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Incorporating an Interactive Statistics Workshop into an Introductory Biology Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) Enhances Students’ Statistical Reasoning and Quantitative Literacy Skills

    Authors: Jeffrey T. Olimpo1,*, Ryan S. Pevey2, Thomas M. McCabe2
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968; 2: School of Biological Sciences, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO 80639
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 13 August 2017 Accepted 15 January 2018 Published 27 April 2018
    • ©2018 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Supplemental materials available at http://asmscience.org/jmbe
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 W. University Ave., El Paso, TX 79968. Phone: 915-747-6923. Fax: 915-747-5808. E-mail: [email protected].
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. April 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1450
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    Abstract:

    Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) provide an avenue for student participation in authentic scientific opportunities. Within the context of such coursework, students are often expected to collect, analyze, and evaluate data obtained from their own investigations. Yet, limited research has been conducted that examines mechanisms for supporting students in these endeavors. In this article, we discuss the development and evaluation of an interactive statistics workshop that was expressly designed to provide students with an open platform for graduate teaching assistant (GTA)-mentored data processing, statistical testing, and synthesis of their research findings. Mixed methods analyses of pre/post-intervention survey data indicated a statistically significant increase in students’ reasoning and quantitative literacy abilities in the domain, as well as enhancement of student self-reported confidence in and knowledge of the application of various statistical metrics to real-world contexts. Collectively, these data reify an important role for scaffolded instruction in statistics in preparing emergent scientists to be data-savvy researchers in a globally expansive STEM workforce.

References & Citations

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6. Feser J, Vasaly H, Herrera J 2013 On the edge of mathematics and biology integration: improving quantitative skills in undergraduate biology education CBE Life Sci Educ 12 124 128 10.1187/cbe.13-03-0057 23737616 3671635 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.13-03-0057
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2018-04-27
2019-09-17

Abstract:

Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) provide an avenue for student participation in authentic scientific opportunities. Within the context of such coursework, students are often expected to collect, analyze, and evaluate data obtained from their own investigations. Yet, limited research has been conducted that examines mechanisms for supporting students in these endeavors. In this article, we discuss the development and evaluation of an interactive statistics workshop that was expressly designed to provide students with an open platform for graduate teaching assistant (GTA)-mentored data processing, statistical testing, and synthesis of their research findings. Mixed methods analyses of pre/post-intervention survey data indicated a statistically significant increase in students’ reasoning and quantitative literacy abilities in the domain, as well as enhancement of student self-reported confidence in and knowledge of the application of various statistical metrics to real-world contexts. Collectively, these data reify an important role for scaffolded instruction in statistics in preparing emergent scientists to be data-savvy researchers in a globally expansive STEM workforce.

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Figures

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FIGURE 1

Measurement of various dimensions of students’ quantitative literacy, as evidenced on final written laboratory reports. Data indicate a statistically significant difference in performance between those concepts discussed in the workshop and those that were not. * = 0.009.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. April 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1450
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FIGURE 2

Student perceptions of learning gains (SPLG) associated with participation in the interactive statistics workshop. < 0.001.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. April 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1450
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