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Does SCALE-UP Work?

Rigorous evaluations of learning have been conducted in parallel with the curriculum development and classroom design efforts. Besides hundreds of hours of classroom video and audio recordings, different schools have conducted numerous interviews and focus groups, conducted many conceptual learning assessments (using nationally-recognized instruments in a pretest/posttest protocol), and collected portfolios of student work. North Carolina State University has data comparing nearly 16,000 traditional and SCALE-UP students taking physics. Their findings can be summarized as follows:

  • students' ability to solve problems is improved
  • their conceptual understanding is increased
  • their attitudes are better
  • failure rates (especially for women and minorities) are drastically reduced
  • "at risk" students do better in later courses.

These results and the research behind them are described in many peer-reviewed articles. For more beyond those listed below, visit the SCALE-UP website .

R. Beichner, The SCALE-UP Project: A Student-Centered Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs an invited white paper for the National Academy of Sciences, September 2008.

R. Beichner, J. Saul, D. Abbott, J. Morse, D. Deardorff, R. Allain, S. Bonham, M. Dancy, and J. Risley, Student-Centered Activities for Large Enrollment Undergraduate Programs (SCALE-UP) project, in Research-Based Reform of University Physics, edited by E F Redish and P. J. Cooney (American Association of Physics Teachers, College Park, MD, 2007.

M. Oliver-Hoyo, D. Allen, W. Hunt, J. Hutson, and A. Pitts, Effects of an active learning environment: Teaching innovations at a Research 1 institution, Journal of Chemical Education, 81(3), 2004.

Y. Dori and J. Belcher, How does technology-enabled active learning affect undergraduate students' understanding of electromagnetism concepts, Journal of the Learning Sciences, 14(2), 2004.

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