ERIC Number: EJ1136119
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
What's in a Prerequisite? A Mixed-Methods Approach to Identifying the Impact of a Prerequisite Course
Sato, Brian K.; Lee, Amanda K.; Alam, Usman; Dang, Jennifer V.; Dacanay, Samantha J.; Morgado, Pedro; Pirino, Giorgia; Brunner, Jo Ellen; Castillo, Leanne A.; Chan, Valerie W.; Sandholtz, Judith H.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v16 n1 Article 16 Mar 2017
Despite the ubiquity of prerequisites in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curricula, there has been minimal effort to assess their value in a data-driven manner. Using both quantitative and qualitative data, we examined the impact of prerequisites in the context of a microbiology lecture and lab course pairing. Through interviews and an online survey, students highlighted a number of positive attributes of prerequisites, including their role in knowledge acquisition, along with negative impacts, such as perhaps needlessly increasing time to degree and adding to the cost of education. We also identified a number of reasons why individuals do or do not enroll in prerequisite courses, many of which were not related to student learning. In our particular curriculum, students did not believe the microbiology lecture course impacted success in the lab, which agrees with our analysis of lab course performance using a previously established "familiarity" scale. These conclusions highlight the importance of soliciting and analyzing student feedback, and triangulating these data with quantitative performance metrics to assess the state of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curricula.
Descriptors: Mixed Methods Research, Prerequisites, Required Courses, Microbiology, STEM Education, Science Instruction, Undergraduate Study, Online Surveys, Student Attitudes, Comparative Analysis, Multiple Regression Analysis, Interviews, Qualitative Research, Statistical Analysis, Lecture Method, Science Laboratories, College Science, Undergraduate Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A