Skip to Main Content
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Science Education
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Reaching Students:
What Research Says about Effective Instruction in Undergraduate Science and Engineering
Reaching Students cover






The undergraduate years are a turning point in producing scientifically literate citizens and future scientists and engineers. Evidence from research about how students learn science and engineering shows that teaching strategies that motivate and engage students will improve their learning. So how do students best learn science and engineering? Which teaching strategies are most effective in developing their knowledge and skills? 

Based on the research synthesized in the 2012 NRC report Discipline-Based Education Research, Reaching Students strives to answer these questions and presents the best thinking to date on teaching and learning undergraduate science and engineering. Focusing on the disciplines of astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, geosciences, and physics, this book is an introduction to strategies to try in undergraduate classrooms. Concrete examples and case studies illustrate how experienced instructors and leaders have applied evidence-based approaches to address student needs, encouraged the use of effective techniques within a department or an institution, and addressed the challenges that arose along the way.

Sponsors: National Science Foundation, Sloan Foundation


Heidi Schweingruber discusses the report:

Related Report
DBER cover450 Discipline-based education research (DBER) is a collection of research fields that investigate how students learn, in particular scientific disciplines, and identify ways to improve instruction.

Discipline-Based Education Research: Understanding and Improving Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering
synthesizes findings from these disparate research literatures and analyzes the extent to which they have prompted widespread changes in teaching practice. The report provides guidance about future research, about ways to improve the quality and usefulness of DBER across all natural science disciplines, and about the implications of this research for instruction and assessment across undergraduate natural science courses.

June 8, 2015 Webinar

The webinar focused on putting this report to work to improve undergraduate instruction.  A panel of experts provide a summary of the book and discuss evidence-based teaching approaches.






BOSE Home About BOSE BOSE Mission BOSE Members BOSE Staff Our Sponsors Visiting our Buildings News and Events Upcoming Events Our Work Assessing the Science Activation Program Authentic STEM Learning for Computing/Technology Designing Citizen Science to Support Science Learning Developing Indicators for Undergraduate STEM Education Districts Implementing NGSS English Learners in STEM Subjects Roundtable on Systemic Change in Undergraduate STEM Education Science and Engineering in Grades 6-12: Investigations and Design STEM Education Day Workshop on Increasing Student Success in Developmental Mathematics Past Projects Commissioned Papers Publications BOSE Reports Audio and Video Work With Us Our Study Process Study Process Brochure Getting to Know the Committee Process Overview for Sponsors Guide for Study Sponsors
left imagetext captioncenter image