ERIC Number: EJ1145386
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Aug
Abstractor: As Provided
Post-Secondary Science Students' Explanations of "Randomness" and "Variation" and Implications for Science Learning
Gougis, Rebekka Darner; Stomberg, Janet F.; O'Hare, Alicia T.; O'Reilly, Catherine M.; Bader, Nicholas E.; Meixner, Thomas; Carey, Cayelan C.
International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, v15 n6 p1039-1056 Aug 2017
The concepts of randomness and variation are pervasive in science. The purpose of this study was to document how post-secondary life science students explain randomness and variation, infer relationships between their explanations, and ability to describe and identify appropriate and inappropriate variation, and determine if students can identify sources of variation. An instrument designed to test statistical concepts was administered to 282 college students from three universities, ranging from introductory non-science majors to science graduate students. Students readily distinguished between causes of variation. A naïve "no-pattern concept of randomness" persisted from first-year non-science majors to senior-level science majors, contributing to incorrect responses on the variation instrument. Students' expressions of randomness were better predictors of performance on the variation instrument than their expressions of variation. It is argued that inclusion of everyday language uses of randomness in instruction can bridge the gap between vernacular and scientific uses of this term.
Descriptors: Science Education, Scientific Concepts, Scientific Literacy, Postsecondary Education, Biological Sciences, Nonmajors, Majors (Students), Predictor Variables, Performance Based Assessment, Concept Teaching, Use Studies, Semantics, Misconceptions
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.springerlink.com
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A