Rybczynski, Stephen M. , Schussler, Elisabeth E. .
Factors affecting student attitude: A comparison of inquiry vs. expository undergraduate biology laboratories.
Inquiry instruction creates conditions in which students become active participants in the scientific process and reportedly increases student attitude towards science. While this method is strongly endorsed by the National Research Council and has been increasingly utilized in college classrooms, few studies have investigated the interaction between laboratory courses, level of inquiry, and factors affecting student attitude. Thirty four lab sections of an introductory biology course were divided into four treatments: direct instruction, direct with nature of science (NOS) discussions, inquiry labs, and inquiry with NOS discussions. Internet-based open-ended survey questions assessed studentsí overall attitude, as well as their confidence, usefulness, and motivation towards the laboratories. Two researchers created themes from student written responses (N=138) and then reconciled them. Grades played a major role in studentsí overall attitude, confidence, and motivation. Lab content was a factor in overall attitude and usefulness. Teaching assistants were a factor in overall attitude and in confidence. Factors mentioned once included: time spent on the course, learning to write a lab report, process skills, expectations, and prior knowledge. Themes among students in different lab treatments were nearly identical. These results suggest that grades, TA, and lab content influence student attitude more than instructional style.
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1 - Miami University, Botany, 700 East High Street, 316 Pearson Hall, Oxford, OH, 45056, USA
2 - University of Tennessee, Ecology and Evolution, Knoxville, TN, 37996, USA
undergraduate biology instruction.
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: 554B/Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Time: 2:30 PM