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ERIC Number: ED552720
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 162
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2679-8902-4
Long-Term Effects of Course-Embedded Undergraduate Research: The CASPiE Longitudinal Study
Szteinberg, Gabriela A.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Purdue University
The Center for Authentic Science Practice in Education (CASPiE) is a National Science Foundation funded initiative that seeks to introduce first- and second-year undergraduate students to research in their mainstream laboratory courses. To investigate the effects of this research-based curriculum, a longitudinal study was initiated at Purdue University (PU) and University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC), where CASPiE was implemented in a portion of laboratory sections of a general chemistry course (CHEM 116 at PU/CHEM 114 at UIC). The study examined the long-term effects of the CASPiE program on students' chemistry course performance, research involvement, and retention in STEM majors and future careers. The results of the academic records analyses showed that PU CASPiE students from the opt-in semesters, i.e. those when students chose to enroll in the CASPiE sections, were higher-achieving students from the beginning of their college years and performed significantly higher than the students in the traditional sections. There were no significant differences in chemistry course performance among PU students from the randomly assigned semester. However, looking from the first semester chemistry course to the upper 300 level chemistry courses, randomly assigned PU students from the traditional sections had a significant performance decrease. The CASPiE students had a performance decrease that was not significant. At UIC, there were no significant differences between CASPiE and traditional students' chemistry performance. Analyses of the academic records also revealed that there were no differences in STEM major retention between CASPiE and traditional students, from both PU and UIC. However, CASPiE students from UIC and the ones from the opt-in sections at PU graduated faster in average than traditional students. Students' responses to an online survey showed that there were no differences in students' choice of future plans in STEM or non-STEM fields (such as graduate or professional school, or type of job). Interviews with PU's CASPiE and traditional students revealed that CASPiE students thought their laboratory work was applicable and relevant to other research and their lives and they tended to remember their lab activities more than the traditional students. CASPiE students thought the lab work they did was rewarding and they felt a sense of accomplishment. CASPiE students from the randomly assigned semester thought the experience was rewarding in retrospect, which is an important finding because during that semester students were frustrated that they were not able to choose their participation in CASPiE. Traditional students thought their lab experience helped prepare them for future courses at PU, whereas CASPiE students thought they were better prepared for class and lab in general, they learned how to keep a research notebook and write scientific papers, and that overall they learned how to conduct research. Specifically, CASPiE students thought they were able to use creativity in their lab. Both students from CASPiE and traditional sections thought they learned how to work well in groups through their lab experiences. Based on the results, we can conclude that CASPiE was successful at providing first- and second-year students with research experiences in their second-semester general chemistry class, without negatively affecting their chemistry course performance, retention in STEM majors or future plans. PU CASPiE students from the opt-in years were higher-achieving students than the traditional counterparts therefore the significant differences in chemistry performance between these students are not surprising. The CASPiE curriculum did seem to have had an enhancing effect on the randomly assigned PU CASPiE students' chemistry performance over the years. Furthermore, CASPiE students from PU reported gains from doing research experiences that have previously been reported in the literature on undergraduate research experiences. The results from this study show that CASPiE could be a beneficial curriculum for STEM college educators who wish to have more students practice research during their college courses. (Abstract shortened by UMI.). [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois; Indiana