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ERIC Number: EJ1141404
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jun
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1931-7913
The Case for Biocalculus: Design, Retention, and Student Performance
Eaton, Carrie Diaz; Highlander, Hannah Callender
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v16 n2 Article 25 Jun 2017
Calculus is one of the primary avenues for initial quantitative training of students in all science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, but life science students have been found to underperform in the traditional calculus setting. As a result, and because of perceived lack of its contribution to the understanding of biology, calculus is being actively cut from biology program requirements at many institutions. Here, we present an alternative: a model for learning mathematics that sees the partner disciplines as crucial to student success. We equip faculty with information to engage in dialogue within and between disciplinary departments involved in quantitative education. This includes presenting a process for interdisciplinary development and implementation of biology-oriented Calculus I courses at two institutions with different constituents, goals, and curricular constraints. When life science students enrolled in these redesigned calculus courses are compared with life science students enrolled in traditional calculus courses, students in the redesigned calculus courses learn calculus concepts and skills as well as their traditional course peers; however, the students in the redesigned courses experience more authentic life science applications and are more likely to stay and succeed in the course than their peers who are enrolled in traditional courses. Therefore, these redesigned calculus courses hold promise in helping life science undergraduate students attain "Vision and Change" recommended competencies.
American Society for Cell Biology. 8120 Woodmont Avenue Suite 750, Bethesda, MD 20814-2762. Tel: 301-347-9300; Fax: 301-347-9310; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers; Administrators
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maine
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A