Undergraduate science education has received a considerable level of national attention over the past several decades. Numerous reports have been issued by professional societies and government organizations calling for increased use of teaching methods that incorporate learning principles from the cognitive sciences and engage students in authentic scientific practices. My research group focuses on understanding the use and outcomes of such teaching methods. We are currently investigating how transformed teaching practices are implemented by faculty at both local and national levels. We are also engaged in the development of innovative assessment tools to measure student comprehension of biological concepts. These two approaches are ultimately geared towards determining how national calls are being translated into local changes in instructional pratices and whether these changes are having positive effects on student outcomes.