Evaluating the impact of malleable factors on percent time lecturing in gateway chemistry, mathematics, and physics courses

Brandon J. Yik, Jeffrey R. Raker, Naneh Apkarian, Marilyne Stains, Charles Henderson, Melissa H. Dancy, Estrella Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Active learning used in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses has been shown to improve student outcomes. Nevertheless, traditional lecture-orientated approaches endure in these courses. The implementation of teaching practices is a result of many interrelated factors including disciplinary norms, classroom context, and beliefs about learning. Although factors influencing uptake of active learning are known, no study to date has had the statistical power to empirically test the relative association of these factors with active learning when considered collectively. Prior studies have been limited to a single or small number of evaluated factors; in addition, such studies did not capture the nested nature of institutional contexts. We present the results of a multi-institution, large-scale (N = 2382 instructors; N = 1405 departments; N = 749 institutions) survey-based study in the United States to evaluate 17 malleable factors (i.e., influenceable and changeable) that are associated with the amount of time an instructor spends lecturing, a proxy for implementation of active learning strategies, in introductory postsecondary chemistry, mathematics, and physics courses. Results: Regression analyses, using multilevel modeling to account for the nested nature of the data, indicate several evaluated contextual factors, personal factors, and teacher thinking factors were significantly associated with percent of class time lecturing when controlling for other factors used in this study. Quantitative results corroborate prior research in indicating that large class sizes are associated with increased percent time lecturing. Other contextual factors (e.g., classroom setup for small group work) and personal contexts (e.g., participation in scholarship of teaching and learning activities) are associated with a decrease in percent time lecturing. Conclusions: Given the malleable nature of the factors, we offer tangible implications for instructors and administrators to influence the adoption of more active learning strategies in introductory STEM courses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15
JournalInternational Journal of STEM Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Beliefs about teaching
  • Chemistry
  • Contextual factors
  • Evidence-based instructional practices
  • Institutional change
  • Mathematics
  • Personal factors
  • Physics
  • Teaching practices
  • Undergraduate education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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