defined as most important by the workshop participants. Chapter 3 identifies characteristics and indicators that can be included in a comprehensive evaluation instrument for rating exemplary STEM instructional programs (question a) and tools for assessing the quality of faculty instruction. Chapter 4 examines characteristics of organization, governance, and incentive structures identified at the personal, departmental, and institutional levels that promote quality STEM education (question c). It also considers qualities that serve as barriers to implementation of effective instruction and describes approaches to promote such instruction at the institutional/departmental level. Chapter 5 summarizes the general discussion that occurred at the end of the workshop, highlighting qualities that could be used as the basis for creating indicators and benchmarks for the evaluation of institutions and departments (question d). In an Epilogue (Chapter 6), overriding concerns that participants voiced repeatedly serve as a summary of the major issues in the report.
References to specific programs and initiatives that were discussed by workshop participants are included throughout this report. These programs are cited for information purposes only; such citation does not imply endorsement by the NRC.