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  1. Bauerle, Cynthia (Ed.)
    Most science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) departments inadequately evaluate teaching, which means they are not equipped to recognize or reward effective teaching. As part of a project at one institution, we observed that departmental chairs needed help recognizing the decisions they would need to make to improve teaching evaluation practices. To meet this need, we developed the Guides to Advance Teaching Evaluation (GATEs), using an iterative development process. The GATEs are designed to be a planning tool that outlines concrete goals to guide reform in teaching evaluation practices in STEM departments at research-intensive institutions. The GATEs are grounded in the available scholarly literature and guided by existing reform efforts and have been vetted with STEM departmental chairs. The GATEs steer departments to draw on three voices to evaluate teaching: trained peers, students, and the instructor. This research-based resource includes three components for each voice: 1) a list of departmental target practices to serve as goals; 2) a characterization of common starting places to prompt reflection; and 3) ideas for getting started. We provide anecdotal examples of potential uses of the GATEs for reform efforts in STEM departments and as a research tool to document departmental practices at different time points. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
  3. Past studies on the differential effects of active learning based on students’ prior preparation and knowledge have been mixed. The purpose of the present study was to ask whether students with different levels of prior preparation responded differently to laboratory courses in which a guided-inquiry module was implemented. In the first study, we assessed student scientific reasoning skills, and in the second we assessed student experimental design skills. In each course in which the studies were conducted, student gains were analyzed by pretest quartiles, a measure of their prior preparation. Overall, student scientific reasoning skills and experimental design skills did not improve pretest to posttest. However, when divided into quartiles based on pretest score within each course, students in the lowest quartile experienced significant gains in both studies. Despite the significant gains observed among students in the lowest quartile, significant posttest differences between lowest and highest quartiles were observed in both scientific reasoning skills and experimental design skills. Nonetheless, these findings suggest that courses with guided-inquiry laboratory activities can foster the development of basic scientific reasoning and experimental design skills for students who are least prepared across a range of course levels and institution types. 
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