Implementing Comprehensive Reform of Introductory Physics at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution: A Longitudinal Case Study Michael Rogers, Matt Price, Luke Keller, Andrew Crouse Accepted for publication on February 13, 2014 in Journal of College Science Teaching
Education research provides a range of curricular reform options that can lead to improved student course outcomes. These options can appear easy to implement with the hope of immediate increases in student learning. In 2006 the Ithaca College physics department went down this path by moving all of their 100-level courses out of lecture halls and into the newly constructed 99-seat SCALE-UP style classroom. Their initial results were far less than expected and of deep concern about the path they embarked upon. Over the course of seven years they continually adjusted their curriculum; eventually finding success with a modified implementation of Tutorials in Introductory Physics. This study learned that results don't come immediately--in fact things got worse for a bit--and persistence has lead to the improved student course outcomes expected. Patience is essential while implementing a comprehensive reform.