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ERIC Number: EJ1179307
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Jun
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1931-7913
Further Effects of Phylogenetic Tree Style on Student Comprehension in an Introductory Biology Course
Dees, Jonathan; Bussard, Caitlin; Momsen, Jennifer L.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v17 n2 Article 17 Jun 2018
Phylogenetic trees have become increasingly important across the life sciences, and as a result, learning to interpret and reason from these diagrams is now an essential component of biology education. Unfortunately, students often struggle to understand phylogenetic trees. Style (i.e., diagonal or bracket) is one factor that has been observed to impact how students interpret phylogenetic trees, and one goal of this research was to investigate these style effects across an introductory biology course. In addition, we investigated the impact of instruction that integrated diagonal and bracket phylogenetic trees equally. Before instruction, students were significantly more accurate with the bracket style for a variety of interpretation and construction tasks. After instruction, however, students were significantly more accurate only for construction tasks and interpretations involving taxa relatedness when using the bracket style. Thus, instruction that used both styles equally mitigated some, but not all, style effects. These results inform the development of research-based instruction that best supports student understanding of phylogenetic trees.
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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: DRL1420321