Enough with the lecturing Active learning improves grades, reduces failure among undergrads in STEM

A significantly greater number of students fail science, engineering and math courses that are taught lecture-style than fail in classes incorporating so-called active learning that expects them to participate in discussions and problem-solving beyond what they’ve memorized.

Active learning also improves exam performance in some cases enough to change grades by half a letter or more–so a B-plus, for example, becomes an A-minus.

Those findings are from the largest and most comprehensive analysis ever published of studies comparing lecturing to active learning in undergraduate education, said Scott Freeman, a University of Washington principal lecturer in biology. He’s lead author of a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of May 12.

Read more at nsf.gov – National Science Foundation (NSF) News – Enough with the lecturing – US National Science Foundation (NSF).

The original citation: Freeman, Scott, Sarah L. Eddy, Miles McDonough, Michelle K. Smith, Nnadozie Okoroafor, Hannah Jordt, and Mary Pat Wenderoth. “Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics.”Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2014): 201319030. (html)

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About Dr. J. Metzker

I believe in the power of a liberal education to transform individuals and society. I am currently the Executive Director of the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence. Formerly, I led a community engagement initiative and held a full professorship in chemistry at a public liberal arts university. I am a proud product of The Evergreen State College.
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