Chemistry Education Research at a Crossroads: Where Do We Need to Go Now?

Ryan D. Sweeder, Deborah G. Herrington, Olivia M. Crandell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


At the Biennial Conference of Chemical Education in August 2022, a symposium was held entitled Chemistry Education Research at a Crossroads: Where Do We Need to Go Now? The impetus for this symposium was to reflect on how our field has changed and grown substantially in the last 60 years and to challenge the chemistry education research (CER) community to think about how we could most productively continue to progress. As Cooper and Stowe highlight in their 2018 review of the development of research in chemistry education, the field has moved from personal empiricism, where ideas about teaching and learning of chemistry were guided by practitioner wisdom, to a field grounded in theories of learning that seeks evidence to improve teaching and learning. More recently, the COVID pandemic has forced a global rethinking of chemistry education, providing opportunities for systemic change in how CER is conducted, disseminated, and put into practice rather than returning to prepandemic status quo. To catalyze discussion about how to best capitalize on these opportunities, symposium speakers and attendees shared many ideas, challenges, and questions regarding the role that the CER community can or should play moving forward. This commentary aims to both document the ideas generated in the symposium by the presenters and the participants for the broader community and lay out one potential future direction and set of goals for CER as a means to inspire thoughtful conversation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1710-1715
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 9 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Further, to achieve widespread change, we need to focus on propagation over dissemination. This means members of the CER community collaborating with high school teachers and colleagues at their own institutions and beyond to ensure that instructors have the foundational understanding of how students learn required to implement various teaching techniques with fidelity and the support to effectively adapt content and pedagogy to their unique teaching situations. This also requires advocating for funding agencies to prioritize propagation efforts and greater recognition in the promotion structures for work supporting propagation. So, as we consider our current crossroads and look to the future, we must ask ourselves and our fellow travelers, “where do we want to go from here?”

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc.


  • Assessment
  • Chemistry Education
  • Conferences
  • Curriculum
  • Graduate Education/Research
  • High School/Introductory Chemistry
  • Professional Development


Dive into the research topics of 'Chemistry Education Research at a Crossroads: Where Do We Need to Go Now?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this