Discipline-Based Education Research: Understanding and Improving Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering

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National Academies Press, Sep 10, 2012 - Education - 261 pages
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The National Science Foundation funded a synthesis study on the status, contributions, and future direction of discipline-based education research (DBER) in physics, biological sciences, geosciences, and chemistry. DBER combines knowledge of teaching and learning with deep knowledge of discipline-specific science content. It describes the discipline-specific difficulties learners face and the specialized intellectual and instructional resources that can facilitate student understanding.

Discipline-Based Education Research is based on a 30-month study built on two workshops held in 2008 to explore evidence on promising practices in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. This book asks questions that are essential to advancing DBER and broadening its impact on undergraduate science teaching and learning. The book provides empirical research on undergraduate teaching and learning in the sciences, explores the extent to which this research currently influences undergraduate instruction, and identifies the intellectual and material resources required to further develop DBER.

Discipline-Based Education Research provides guidance for future DBER research. In addition, the findings and recommendations of this report may invite, if not assist, post-secondary institutions to increase interest and research activity in DBER and improve its quality and usefulness across all natural science disciples, as well as guide instruction and assessment across natural science courses to improve student learning. The book brings greater focus to issues of student attrition in the natural sciences that are related to the quality of instruction. Discipline-Based Education Research will be of interest to educators, policy makers, researchers, scholars, decision makers in universities, government agencies, curriculum developers, research sponsors, and education advocacy groups.

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Executive Summary
Status of DisciplineBased Education Research
1 Introduction
2 The Emergence and Current State of DisciplineBased Education Research
Contributions of DisciplineBased Education Research
3 Overview of DisciplineBased Education Research
4 Identifying and Improving Students Conceptual Understanding in Science and Engineering
5 Problem Solving Spatial Thinking and the Use of Representations in Science and Engineering
6 Instructional Strategies
7 Some Emerging Areas of DisciplineBased Education Research
Future Directions for DisciplineBased Education Research
The Influence of DisciplineBased Education Research on Undergraduate Science and Engineering Instruction
Conclusions and Recommendations
Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff

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