Student Acquisition of Science Skills and Learning Objectives in an Introductory Biology Course Open Access
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One of the main goals of education in biology is to not only teach students what they should know about biology, but how it came to be known; namely, through laboratory (lab) practices. It may be of interest to explore whether these students are connecting these two types of knowledge. The current study examined the responses to two prompts, “What is the purpose of this lab?” and “Name two Science Skills you utilized during this lab and tell how you used them,” given to 10 undergraduate students enrolled in an introductory biology laboratory course at The George Washington University. The results showed that around 70% of students knew the purpose of the lab. Furthermore, the two most common Science Skills used were Observing and Analyzing, and most of the responses encoded fell under the category of ‘4’ of the rubric, indicating the highest level of complexity in the response. However, the next most common response fell under the category of ‘2’, demonstrating a marked gap between students who could connect concepts learned in lecture to laboratory practices, and those who could not. More research is needed to explore the reason for this gap and how to shift it in the direction of a category ‘4.’
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