NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED527761
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 309
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1245-7708-1
Accelerated Integrated Science Sequence: Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Science for the 21st Century
Ulsh, Lisa S.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Claremont Graduate University
Numerous reports cite the need to improve the quality of undergraduate STEM education in order to attract and train a diverse pool of talented students prepared to meet the scientific and technological challenges of the 21st century. A growing body of research reveals that the nature and quality of science instruction in introductory college courses strongly contribute to whether capable students, including women and underrepresented minorities, persist in or leave the science major. The Joint Science Department of the Claremont Colleges has developed a new introductory course sequence for science majors that integrates the principles and concepts of biology, chemistry, and physics in both lecture and lab, confers early eligibility for research opportunities, and accelerates student progress in the major. Unique among interdisciplinary courses across the nation, the Accelerated Integrated Science Sequence (AISS) is taught by three senior professors. The purpose of this longitudinal study was to characterize the effectiveness of AISS in retaining capable students in science majors. Empirical data from student records and researcher-generated surveys of the first four cohorts of AISS students and a comparison group of science majors (Total N = 140) were analyzed using descriptive and multivariate statistical methods. The focus was on the first cohort, where longitudinal effects could be traced most effectively. College student development theories by Astin and Tinto provided the theoretical framework against which to assess impact. Results indicated more STEM course taking, higher STEM achievement, greater participation in research, and more double STEM majors for AISS students compared to other science majors. Strongest predictors of achievement in AISS were the SAT-Critical Reading score and a high mathematical self-concept. AISS professors engendered a supportive learning community and reported a shift in their teaching away from lecture-style presentation. Significantly, more than eighty percent of AISS students were women; therefore, AISS served as a mechanism to attract capable students of both genders to science majors. AISS is a national role model of how a liberal arts college can revitalize its introductory science curriculum. It offers exportable elements for curriculum innovation and practice to other institutions anxious to present an interdisciplinary pathway into the science major. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California