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Title: Contributions to reduce academic failure in STEM bachelor courses
Author: Lopes, José Carlos
Correia, Maria do Rosário
Dias, João Miguel
Descalço, Luís
Keywords: Pedagogical quality and innovation
Active learning
Attitudes and skills
Criteria-based assessment
Higher education research
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Instituto de Creatividad e Innovaciones Educativas de la Universitat de València
Abstract: According to Portuguese official data, less than half of the students enrolled in a bachelor program manage to complete it after four years. In the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) courses at the University of Aveiro, a probable major factor in this situation is the worryingly high failure rates in the first couple of years of the curricula, namely in the Physics modules. In order to contribute to increasing the success rates in those modules, we have carried out a case study of a 1st year/1st semester module (Elements of Physics), which has about 600 students from STEM courses and an average failure rate of around 30%. The module teachers and course directors involved were inquired on how to reduce failure and on their receptivity to some proposals for curricular reforms and pedagogical innovation. As a result of this case study, we present here a set of four interconnected pedagogical strategies that aim to foster the improvement in learning by students with more difficulties as well as by the best students. The Physics Department has recently created an office (GQIP) dedicated to pedagogical quality and innovation, whose mission is to promote that set of measures and evaluate its efficacy, in addition to doing research in higher education in Physics. We also mention a research project that GQIP will carry out next academic year to study the effectiveness of a model of active learning in large classes, using both quantitative and qualitative methods.
Peer review: yes
ISBN: 978-84-09-27401-7
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