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CNSF Hosts Congressional Briefing on Undergraduate Learning During COVID-19

On October 22, the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF), of which COSSA is a member, hosted a virtual briefing for Congressional staffers on undergraduate learning during COVID-19 and how funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) can address gaps in learning. The briefing featured presentations from Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at North Carolina A&T State University Adrienne Aiken Morgan and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Digital Innovation and Enterprise Learning at Northeastern University Kemi Jona. In addition, brief remarks were offered by Representatives G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Katherine Clark (D-CA). The briefing was moderated by Associate Executive Director of the American Mathematical Society Karen Saxe.

The presentations covered a wide range of relevant issues including the transition of education to remote learning, the importance of virtual internships, differences in equity and access for those seeking virtual internships, lessons learned from the current pandemic that can impact future crises, the role of mental health in affecting learning ability, and how remote learning affects historically Black colleges and universities differently than other institutions. In addition, the presenters highlighted social science as especially useful in informing policy changes to improve learning behaviors. A recording of the briefing will be posted by CNSF when available.

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Posted in Issue 21 (October 27), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

New NASEM Report Identifies “Indicators for Monitoring Undergraduate STEM Education”

On May 21, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) hosted a webinar to mark the release of a new report, Indicators for Monitoring Undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education. The goal of the report was to improve undergraduate STEM education by developing metrics by which it can be measured. To do this, NASEM conducted a consensus study of indicators that would allow STEM education quality to be tracked over time. The report found that improving the quality and impact of undergraduate STEM education would require progress towards: (1) “increasing students’ mastery of STEM concepts and skills,” (2) “striving for equity, diversity, and inclusion of STEM students and instructors,” and (3) “ensuring adequate numbers of STEM professionals by increasing completion of STEM credentials.” The objectives and their corresponding indicators in this study each fall under one of these three goals.

The report concludes that to monitor the status and quality of undergraduate STEM education, national data systems need to not only track both full- and part-time students’ paths across and within institutions, but must also include more demographic characteristics to ensure progress towards equity, diversity, and inclusion. There is a need for recurring longitudinal surveys of instructors and students, and, due to the limited availability of data for the study’s indicators, new data collection is needed for many of them. The report contains several proposals for how the indicator system could be implemented, including national student data systems, expanding current federal institutional surveys, and developing a national representative student sample, each supplemented with expanded surveys of students and instructors. The complete report is available to download on the NASEM website.

This article was contributed by COSSA’s summer intern, Catherine Cox of the University of Michigan.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 12), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

National Academies Seeks Comments on Indicators for Undergrad STEM Education

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NAS) Board on Science Education (BSE) seeks comments on its draft report, Developing Indicators for Undergraduate STEM Education. An expert panel, the Committee on Developing Indicators for Undergraduate STEM Education, was convened to develop national indicators for monitoring the quality of undergraduate STEM. The Committee proposes “a conceptual framework of goals and objectives for improving the quality of undergraduate STEM.” A two-phase study, the Committee now seeks input as it prepares to develop indicators. A series of questions for consideration can be accessed on BSE’s website. In addition, a one-day public meeting is planned for October 6, 2016 to allow the Committee to obtain additional input. Input received will inform the second phase of the study, which includes development of “a report which includes the committee’s conceptual framework for an indicator system, a brief review of existing approaches to monitoring STEM in higher education, descriptions of key constructs that need to be measured, a set of indicators and potential data sources.” Further, the Committee is also asked to specify additional areas of research needed to develop appropriate measures. The deadline to provide feedback to the Committee is October 14.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 6), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

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