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Colleges Reinvent Classes to Keep More Students in Science #makereducation

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The NYTimes.com published a story on a trend in some colleges to reform the way they are teaching math and science courses. The innovations focus on student engagement and participation as opposed to the large-scale lecture format that have come to dominate the introductory courses in these fields.

“We have not done a good job of teaching the intro courses or gateway courses in science and math,” said Hunter R. Rawlings III, president of the Association of American Universities and a former president of Cornell University and the University of Iowa. “Teaching freshman- and sophomore-level classes has not had a high enough priority, and that has to change.”

Multiple studies have shown that students fare better with a more active approach to learning, using some of the tools being adopted here at Davis, while in traditional classes, students often learn less than their teachers think.

The University of Colorado, a national leader in the overhaul of teaching science, tested thousands of students over several years, before and after they each took an introductory physics class, and reported in 2008 that students in transformed classes had improved their scores by about 50 percent more than those in traditional classes.

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