Monitoring Undergraduate STEM Education

December 14, 2017

Quality instruction goes a long way toward keeping students -- especially underrepresented minorities and women -- in the sciences, technology, math and engineering. But measuring educational quality isn’t easy. A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, “Indicators for Monitoring Undergraduate STEM Education,” says that assessing quality and impact in STEM at the national level will require the collection of new data on changing student demographics, instructors’ use of evidence-based teaching approaches, student transfer patterns and more.

Instead of more typical, highly variable measures of educational value -- such as graduate employment data -- the academies propose a conceptual framework for a national indicator system with three main goals and 21 specific indicators of progress. Goals include increasing students’ mastery of STEM concepts and skills by engaging them in evidence-based practices and programs. Indicators include the use of valid measures of teaching effectiveness and the diversity of STEM degree and certificate earners in comparison with the diversity of degree and certificate earners in all fields.

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