National Academies: Board on Science Education

2200 members
Education staff lead: Michael Feder,

The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National provide expert advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world. Our work helps shape sound policies, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering, and medicine.

The improvement of undergraduate STEM education has long been a focus of the National Research Council's work. It is key to the Academies mission of advising the nation on critical issues in science, engineering, and medicine. The Academies is well know for its influential reports such as: Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Status, Contributions, and Future Directions of Discipline Based Education Research, and and a New Biology for the 21st Century.

The Academies brings experts together to guide our nations approach to undegraduate STEM education throug the authoring of concensus studies, expert workshop, and other convening. Our reports identify what we know, don't know, and want to about improving undergraduate STEM education. They provide guidance to major public and private funders, colleges and universities, education researchers, and other stakeholders.

Premier Contribution to Faculty Development

Status, Contributions, and Future Directions of Discipline Based Education Research

Discipline-Based Education Research: Understanding and Improving Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering, a new report from the National Research Council*, examines the emerging field of discipline-based education research (DBER) and how it could improve the teaching of undergraduate science and engineering.

DBER is a collection of related research fields that study how students learn the knowledge, concepts, and practices of a particular discipline. A DBER scholar in physics, for example, might investigate how students learn concepts such as force or acceleration and try to identify effective ways for instructors to teach these concepts. DBER has emerged in many scientific disciplines -- including physics, chemistry, biology, the geosciences, and astronomy -- as well as in engineering.

The new report examines the status and contributions of DBER in these fields, identifies directions for future research, and recommends greater use of DBER findings in undergraduate teaching practice.

*Supported by funding from the National Science Foundation

Additional Undergraduate Education Activities of BOSE

  • Under the auspices of the Board on Science Education (in collaboration with the National Academy of Engineering, the Teacher Advisory Council, the Board on Life Sciences, and the Board on Higher Education and Workforce), the Committee on Attracting and Retaining Students to Complete 2- and 4-year Undergraduate Degrees in STEM* will conduct a comprehensive study to understand the barriers facing two- and four-year undergraduates who intend to major in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and opportunities for overcoming these barriers.