Stirring the Pot: Supporting and Challenging General Education Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty to Change Teaching and Assessment Practice
Evidence-based instructional practices (EBIPs) have been associated with positive student outcomes; however, institutions struggle to catalyze widespread adoption of these practices in general education science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses. Further, linking EBIPs with integrated learning assessment is rarely discussed in the literature, even though principles of continuous course design for quality higher education assume the connection of learning outcomes, teaching practices, and assessment. This qualitative action research study documents faculty attempting to utilize EBIPs and authentic assessment when they were provided support and accountability over multiple semesters. We document participants’ current practices and encourage shifts in both teaching and assessment practices targeting greater student success in STEM general education courses. Narrative data drawn from interviews and written reflection describe the impact of structured faculty observation and cross-disciplinary conversation on participants’ pedagogical and assessment choices. The faculty participants’ voices vividly illustrate our findings: incentives, reflection, mentorship, and collaboration over multiple semesters support changing pedagogical practices and integrating outcomes assessment. While STEM-based, the study findings are applicable across the general education curriculum.