Proposal Title

Profile of common misconceptions and retention of genetics concepts in undergraduate biology students

Session Type

Presentation

Room

PAB 34

Start Date

9-7-2013 4:45 PM

Keywords

genetics, meiosis, misconceptions, retention, concept inventory

Primary Threads

Evaluation of Learning

Abstract

Students often enter a course with a lack of knowledge in a particular area and potentially with misconceptions about the concepts necessary to develop a fundamental understanding of the discipline. A lack of knowledge can be remediated by engaging in learning the course material, but misconceptions can inhibit learning if they are not corrected. In the biology program at the University of British Columbia we have used questions from validated genetics concept assessment tools (1,2) to measure conceptual understanding of students at all levels of the biology program. Our results show that first and second year students hold very similar misconceptions, suggesting that the correction of some of these misconceptions during first year biology is somewhat temporary. Additionally, we report post-course retention of conceptual knowledge in genetics after students complete a second year genetics course in relation to common initial misconceptions. The information collected in this study suggests that students enter first year biology with several, significant misconceptions and that in most cases, at least the equivalent of two semesters of genetics are necessary to replace these misconceptions with correct conceptual understanding. We will discuss our data as well as strategies used to dislodge some misconceptions, and how we are using this information to inform curriculum decisions. Participants will be invited to engage in a discussion on their experiences with misconceptions that are difficult to dislodge in their own fields, as well as approaches used to correct the situation.

1 Smith, M., Knight, J, and Wood, W. 2008. The Genetics Concept Assessment: A New Concept Inventory for Gauging Student Understanding of Genetics. CBE-Life Sciences Education 7(4): 422-430.

2 Kalas, P., O’Neill, A., Pollock, C., and Birol, G. 2012. Development and Application of a Meiosis Concept Inventory. Submitted for review to Cell Biology Education, Oct 2012.

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Jul 9th, 4:45 PM

Profile of common misconceptions and retention of genetics concepts in undergraduate biology students

PAB 34

Students often enter a course with a lack of knowledge in a particular area and potentially with misconceptions about the concepts necessary to develop a fundamental understanding of the discipline. A lack of knowledge can be remediated by engaging in learning the course material, but misconceptions can inhibit learning if they are not corrected. In the biology program at the University of British Columbia we have used questions from validated genetics concept assessment tools (1,2) to measure conceptual understanding of students at all levels of the biology program. Our results show that first and second year students hold very similar misconceptions, suggesting that the correction of some of these misconceptions during first year biology is somewhat temporary. Additionally, we report post-course retention of conceptual knowledge in genetics after students complete a second year genetics course in relation to common initial misconceptions. The information collected in this study suggests that students enter first year biology with several, significant misconceptions and that in most cases, at least the equivalent of two semesters of genetics are necessary to replace these misconceptions with correct conceptual understanding. We will discuss our data as well as strategies used to dislodge some misconceptions, and how we are using this information to inform curriculum decisions. Participants will be invited to engage in a discussion on their experiences with misconceptions that are difficult to dislodge in their own fields, as well as approaches used to correct the situation.

1 Smith, M., Knight, J, and Wood, W. 2008. The Genetics Concept Assessment: A New Concept Inventory for Gauging Student Understanding of Genetics. CBE-Life Sciences Education 7(4): 422-430.

2 Kalas, P., O’Neill, A., Pollock, C., and Birol, G. 2012. Development and Application of a Meiosis Concept Inventory. Submitted for review to Cell Biology Education, Oct 2012.