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The Couch Research Group seeks to understand and improve science education, with a particular focus on undergraduate biology.  We are currently involved in three main projects:


Adopting Research-based Instructional Strategies for Enhancing (ARISE) STEM education,

NSF WIDER (DUE-1347814)

The ARISE project seeks to create a sustainable model for implementing and supporting the use of research-based instructional strategies within STEM education.  This goal is being accomplished through several different efforts, including faculty development programs and institutional initiatives encouraging the use of transformed teaching practices.  This program is also being used as a context to research factors that influence faculty and departmental adoption of research-based pedagogies.


Impact of the Summer Institutes on faculty teaching and student achievement,

NSF TUES III (DUE-1323019)

Over the last decade, the National Academies Summer Institutes on Undergraduate Education (SIs) have trained more than 1,000 college faculty in “Scientific Teaching,” an approach to instruction based on experimental evidence about how people learn.  This research project seeks to determine the impact of the Summer Institutes on participants’ teaching practices and associated student achievement.  A multi-institutional team is applying a “systems evaluation approach” to model and measure program outcomes at local, institutional, and national levels.  


Navigating from Vision to Change with Bio-MAPS,

NSF TUES II (DUE-1322364)

Building on the recommendations of the Vision and Change report, this project aims to develop, validate, and field-test a collection of conceptual assessments to monitor student progress throughout the biology major. Performance data from these assessments will catalyze change by diagnosing areas in which students struggle, allowing two-year community colleges to evaluate students as they transfer to four-year institutions, and guiding departmental conversations about enacting change at the programmatic level.