NARST Practice Session: Investigating Change in Classroom Instruction of Scientific Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas

Becky Matz

Investigating Change in Classroom Instruction of Scientific Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas


Our University is participating in a multiyear STEM education initiative designed to improve teaching and learning in introductory biology, chemistry, and physics courses. A major focus of the initiative is to engage disciplinary faculty in discussions about how we can incorporate scientific practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas (NRC 2012) into these classrooms. We call this construct three-dimensional learning and one of our goals is that the nature of classroom activities will change. We will measure this change over a three-year period with our newly developed Three-Dimensional Learning Observation Protocol (3D-LOP). The 3D-LOP characterizes both “what” students are taught and “how” they are taught. “What” students are taught refers to the content focus in the classroom, that is, scientific practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas of the discipline. “How” students are taught refers to the instructional strategies used by the instructor such as lecturing and clicker questions. Preliminary data are discussed that show high inter-rater reliability and strong content, construct, and face validity for the instrument. The 3D-LOP is the first observation protocol that assesses “what” is being taught in classrooms.