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Couch, Brian A.; Wright, Christian D.; Freeman, Scott; Knight, Jennifer K.; Semsar, Katharine; Smith, Michelle K.; Summers, Mindi M.; Zheng, Yi; Crowe, Alison J.; Brownell, Sara E. – CBE - Life Sciences Education, 2019
The "Vision and Change" report provides a nationally agreed upon framework of core concepts that undergraduate biology students should master by graduation. While identifying these concepts was an important first step, departments also need ways to measure the extent to which students understand these concepts. Here, we present the…
Descriptors: Undergraduate Students, College Science, Majors (Students), Biology
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Scott, Emily E.; Anderson, Charles W.; Mashood, K. K.; Matz, Rebecca L.; Underwood, Sonia M.; Sawtelle, Vashti – CBE - Life Sciences Education, 2018
Real-world processes are complex and require ideas from multiple disciplines to be explained. However, many science courses offer limited opportunities for students to synthesize scientific ideas into coherent explanations. In this study, we investigated how students constructed causal explanations of complex phenomena to better understand the…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Logical Thinking, Scientific Concepts, Undergraduate Students
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Rodrigo-Peiris, Thushani; Xiang, Lin; Cassone, Vincent M. – CBE - Life Sciences Education, 2018
Based on positive student outcomes, providing research experiences from early undergraduate years is recommended for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors. To this end, we designed a novel research experience called the "STEMCats Research Experience" (SRE) for a cohort of 119 second-semester freshmen with…
Descriptors: College Science, College Freshmen, Blended Learning, Student Research
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Nelson, Kari L.; Rauter, Claudia M.; Cutucache, Christine E. – CBE - Life Sciences Education, 2018
The development of critical thinking skills in recent college graduates is keenly requested by employers year after year. Moreover, improving these skills can help students to better question and analyze data. Consequently, we aimed to implement a training program that would add to the critical thinking skills of undergraduate students: Nebraska…
Descriptors: Biological Sciences, Undergraduate Students, Mentors, Critical Thinking
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Aikens, Melissa L.; Robertson, Melissa M.; Sadselia, Sona; Watkins, Keiana; Evans, Mara; Runyon, Christopher R.; Eby, Lillian T.; Dolan, Erin L. – CBE - Life Sciences Education, 2017
Participating in undergraduate research with mentorship from faculty may be particularly important for ensuring the persistence of women and minority students in science. Yet many life science undergraduates at research universities are mentored by graduate or postdoctoral researchers (i.e., postgraduates). We surveyed a national sample of…
Descriptors: Racial Differences, Gender Differences, Undergraduate Students, Student Research
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Fiedler, Daniela; Tröbst, Steffen; Harms, Ute – CBE - Life Sciences Education, 2017
Students of all ages face severe conceptual difficulties regarding key aspects of evolution-- the central, unifying, and overarching theme in biology. Aspects strongly related to abstract "threshold" concepts like randomness and probability appear to pose particular difficulties. A further problem is the lack of an appropriate instrument…
Descriptors: College Students, Concept Formation, Probability, Evolution
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McFarland, Jenny L.; Price, Rebecca M.; Wenderoth, Mary Pat; Martinková, Patrícia; Cliff, William; Michael, Joel; Modell, Harold; Wright, Ann – CBE - Life Sciences Education, 2017
We present the Homeostasis Concept Inventory (HCI), a 20-item multiple-choice instrument that assesses how well undergraduates understand this critical physiological concept. We used an iterative process to develop a set of questions based on elements in the Homeostasis Concept Framework. This process involved faculty experts and undergraduate…
Descriptors: Scientific Concepts, Multiple Choice Tests, Science Tests, Test Construction
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Andrews, Sarah E.; Runyon, Christopher; Aikens, Melissa L. – CBE - Life Sciences Education, 2017
In response to calls to improve the quantitative training of undergraduate biology students, there have been increased efforts to better integrate math into biology curricula. One challenge of such efforts is negative student attitudes toward math, which are thought to be particularly prevalent among biology students. According to theory,…
Descriptors: Mathematics, Biology, Test Construction, Values
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Katz, Laura A.; Aloisio, Kathryn M.; Horton, Nicholas J.; Ly, Minh; Pruss, Sara; Queeney, Kate; Rowen, Cate; DiBartolo, Patricia Marten – CBE - Life Sciences Education, 2017
Created to foster inclusive excellence, Smith College's Achieving Excellence in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science (AEMES) Scholars program provides early faculty-mentored research opportunities and other programming as a way to foster success in academic outcomes for underrepresented women in science. Using academic record data, we compared…
Descriptors: Inclusion, Disproportionate Representation, Science Interests, Females
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Bissonnette, Sarah A.; Combs, Elijah D.; Nagami, Paul H.; Byers, Victor; Fernandez, Juliana; Le, Dinh; Realin, Jared; Woodham, Selina; Smith, Julia I.; Tanner, Kimberly D. – CBE - Life Sciences Education, 2017
While there have been concerted efforts to reform undergraduate biology toward teaching students to organize their conceptual knowledge like experts, there are few tools that attempt to measure this. We previously developed the Biology Card Sorting Task (BCST), designed to probe how individuals organize their conceptual biological knowledge.…
Descriptors: Biology, College Science, Concept Formation, Expertise
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Wachsmuth, Lucas P.; Runyon, Christopher R.; Drake, John M.; Dolan, Erin L. – CBE - Life Sciences Education, 2017
Undergraduate life science majors are reputed to have negative emotions toward mathematics, yet little empirical evidence supports this. We sought to compare emotions of majors in the life sciences versus other natural sciences and math. We adapted the Attitudes toward the Subject of Chemistry Inventory to create an Attitudes toward the Subject of…
Descriptors: Biology, Science Instruction, Mathematics Anxiety, Student Attitudes
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Cotner, Sehoya; Thompson, Seth; Wright, Robin – CBE - Life Sciences Education, 2017
Recent calls to action urge sweeping reform in science education, advocating for improved learning for "all" students--including those majoring in fields beyond the sciences. However, little work has been done to characterize the differences--if any exist--between students planning a career in science and those studying other…
Descriptors: Biology, STEM Education, Majors (Students), Nonmajors
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Potter, Lisa M.; Bissonnette, Sarah A.; Knight, Jonathan D.; Tanner, Kimberly D. – CBE - Life Sciences Education, 2017
The aspiration of biology education is to give students tools to apply knowledge learned in the classroom to everyday life. Genetic modification is a real-world biological concept that relies on an in-depth understanding of the molecular behavior of DNA and proteins. This study investigated undergraduate biology students' conceptions of…
Descriptors: Biology, Science Education, Scientific Concepts, Genetics
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Auerbach, Anna Jo; Schussler, Elisabeth – CBE - Life Sciences Education, 2017
Increasing faculty use of active-learning (AL) pedagogies in college classrooms is a persistent challenge in biology education. A large research-intensive university implemented changes to its biology majors' two-course introductory sequence as outlined by the "Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education" final report. One goal…
Descriptors: Undergraduate Students, Introductory Courses, Biology, Science Instruction
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Bierema, Andrea M.-K.; Schwarz, Christina V.; Stoltzfus, Jon R. – CBE - Life Sciences Education, 2017
National calls for improving science education (e.g., "Vision and Change") emphasize the need to learn disciplinary core ideas through scientific practices. To address this need, we engaged small groups of students in developing diagrammatic models within two (one large-enrollment and one medium-enrollment) undergraduate introductory…
Descriptors: Undergraduate Students, Biology, Science Education, Introductory Courses
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