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ERIC Number: EJ1046183
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Nov
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0047-231X
Research and Teaching: Undergraduate Science Learners Show Comparable Outcomes Whether Taught by Undergraduate or Graduate Teaching Assistants
Chapin, Hannah C.; Wiggins, Benjamin L.; Martin-Morris, Linda E.
Journal of College Science Teaching, v44 n2 p90-99 Nov 2014
Peer educators can be a powerful addition to classroom learning environments. Traditionally, the university science teaching model relies on graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) to provide instruction in laboratory class sessions, but there is increasing evidence that undergraduate TAs (UTAs) can fill an equivalent role. A comparison of student performance in a series of two introductory biology classes and one third-year class shows that students with GTA and UTA leaders earn comparable final course grades. Additionally, both UTAs and GTAs are considered effective at encouraging a positive attitude toward science and fostering a positive laboratory environment, though the UTAs receive slightly higher scores on two of the assessments of attitude toward science. These results demonstrate that equally well-trained UTAs and GTAs have equivalently positive impacts on laboratory learners. Without diminishing the value of teaching by and for the GTA, this data demonstrates the comparable value of UTA laboratory educators.
National Science Teachers Association. 1840 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201-3000. Tel: 800-722-6782; Fax: 703-243-3924; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A