ERIC Number: EJ1178097
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Infusion of Quantitative and Statistical Concepts into Biology Courses Does Not Improve Quantitative Literacy
Beck, Christopher W.
Journal of College Science Teaching, v47 n5 p62-71 May 2018
Multiple national reports have pushed for the integration of quantitative concepts into the context of disciplinary science courses. The aim of this study was to evaluate the quantitative and statistical literacy of biology students and explore learning gains when those skills were taught implicitly in the context of biology. I examined gains in statistical literacy in an upper level ecology lecture course and quantitative literacy related to biology in a second-year organismal biology course. Students were exposed to statistical and quantitative concepts through active learning exercises related to interpretation of data and basic experimental design. Students in the ecology course also read articles from the primary literature. Changes in statistical or quantitative literacy were evaluated using multiple-choice assessments in a pretest/posttest design. Overall, students in the ecology course did not show a significant increase in their understanding of concepts related to inferential statistics. However, students in the organismal biology course showed a statistically significant increase in quantitative skills. Yet, the effect size was small (0.225) and gains differed depending on semester. Overall, the results of my study suggest that implicit teaching of statistical and quantitative concepts is not sufficient to result in substantial changes in quantitative literacy.
Descriptors: Biology, Statistical Analysis, Mathematical Concepts, Curriculum Enrichment, Ecology, Active Learning, Achievement Gains, Skill Development, Lecture Method, Teaching Methods, Pretests Posttests, Multiple Choice Tests, College Students, Instructional Effectiveness
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Georgia
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE1068238