Course Reform Efforts

A major element of the course reform evaluation will determine the extent of changes in instruction and course materials of college science and mathematics courses. We intend to use course evaluation protocols and assess student changes based on student responses on these instruments. We also intend to identify specific, successful courses and professors who, after participating in the workshops or curriculum committees, have significantly changed the way they teach. In these instances we will prepare more in depth case studies leading to publishable findings.

Formative evaluation will use the techniques of in-class observations, teacher evaluations, and student evaluations to provide ongoing feedback to project planners on how project goals are being met. Formative evaluation of course development will include data review sessions with the instructors. These will identify which parts of the course are working, which need modification, and to set out strategies for improvement.

Courses in which ambitious or disseminatable changes are being attempted will be targeted for additional formative evaluation. It will identify key interactions and any critical barriers to learning that are generalizable and will lead to informative publications. It will also give critical feedback on content and process learning objectives with specific reference to the five teaching strategies.

Summative evaluation will be implemented by an independent third party (the Donahue Institute). The impact of course reform on students will be measured through the use of questionnaires, focus groups of students, course evaluations, and key student performance indicators (such as final course grades, quiz and homework grades, and grades on standardized tests). Changes in student attitudes toward teaching will be measured using surveys and focus groups. Finally, interviews and videotaping of selected individual faculty will provide in-depth understanding of the difficulties and opportunities involved in the reform process.

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Created June 2000
Author: STEMTEC Webmaster