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General Education

Natural Science (NATS) assessment studies by the Center for Astronomy Education

Overview: 



The Center for Astronomy Education (CAE), hosted by the Department of Astronomy in the College of Science, focuses on conducting research and professional development relating to the effective teaching and learning of introductory astronomy. For the past decade CAE has been working on creating research-validated curriculum and assessment strategies and disseminating these materials to college faculty around the country. This work has gained international recognition for CAE and the Department of Astronomy within the space-science community.

 

Assessment Activities: 



Below are publications relating to the work that has been done by members of the Center for Astronomy Education on the effectiveness of instruction relating to teaching introductory astronomy and physics courses for non-science majors.

 

A National Study Assessing the Teaching and Learning of Introductory Astronomy Part II: Analysis of Student Demographics”, Rudolph, A.L., Consiglio, D., Gonzaga, V., Prather, E.E., & Brissenden, G., Astronomy Education Review, in press

 

Teaching and Learning Astronomy in the 21st Century: The Impact on our Society of Astronomy Education Research, Prather, E. E., Rudolph, A., and Brissenden, G., Physics Today, 62(10), 2009.

 

College Students' Preinstructional Ideas About Stars and Star Formation, Bailey, J. M., Prather, E. E., Johnson, B., and Slater, T. F., Astronomy Education Review, 8 (1), 2009

 

Clickers as Data Gathering Tools and Students’ Attitudes, Motivations, and Beliefs on Their Use in this Application, Prather, E. E., and Brissenden, G., Astronomy Education Review, 8 (1), 2009

 

A National Study Assessing the Teaching and Learning of Introductory Astronomy Part I: The Effect of Interactive Instruction, Prather, E. E., Rudolph, A., Brissenden, G and Schlingman, W., American Journal of Physics, 77(4), 2009.

 

Development and Application of a Situated Apprenticeship Approach to Professional Development of Astronomy Instructors, Prather, E. E., and Brissenden, G., Astronomy Education Review, 7(2), 2008.

 

Development and Validation of the Light and Spectra Concept Inventory, Bardar, Erin M. (Weeks), Prather, E. E., Bresher, Kenneth and Slater, T. F., Astronomy Education Review, 5(2), 2007.

 



Effectiveness of Collaborative Ranking Tasks on Student Understanding of Key Astronomy Concepts, Hudgins, D. W., Prather, E. E., Grayson, D.J. and Smits, D. P., Astronomy Education Review, 5(1), 2006.

 

Students’ Beliefs about the Role of Atoms in Radioactive Decay and Half-life, Prather, E. E., Journal of Geoscience Education, 53(4), 2005

 

Research on a Lecture-Tutorial Approach to Teaching Introductory Astronomy for Non-Science Majors, Prather, E. E., Slater, Timothy F., Adams, Jeffery P., Bailey, Janelle M., Jones, Lauren V. and Dostal, Jack A., Astronomy Education Review, 3(2), 2004.

 

The Impact of Cognitive Science and Science Education Research on the Teaching and Learning of Astrobiology. Prather, E. E., Elfring, L. K., Offerdahl, E.G., and Slater, T. F., International Journal of Astrobiology, 3(1), 2004.

 

Training the “Next Generation” of Astrobiologists: An Undergraduate Astrobiology Course for Science Majors, Offerdahl, E.G., Elfring, L.K., Prather, E. E., and Slater, T.F., International Journal of Astrobiology, 3(1), 2004.

 

Exploring the Public’s Understanding of the Role of Water in Astrobiology. Slater, T.F., Elfring, L.K., Offerdahl, E.G., & Prather, E. E., International Journal of Astrobiology, 3(1), 2004.

 

Bringing the Search for Extra-Solar Planets into the Introductory Physics Classroom, Prather, E. E., and Slater, T.F, The Physics Teacher, 39(2), 89-93, 2001, printed in Insights Into the Universe: Effective Ways to Teach Astronomy, Slater and Zeilik, 2003, American Association of Physics Teachers Press: College Park, MD (160 pages). ISBN: 1-931024-04-9.

 

Hints of a Fundamental Misconception in Cosmology, Prather, E. E., Offerdahl, E., and Slater, T. F. Astronomy Education Review, 1(2), p.28-34, 2002.

 

Students’ Pre-Instructional Beliefs and Reasoning Strategies About Astrobiology Concepts, Offerdahl, E.G., Prather, E. E., and Slater, T.F., Astronomy Education Review, 1(2), 2002.

Student Understanding of Ionizing Radiation and Radioactivity, Prather, E. E., and Harrington, R., Journal of College Science Teaching, 31(2), 2002.

 

Bringing Extra-solar Planets into the Introductory Physics Classroom, Prather, E. E., and Slater, T.F., The Physics Teacher, 39(2), 2001.

 

Academic Degree Programs: 
Degree Type: 

General Education

Survey of Graduating Seniors (SGS)

Administered: Fall and Spring Semester

Last Administered: Spring 2008

Target Population: Graduating Seniors

The SGS contains blocks of questions that assess for student perceptions about certain aspects of generation education including gains on outcomes associated with general education.

Academic Degree Programs: 

General Education

Student Experiences Questionnaire (SEQ)

Administered: Annually

Last Administered: Spring 2005

Target Population: Students at mid-career

The SEQ addresses many of the same issues as the SNF, but it is administered to students at about mid-career. The SEQ includes questions about the same eleven outcomes and their importance to the student, but the questions are restated to obtain each student’s self-assessed degree of improvement.

Academic Degree Programs: 

General Education

Survey of New Freshmen (SNF)

Administered: Annually

Last Administered: Fall 2007

Target Population: Entering Students

•The Survey of New Freshmen provides a self-assessment by students of their incoming skills and content area understanding desired outcomes of university graduates.

Academic Degree Programs: