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ERIC Number: EJ1157229
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Sep
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1931-7913
Reflecting on Graphs: Attributes of Graph Choice and Construction Practices in Biology
Angra, Aakanksha; Gardner, Stephanie M.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v16 n3 Article 53 Sep 2017
Undergraduate biology education reform aims to engage students in scientific practices such as experimental design, experimentation, and data analysis and communication. Graphs are ubiquitous in the biological sciences, and creating effective graphical representations involves quantitative and disciplinary concepts and skills. Past studies document student difficulties with graphing within the contexts of classroom or national assessments without evaluating student reasoning. Operating under the metarepresentational competence framework, we conducted think-aloud interviews to reveal differences in reasoning and graph quality between undergraduate biology students, graduate students, and professors in a pen-and-paper graphing task. All professors planned and thought about data before graph construction. When reflecting on their graphs, professors and graduate students focused on the function of graphs and experimental design, while most undergraduate students relied on intuition and data provided in the task. Most undergraduate students meticulously plotted all data with scaled axes, while professors and some graduate students transformed the data, aligned the graph with the research question, and reflected on statistics and sample size. Differences in reasoning and approaches taken in graph choice and construction corroborate and extend previous findings and provide rich targets for undergraduate and graduate instruction.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: NSFRCNUBE1346567