SCALE-UP (Student-Centred Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies) is an innovative active, collaborative learning approach which is used extensively across NTU. SCALE-UP is associated with reduced progression gaps, reduced attainment gaps, improvements in attendance, and improvements in engagement, particularly for our Success for All groups.
What is SCALE-UP?
SCALE-UP is an active, collaborative mode of learning which offers an alternative to didactic and discursive pedagogies like lectures and seminars. In SCALE-UP, lectures are replaced by problem-solving and enquiry-based activities carried out in strategically-assigned groups. To foster collaborative learning, the re-designed classroom environment incorporates circular tables and technologies to enable students to share their work in small groups and in ‘public thinking spaces’. These elements are supported by ‘upside-down pedagogies’ such as flipped learning, peer teaching, and rotating group roles. The shift away from lectures frees up class time for students to focus on difficult aspects of the material, to work at their own pace, and to receive on-the-spot feedback on their work from peers and the tutor.
The SCALE-UP approach was originally developed by Professor Robert Beichner to support the conceptual understanding and problem-solving ability of Physics students in large classes at North Carolina State University; it has since been adopted by institutions worldwide. NTU was the first institution in the UK to introduce SCALE-UP across a range of subjects; we have applied the approach in a wide range of contexts and have also found it to work effectively with smaller classes as well as large cohorts.
SCALE-UP at NTU
More than 200 NTU academics from a diverse range of subject areas are now involved in SCALE-UP teaching across the institution, with around half of all our undergraduate courses containing at least one SCALE-UP module. This teaching takes place in our 17 bespoke SCALE-UP rooms.
The use of SCALE-UP at NTU is associated with reduced progression gaps, reduced attainment gaps, improvements in attendance, and improvements in engagement. This has been demonstrated by an extensive evaluation project, ‘Addressing barriers to student success’, which was funded by the Office for Students and ran from March 2017 to February 2019. The project report is available on our Publications page.
We also have a SCALE-UP handbook primarily aimed at NTU staff but can be used by those looking to implement the pedagogy.
If you would like to talk to us about SCALE-UP, please get in touch via our SCALE-UP Enquiries line (0115 848 4420) or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.