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Website for Information on Science Education and Research (WISER)


Website for Information on Science Education and Research

We are WISER about enhancing science and math education at DePauw.

This website has resources for faculty striving to continually enhance their classes and their students’ learning.  Here you will find links to information on student learning goals and outcomes, and resources for assessing your students’ abilities and demonstrating their development. You will also find research articles on evidence-based teaching strategies in science and math.

This site is also a centralized hub for students who are seeking to improve their performance and build their background in science and math.  Included is information on learning resources (e.g., ARC), outlets for scientific expression (e.g., research opportunities), and building communities in science (e.g., science clubs, WIS, Health Sciences, outreach, etc.).

“Scientific Literacy” Learning Goals

The faculty members in our science and math curricular area have achieved general consensus on a set of scientific literacy learning goals for our general education courses. These are based on Gormally et al.’s (2012) TOSLS (Test of Scientific Literacy Skills).  

There are two overarching goals that we are striving to incorporate in our courses and syllabi. Each of these overarching goals is made up of subgoals. We recognize that these may not represent all departments equally and are continuing to develop a third learning goal that would address computational thinking.

1. Understand methods of inquiry that lead to scientific knowledge

  • Identify a valid scientific argument (e.g., recognizing when scientific evidence supports a hypothesis)
  • Evaluate the validity of sources (e.g., websites, peer reviewed journals) and distinguish between types of sources
  • Evaluate the use and misuse of scientific information (e.g., recognize a valid scientific course of action, distinguish the appropriate use of science to make societal decisions)
  • Understand elements of research design and how they impact scientific findings/conclusions (e.g., identify strengths and weaknesses in research related to bias, sample size, randomization, experimental control)

2. Organize, analyze, and interpret quantitative data and scientific information

  • Decide on the appropriateness of a graph and be able to read and interpret graphical representations of data.
  • Solve problems using quantitative skills, including probability and statistics (e.g., calculate means, probabilities, percentages, frequencies)
  • Understand and interpret basic statistics (e.g., interpret error bars, understand the need for statistics)
  • Justify inferences, predictions, and conclusions based on quantitative data

NOTE: Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.