College Level One

Team Leader: Arthur B. Ellis

Project goal: Introductory college-level science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (SMET) courses act as curriculum "pressure points"—they shape student career trajectories and influence attitudes toward science.  The College Level One (CL-1) Team aims to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in these introductory SMET courses. Its research identifies and validates effective practices in these courses, and the team works with the Interacting with Professional Audiences Team to disseminate this information to key audiences.

CL-1 activities are based on an annual Institute that focuses on a single key issue affecting college SMET courses. The Institute brings together several NISE Fellows to identify an agenda that helps address critical aspects of the issue of interest and to develop materials of value to college SMET instructors and administrators. For example, the first CL-1 Institute studied the assessment of student learning in college SMET courses, with an emphasis on the classroom level. The selection of this topic reflected a great need in higher education: As new instructional methods and content are introduced into college SMET courses, tools for accurately measuring their effectiveness need to be identified and brought to the attention of those associated with these courses.

To meet this need, the CL-1 Institute developed the Field-Tested Learning Assessment Guide (FLAG) for Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology Faculty, a Web site offering a collection of methods by which to assess both student learning and student perceptions of their learning processes and other classroom experiences ( nise/cl1/flag). The 1999-2000 Institute theme involves the impact of technology on student learning.

Products: In addition to the FLAG Web site, recent work has concentrated on research involving small-group learning methods (also referred to as cooperative learning or collaborative learning) in college SMET courses. The college SMET Collaborative Learning Web site (  offers a central resource for SMET faculty and provides links to individuals who have used these methods in courses that span the spectrum of SMET disciplines and post-secondary institutions.

Fellows: Jean-Pierre Bayard, Stephen Ehrmann, John Jungck, Flora McMartin, Susan Millar (Lead Fellow), Marco Molinaro, and Michael Zeilik.

NISE Publications of the College Level One Team

NISE-Related Publications of the College Level One Team

National Institute for Science Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Last Updated:  May 05, 2003