Science Literacy at WSU: Teaching and Assessment (UCORE)

Last year, WSU piloted the use of the Science Literacy Concept Inventory (SLCI) to assess whether the curriculum as a whole is developing scientifically literate students. The SLCI is designed to gauge students’ grasp of science as a way of knowing and of the scientific processes required for personal decision-making, participation in civic affairs, economic productivity and global stewardship. SLCI measures students understanding and misconceptions of twelve science literacy concepts. The SLCI has been validated and used at universities across the nation; it takes a multi-disciplinary approach rather than focusing on content from one discipline.

WSU’s Spring 2014 pilot of SLCI included 1,470 students in 15 courses. Participating students included students from all undergraduate levels and both science majors and non-majors. Overall, the pilot was very successful. ATL set up and coordinated the inventory, analyzed the data for UCORE, and provided a class summary to each instructor involved. Faculty appreciated what they learned about their students’ grasp of citizen-level science literacy and where students held misconceptions about science literacy.

In Fall 2014, ATL coordinated a Science Literacy Interest Group (SLING). The purposes of SLING are to give faculty opportunity to share approaches to addressing science literacy in teaching and discuss how to apply and use SLCI results. The group will continue to meet in the Spring and welcomes interested faculty. Please contact ATL if you would like to join the group.

WSU will be using SLCI again in Spring 2015. SLCI will be offered in multiple courses on three WSU campuses: Pullman, Vancouver and Tri-Cities. Participating courses include those at the freshman and senior level in several disciplines, and will involve both science majors and non-majors. Faculty will receive results for their class and access to the overall results.

For additional information, contact ATL.