STEM Practices Assessment Project

An important finding of the HHMI Active Learning Initiative at UCSC is the importance of teaching students the process of science and engineering, in addition to disciplinary content. These STEM practices include constructing explanations using evidence, designing experiments, designing within requirements, and developing and using models. Teaching STEM practices is a scalable teaching approach that has a positive effect on student persistence at UCSC, allowing more students to experience authentic science and engineering. This project focused on piloting tools to assess STEM practices in large-enrollment courses, and support instructors to incorporate them into their curricula. We hope that the resources below help instructors create more opportunities for students to develop problem-solving skills and engage in authentic science and engineering in their lower-division, large-enrollment courses.

What are science practices?

How ISEE uses Backward Design

Examples and tools from the project

Explaining biological phenomena using scientific models
  • Case Study
Experimental design in a physics group project
Constructing explanations of thermodynamics
  • Case Study