As reported in the 2014 Science Literacy Concept Inventory Summary of Key Evidence for UCORE (PDF), pilot assessment results indicated that seniors scored higher than freshmen on all twelve science literacy concepts. This difference was true of both science majors and non-majors.
WSU piloted the use of the SLCI to assess whether the curriculum as a whole is developing scientifically literate students. The SLCI is designed to gauge students’ grasp of science as a way of knowing and of the scientific processes required for personal decision-making, participation in civic affairs, economic productivity and global stewardship. SLCI measures students understanding and misconceptions of twelve science literacy concepts (PDF). The SLCI has been validated and used at universities across the nation; it takes a multi-disciplinary approach rather than focusing on content from one discipline.
WSU’s Spring 2014 pilot of the SLCI included 1,470 students in 15 courses. Participating students included students from all undergraduate levels and both science and non-science majors. Overall, the pilot was very successful. ATL set up and coordinated the inventory, analyzed the data for UCORE, and provided a class summary to each instructor involved. Faculty appreciated what they learned about their students’ grasp of citizen-level science literacy and where students held misconceptions about science literacy.
WSU will be using the SLCI again in Spring 2015. The SLCI will be offered in multiple courses on three WSU campuses: Pullman, Vancouver, and Tri-Cities.