ECR Projects

Explore past and current fundamental STEM education research projects across the three research areas that NSF's EDU Core Research (ECR) program funds, as well as across ECR funding types. Other search filters draw from both NSF's data and the ECR Hub's hand coding of award abstracts.

Ninth-grade biology students create cell models using clay.

Home > ECR Projects Search > Project Detail
STEM Learning and Learning Environments STEM Learning and Learning Environments  

Facilitating Change in Undergraduate STEM: A multidisciplinary, multimethod metasynthesis mapping a decade of growth

Effective Years: 2022-2025

Research has shown that the use of evidence-based, student-centered instructional strategies helps to increase learning, retention, and equity in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses. However, it is also clear that commonly used change efforts have not made research-based instruction the norm in U.S. institutions of higher education. Outcomes from this synthetic research will be used to guide efforts to improve undergraduate STEM instruction to generate and support important instructional change within university and college departments and across institutions.

This synthetic research reviews the effects of instructional interventions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses at the undergraduate level between the years 2010 and 2021. The review also includes all of social science undergraduate instruction. The specific focus is on efforts to better support student learning of STEM content through instructional change. The review will use a meta-synthesis to identify themes and advances in the literature using a framework synthesis approach. The literature search process is informed by current research on search strategies and represents best practice in synthesis methods. The project uses AI-assisted approaches to identify general themes in the literature. While this is an emerging area of research in systematic review, the plan also builds in a test of the AI-assisted coding against human qualitative coding.

This research project is supported by NSF's EHR Core Research (ECR) program. The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that generates foundational knowledge in the field. Investments are made in critical areas that are essential, broad, and enduring: STEM learning and STEM learning environments, broadening participation in STEM, and STEM workforce development. The program supports the accumulation of robust evidence to inform efforts to understand, build theory to explain, and suggest intervention and innovations to address persistent challenges in STEM interest, education, learning and participation.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.