Title: Assessing the long-term impacts of three-dimensional learning using a student matching tool
MSU faculty are engaged in three projects that share a common objective of transforming gateway biology, chemistry, and physics courses so that they focus on three-dimensional (3D) learning, a construct defined by the NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education. The three dimensions are scientific practices (what students should do with their knowledge), crosscutting concepts (themes across science disciplines), and core ideas (the explanatory and generative ideas that students really need to know). Each of the three projects focuses on bringing 3D learning into the gateway curriculum in a different way; we are studying the summative impact of a gateway curriculum that focuses on scientific practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. Here, we focus on assessing the impact of 3D learning on student persistence in STEM through the use of a student matching tool. Although regression analyses are typically used, the method of exactly matching students according to their recorded characteristics is a more robust method for accounting for self-selection bias in quasi-experimental studies. This tool handles the features and idiosyncrasies of MSU student data across multiple institutional databases. Preliminary data from introductory biology courses will be discussed.