Student diversity requires different approaches to college teaching, even in math and science

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It now appears that all traditionally taught college courses are markedly (though unintentionally) biased against many non-traditional students, and, indeed, against most students who have not attended elite preparatory schools. Thus, when we teach merely in traditional ways we probably discriminate strongly on grounds quite different from those we intend (assuming that we intend only effort and merit). Easily accessible changes in how we teach have been shown repeatedly to foster dramatic changes in student performance with no change in standards--in some cases, no students now earn failing grades. Similarly dramatic improvements have been shown in the uniformity of outcomes. For example, the gap between Black performance and the performance of other groups can be entirely eliminated, even in "hard" courses such as calculus.

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  • Craig E. Nelson

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