Leveraging STEM education innovation through assessment
Leveraging STEM education through assessment Across the nation, initiatives at all levels are converging to improve the quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for undergraduates. From the Federal STEM Education 5-year Strategic Plan to a sourcebook on Achieving Systemic Change authored by AAAS, AAU, APLU, and AAC&U, a clear vision for advancing undergraduate STEM learning is being implemented. Within the biology community, Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology is being enacted on campuses across the nation with leadership from disciplinary societies and Partnership for Life Science Education (PULSE) Fellows programs. Yet, for all these changes in the learning environment to take hold, metrics, indicators, and assessment tools need to be aligned with the new learning goals.
Success can be measured at a national level using a range of indicators. Metrics and milestones are being developed as the Federal Strategic Plan is implemented. The Department of Education has created space for competency-based assessment, which increases options for regional accrediting agencies working at the level of colleges and universities. Departments are developing assessment plans for their majors. Driven by the growing field of biology education research, new instruments are being developed to measure teaching and learning. In a world where what is measured is what is valued, these assessments are critical to catalyzing change in undergraduate learning.