The Research on the Integrated Science Curriculum (RISC) surveys (there are 3) are part of a research program initiated by the Interdisciplinary Learning Consortium, whose founding members represent Carleton College, Grinnell College, Hope College, St. Olaf College, and Whitman College. The Interdisciplinary Learning Consortium is funded by grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The methodology follows the successful methodology of Prof. Lopatto's current survey project, Classroom Undergraduate Research Experiences (CURE). As with the CURE methodology, there are three surveys. The first is a course components rubric completed by a course instructor. This survey allows the instructor to describe which of a series of 48 possible course activities and goals he or she intends to emphasize. The second survey is a pre-course survey completed by students early in the term. This survey asks students to report their previous experience with the same list of activities as appear on the faculty survey. The survey also asks for information regarding learning style and attitude toward science. Finally, the third survey is a post-course survey completed by students at the end of the term. This final survey asks students to evaluate their learning gains on the same list of activities that they have seen previously. Prof. Lopatto and his research associate Ms. Leslie Jaworski will analyze the data for aggregate results. Common statistical procedures such as descriptives (means, standard deviations), correlations, and inferential tests will be performed. Data from individual students will not be reported. Participation in the survey project is voluntary. Students are not required to take the surveys. Students may change their minds after starting the survey and leave the survey site without submitting the survey. Students may elect to not answer individual items on the survey.
Who is this survey project for?
It is one part of a mixed methodology for the study of disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and integrated science courses. This part of the project gives us a self-report from students and faculty. The other part of the methodology is performance based - it involves qualitative inquiry by a cohort of nine faculty at Consortium colleges into interdisciplinary and integrative learning in science courses through analysis of their students' coursework. For more information about the faculty inquiry approach, please contact Prof. Trish Ferrett of Carleton College. You do not have to participate in the other part of this research in order to use these surveys. As with the CURE surveys, faculty need only indicate their interest (usually via an email to Prof. Lopatto at lopatto[at]grinnell[dot]edu), then fill out the faculty survey, and then act as local liaisons to request their students to participate and to give them directions to the URL. There is no cost for this research participation. The RISC surveys as part of the larger project have been exempted from IRB review at Grinnell College and other member colleges.
In accordance with the US Department of Health & Human Services and the Grinnell Institutional Review Board, permission is required by parents or guardians and assent by participants under the age of 18 years. It is the responsibility of the institution providing the research experience or the institution requesting participation in these assessment tools to follow the requirements established by the US Department of Health & Human Services. http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.html#46.402
How do you choose between CURE and RISC?
Faculty are invited to access the faculty forms in both surveys (there is no password) and note the different categories of items they can evaluate (CURE is available on another webpage under Prof. Lopatto's name). CURE is focused on the use of "research-like" experiences in the course. RISC overlaps with CURE but includes additional items of interest to faculty who are exploring integrated or interdisciplinary courses.