and sources of organized research findings given in the preceding chapters, several general sources for materials and ideas, as well as summaries of related national reports, are included. Broadly speaking, the key recommendations for each of the major audiences, whose active and concerted engagement is essential to building a successful future for undergraduate physics education, are as follows:

•    Individual physics faculty should improve their courses, using objective evidence to judge success.

•    Departmental leadership should create a culture of continuous improvement in which educational innovation is encouraged, sustained when it succeeds, and tolerated when it fails.

•    Academic leadership should encourage faculty groups to seek improvement and should reward faculty and departments that are successful at implementing positive changes.

•    Funding agencies should support change at all levels and should support fundamental educational research, development, adoption, and dissemination.

•    Physics (and other) education researchers should focus some of their efforts on critical areas, including improving fundamental understanding of learning and instruction and developing and disseminating improved assessment tools and instructional methods and materials.

•    Professional societies should emphasize the importance of education research and play a major role in the dissemination of its results, recognizing those who successfully improve instruction.

Change in undergraduate physics education is long overdue. Advances in research on learning and in technology have given us new insights and opportunities to change the way students learn physics. The committee’s suggestions can be used as a launching point to increased awareness of developing findings through publications, workshops, and seminars produced by the growing corps of education researchers and instructors who are discovering and developing more effective ways for students to learn. The detailed recommendations presented below for each major audience group identified in the key recommendations provide a guide to each of the constituent groups on ways that they can contribute to the important task ahead.


Key Recommendation A. Individual physics faculty should improve their courses, using objective evidence to judge success.

Physics faculty can improve learning, prepare students for further work in science and engineering, broaden participation of students from groups

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement