Workshop Reports and Proceedings
Order Code: WR1
College Level One: Articulation, Equity, and Literacy
Søren Bisgaard, Lia V. Brillhart, Ann B. Burgess, Jane Harris Cramer, Denice D. Denton, Janice D. Downer, Sharon L. Dunwoody, Arthur B. Ellis, Peter W. Hewson, Walter G. Secada, & Sheila Tobias
Driven by many factors, the reform movement in undergraduate mathematics and science education in the United States is now at a critical stage. Changes in precollege education have altered the knowledge and expectations of entering students. College level SMET courses are expected to meet the multifold goals of enabling individuals to be scientifically literate in a technological society, training scientists to be analytical researchers and skilled technicians, and preparing teachers to be scientifically knowledgeable and pedagogically skilled. Finally, science education must be made more accessible and meaningful to all segments of our society.
The NSF, in pursuing its mission to initiate and support education programs, has funded many innovative college SMET programs at the local level. The time has come for broader-scale implementation. Challenges to change are complex, crossing disciplinary boundaries, involving both scientists and educators, and requiring adaptations at departmental and institutional levels. The NISE has been established with NSF funding to act as guide and partner to confront inadequacies in science/math education at all educational levels. The CL-1 of the NISE is charged with identifying the important issues in undergraduate SMET education and determining the best strategies for dealing with them. Critical among these is how to progress toward systemic implementation and change.
CL-1 was designated as one of the projects within the NISE because of the conviction that college entry level courses represent a curriculum "pressure point," strongly influencing courses that succeed them and often determining student career paths. During the past few months the group has worked to define its field of investigation. The Articulation, Equity, and Literacy Issues Workshop, an outgrowth of those discussions, was organized to tap the knowledge and ideas of SMET education stakeholders, who represent a spectrum of disciplines and institutions.
In addition to examining curriculum content and delivery practices within disciplines, workshop discussions were channeled to the cross-cutting themes of articulation, equity, and literacy. Participants were asked to reflect on several questions: How effective are articulation mechanisms, i.e., transfer of knowledge and credits, both within and between institutions? Are all groups within our population being well-served by SMET courses? How can science literacy be taught and how can it be woven into courses that serve science majors, nonmajors, and future teachers?
As an outcome of the workshop, the CL-1 Team requested advice on the following:
Participants were reminded in closing that the NISE as a whole, and the CL-1 project specifically, seek the broadest possible involvement from the science and education communities. The entire initiative is viewed as multidisciplinary, inclusive, and comprehensive. Workshop attendees, their colleagues, and their expanded network of contacts were invited to be involved in the effort.
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