Create equitable measures for success in STEM education


Principles of Organic Chemistry and other aptly named “weed-out” courses can raise the blood pressure of first- and second-year STEM students to new highs.

These are courses college students must pass to become candidates for a degree in a STEM major. They are often taught through giant lectures, with limited faculty-student engagement. Many students fail the courses or become so frightened by them that they drop the class — and thus the major.

In a recent high-profile case, NYU terminated a prolific researcher from an adjunct position after a student petition and a battle over learning standards; the crux of students’ anger and fear was that failure in his course effectively barred them from their academic and professional hopes.



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