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ERIC Number: EJ1119853
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Nov
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0047-231X
Research and Teaching: Beyond Correctness--Using Qualitative Methods to Uncover Nuances of Student Learning in Undergraduate STEM Education
Dósa, Katalin; Russ, Rosemary
Journal of College Science Teaching, v46 n2 p70-81 Nov 2016
Learning in higher education today is measured overwhelmingly on the basis of "correctness," that is, whether students sufficiently approached the preset "expert" answer to a test question. We posit that although conceptual correctness is at the core of good learning, there is much information instructors miss out on by relying exclusively on feedback from evaluations focusing on correctness. Using an example of student definitions of what a carbon footprint is, we demonstrate that in addition to detecting change in the correct understanding of this concept from a time previous to instruction to the end of the semester, other information about what students learned is hiding in plain sight in the same definitions. We assert that tapping into these subtleties holds value to instructors in their quest to understand what students learned about a concept, and findings can serve as assets in revising curricula. Through this case study, we offer insight into the value of using qualitative methods in course assessment to science.
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