1887

A Cross-Course Investigation of Integrative Cases for Evolution Education

    Authors: Peter John Thomas White1,*, Merle K. Heidemann2, James J. Smith1
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48823; 2: Department of Geological Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
      We distinguish “Cases” from “Case Studies” and discuss this difference, as well as the advantages of case-based approaches, in White et al. (21).
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State University, 919 E. Shaw Lane, Rm 36E, East Lansing, MI 48823. Phone: 517-353-6480. Fax: 517-432-2758. E-mail: [email protected].
    • ©2015 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2015 vol. 16 no. 2 157-166. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.876
MyBook is a cheap paperback edition of the original book and will be sold at uniform, low price.
  • HTML
    70.89 Kb
  • PDF
    441.81 Kb
  • XML

    Abstract:

    Evolution is a cornerstone theory in biology, yet many undergraduate students have difficulty understanding it. One reason for this is that evolution is often taught in a macro-scale context without explicit links to micro-scale processes. To address this, we developed a series of integrative evolution cases that present the evolution of various traits from their origin in genetic mutation, to the synthesis of modified proteins, to how these proteins produce novel phenotypes, to the related macro-scale impacts that the novel phenotypes have on populations in ecological communities. We postulated that students would develop a fuller understanding of evolution when learning biology in a context where these integrative evolution cases are used. We used a previously developed assessment tool, the ATEEK (Assessment Tool for Evaluating Evolution Knowledge), within a pre-course/post-course assessment framework. Students who learned biology in courses using the integrative cases performed significantly better on the evolution assessment than did students in courses that did not use the cases. We also found that student understanding of evolution increased with increased exposure to the integrative evolution cases. These findings support the general hypothesis that students acquire a more complete understanding of evolution when they learn about its genetic and molecular mechanisms along with macro-scale explanations.

References & Citations

1. Abraham J, Meir E, Perry J, Herron J, Maruca S, Stal D 2009 Addressing undergraduate student misconceptions about natural selection with an interactive simulated laboratory Evol Educ Outreach 2 393 404 10.1007/s12052-009-0142-3 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12052-009-0142-3
2. Alters BJ, Nelson CE 2002 Perspective: teaching evolution in higher education Evolution 56 1891 1901 10.1111/j.0014-3820.2002.tb00115.x 12449476 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0014-3820.2002.tb00115.x
3. Anderson DL, Fisher KM, Norman GJ 2002 Development and evaluation of the conceptual inventory of natural selection J Res Sci Teach 39 952 978 10.1002/tea.10053 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tea.10053
4. Bahar M, Johnstone AH, Hansell MH 1999 Revisiting learning difficulties in biology J Biol Educ 33 84 86 10.1080/00219266.1999.9655648 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00219266.1999.9655648
5. Bishop B, Anderson CW 1990 Student conceptions of natural selection and its role in evolution J Res Sci Teach 27 41 57 10.1002/tea.3660270503 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tea.3660270503
6. Cohen J 1960 A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales Educ Psychol Measure 20 37 46 10.1177/001316446002000104 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/001316446002000104
7. Dauer JT, Momsen JL, Speth EB, Makohon-Moore SC, Long TM 2013 Analyzing change in students’ gene-to-evolution models in college-level introductory biology J Res Sci Teach 50 639 659 10.1002/tea.21094 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tea.21094
8. Demastes SS, Settlage J, Good R 1995 Students’ conceptions of natural selection and its role in evolution: cases of replication and comparison J Res Sci Teach 32 535 550 10.1002/tea.3660320509 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tea.3660320509
9. Dobzhansky T 1973 Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution Amer Biol Teach 35 125 129 10.2307/4444260 http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/4444260
10. Gregory TR 2009 Understanding natural selection: Essential concepts and common misconceptions Evol Educ Outreach 2 156 175 10.1007/s12052-009-0128-1 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12052-009-0128-1
11. Hake RR 1998 Interactive-engagement versus traditional methods: a six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses Am J Physics 66 64 74 10.1119/1.18809 http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.18809
12. Ingram E, Nelson C 2006 Relationship between achievement and students’ acceptance of evolution or creation in an upper-level evolution course J Res Sci Teach 43 7 24 10.1002/tea.20093 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tea.20093
13. Lawson AE, Worsnop WA 1992 Learning about evolution and rejecting a belief in special creation: effects of reflective reasoning skill, prior knowledge, prior belief and religious commitment J Res Sci Teach 29 143 166 10.1002/tea.3660290205 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tea.3660290205
14. Lord T, Marino A 1993 How university students view the theory of evolution J Coll Sci Teach 22 353 357
15. Nehm R, et al 2009 Does the segregation of evolution in biology textbooks and introductory courses reinforce students’ faulty mental models of biology and evolution? Evol Educ Outreach 2 527 532 10.1007/s12052-008-0100-5 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12052-008-0100-5
16. Nehm R, Schonfeld I 2007 Does increasing biology teacher knowledge of evolution and the nature of science lead to greater preference for the teaching of evolution in schools? J Sci Teacher Educ 18 699 723 10.1007/s10972-007-9062-7 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10972-007-9062-7
17. Nehm RH, Ha M 2014 Darwin’s difficulties and students’ struggles with trait loss: cognitive-historical parallelisms in evolutionary explanation Sci Educ 23 1051 1074 10.1007/s11191-013-9626-1 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11191-013-9626-1
18. Nelson C 2012 Why don’t undergraduates really “get” evolution? What can faculty do? Karl SKB, Rosengren S, Margaret Evans E, Sinatra Gale M Evolution challenges: Integrating research and practice in teaching and learning about evolution Oxford University Press Oxford 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730421.003.0014 http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730421.003.0014
19. Theobald R, Freeman S 2014 Is it the intervention or the students? Using linear regression to control for student characteristics in undergraduate STEM education research CBE Life Sci Educ 13 41 48 24591502 3940461
20. Trani R 2004 I won’t teach evolution; it’s against my religion. And now for the rest of the storytelling Am Biol Teach 66 419 427 10.1662/0002-7685(2004)066[0419:IWTIAM]2.0.CO;2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1662/0002-7685(2004)066[0419:IWTIAM]2.0.CO;2
21. White PJT, Heidemann MK, Loh M, Smith JJ 2013 Integrative cases for teaching evolution Evol Educ Outreach 6 1 7 10.1186/1936-6434-6-17 http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1936-6434-6-17
22. White PJT, Heidemann MK, Smith JJ 2013b A new integrative approach to evolution education BioScience 63 586 594 10.1525/bio.2013.63.7.11 http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/bio.2013.63.7.11

Supplemental Material

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.876
2015-12-01
2020-09-26

Abstract:

Evolution is a cornerstone theory in biology, yet many undergraduate students have difficulty understanding it. One reason for this is that evolution is often taught in a macro-scale context without explicit links to micro-scale processes. To address this, we developed a series of integrative evolution cases that present the evolution of various traits from their origin in genetic mutation, to the synthesis of modified proteins, to how these proteins produce novel phenotypes, to the related macro-scale impacts that the novel phenotypes have on populations in ecological communities. We postulated that students would develop a fuller understanding of evolution when learning biology in a context where these integrative evolution cases are used. We used a previously developed assessment tool, the ATEEK (Assessment Tool for Evaluating Evolution Knowledge), within a pre-course/post-course assessment framework. Students who learned biology in courses using the integrative cases performed significantly better on the evolution assessment than did students in courses that did not use the cases. We also found that student understanding of evolution increased with increased exposure to the integrative evolution cases. These findings support the general hypothesis that students acquire a more complete understanding of evolution when they learn about its genetic and molecular mechanisms along with macro-scale explanations.

Highlighted Text: Show | Hide
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

/deliver/fulltext/jmbe/16/2/jmbe-16-157.xml.a.html?itemId=/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.876&mimeType=html&fmt=ahah

Figures

Image of FIGURE 1

Click to view

FIGURE 1

Average student gain on ATEEK questions in four courses using cases and in four courses where cases were not used. Gains (mean ± SE) on ATEEK questions were significantly higher among students in courses that featured integrative evolution cases (dark bars) than among students in courses that did not feature integrative evolution cases (light bars). Bars on individual questions are not shown where the average gain is negative, though error bars are still visible in some cases. Gains with the same letter mark within a graph do not differ significantly (Kruskal-Wallis with a post-hoc Dunn’s test, or, in the case of Normalized Gain, ANOVA with a post-hoc Tukey-Kramer test). ATEEK = Assessment Tool for Evaluating Evolution Knowledge; C = course in which integrated cases were used; NC = course in which integrative cases were not used; CMB = cell and molecular biology course; OB = organismal biology course; EVO = evolution course; SE = standard error.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2015 vol. 16 no. 2 157-166. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.876
Download as Powerpoint
Image of FIGURE 2

Click to view

FIGURE 2

ATEEK score for three cohorts of students, tracked across two introductory biology courses. Students in three cohorts were surveyed using the ATEEK. Students in cohort 1 ( = 45) had case exposure in both intro bio courses. Students in cohort 2 ( = 23) had case exposure in the first intro bio course but not in the second. Students in cohort 3 ( = 25) had case exposure in the second bio course but not in the first. Data points with the same letter mark within a time-point do not differ significantly (Kruskal-Wallis with post-hoc Dunn’s test). ATEEK = Assessment Tool for Evaluating Evolution Knowledge; SE = standard error.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2015 vol. 16 no. 2 157-166. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.876
Download as Powerpoint

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Please check the format of the address you have entered.
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error