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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Rybczynski, Stephen M. [1], Schussler, Elisabeth E. [2].

Effects of inquiry vs. direct instruction on student attitude towards biology lab.

Scientific inquiry is a method of instruction thought to increase student attitude, however, conflicting results have been reported. An undergraduate introductory biology course (34 sections; 17 teaching assistants (TAs)) was delivered in two treatments, each with two levels: inquiry vs. direct instruction and explicit/reflective (ER) discussions vs. no ER (to foster nature of science understanding). Three modified subscales (12 Likert questions each) of the Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitude Scale were administered pre and post semester to assess student confidence, perception of usefulness, and effectance motivation. Participant pre-and post-semester scores (N = 357) were summed and relative changes in attitudes were calculated. All subscales were reliable as measured by Cronbach's- α (0.95, 0.91, and 0.90 respectively). There were no significant differences among treatments or their interactions for confidence (p=0.50), usefulness (p=0.37),or motivation (p=0.95) using a mixed-model ANOVA with treatment and interactions as a fixed effects and demographic variables within treatment as random effects. One-way ANOVA revealed significant differences among lab sections for confidence (p>0.000) and motivation (p=0.02) but not for gender, background, or career plans. Confidence was correlated with average section grades (Pearson's r=0.48). These results indicate TAs and grades influence attitude more than instructional strategy and underscore the importance of TA training when undertaking curriculum reforms.

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1 - Miami University, Botany, 700 East High Street, Oxford, OH, 45056, USA
2 - University Of Tennessee, Department Of Ecology And Evolutionary Biology, 569 Dabney Hall, Knoxville, TN, 37996, USA

laboratory teaching
Teaching Assistants.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 37
Location: Waterman Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Time: 2:35 PM
Number: 37006
Abstract ID:249

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