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Science  14 Sep 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6100, pp. 1274
DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6100.1274-d

Recent emphasis on improving science education has led to the development of high-quality research-based instructional strategies (RBISs). Henderson et al. analyzed the results of a Web survey of U.S. physics faculty in order to better understand the impact of RBISs and to identify any barriers to their use. Results showed that 12% of faculty members are unaware of RBISs, 16% are aware of them but have not tried any, and 23% have tried RBISs but have since discontinued their use. Further analysis indicated that reading education journals, attending workshops focused on teaching, having an interest in RBISs, and being female significantly correlated with knowledge and/or use of RBISs, whereas faculty age, institutional type, percentage of job related to teaching, and large class sizes were not found to be barriers to the use of RBISs. Taken together, these results suggest that although general dissemination strategies and professional development efforts create awareness and motivation to try RBISs, more support, especially related to dealing with student complaints, inability to cover the appropriate amount of content, and weaker-than-promised student outcomes, may be needed for faculty to implement and continue to use RBISs.

Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 8, 020104 (2012).

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