This growing collection consists of scholarly works authored by ASU-affiliated faculty, students, and community members, and it contains many open access articles. ASU-affiliated authors are encouraged to Share Your Work in KEEP.

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Context Matters: Volunteer Bias, Small Sample Size, and the Value of Comparison Groups in the Assessment of Research-Based Undergraduate Introductory Biology Lab Courses

Description

The shift from cookbook to authentic research-based lab courses in undergraduate biology necessitates the need for evaluation and assessment of these novel courses. Although the biology education community has made

The shift from cookbook to authentic research-based lab courses in undergraduate biology necessitates the need for evaluation and assessment of these novel courses. Although the biology education community has made progress in this area, it is important that we interpret the effectiveness of these courses with caution and remain mindful of inherent limitations to our study designs that may impact internal and external validity. The specific context of a research study can have a dramatic impact on the conclusions. We present a case study of our own three-year investigation of the impact of a research-based introductory lab course, highlighting how volunteer students, a lack of a comparison group, and small sample sizes can be limitations of a study design that can affect the interpretation of the effectiveness of a course.

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  • 2013-12-02

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Males Under-Estimate Academic Performance of Their Female Peers in Undergraduate Biology Classrooms

Description

Women who start college in one of the natural or physical sciences leave in greater proportions than their male peers. The reasons for this difference are complex, and one possible

Women who start college in one of the natural or physical sciences leave in greater proportions than their male peers. The reasons for this difference are complex, and one possible contributing factor is the social environment women experience in the classroom. Using social network analysis, we explore how gender influences the confidence that college-level biology students have in each other’s mastery of biology. Results reveal that males are more likely than females to be named by peers as being knowledgeable about the course content. This effect increases as the term progresses, and persists even after controlling for class performance and outspokenness. The bias in nominations is specifically due to males over-nominating their male peers relative to their performance. The over-nomination of male peers is commensurate with an overestimation of male grades by 0.57 points on a 4 point grade scale, indicating a strong male bias among males when assessing their classmates. Females, in contrast, nominated equitably based on student performance rather than gender, suggesting they lacked gender biases in filling out these surveys. These trends persist across eleven surveys taken in three different iterations of the same Biology course. In every class, the most renowned students are always male. This favoring of males by peers could influence student self-confidence, and thus persistence in this STEM discipline.

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  • 2016-02-10

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How to Assess Your CURE: A Practical Guide for Instructors of Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences

Description

Integrating research experiences into undergraduate life sciences curricula in the form of course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) can meet national calls for education reform by giving students the chance to

Integrating research experiences into undergraduate life sciences curricula in the form of course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) can meet national calls for education reform by giving students the chance to “do science.” In this article, we provide a step-by-step practical guide to help instructors assess their CUREs using best practices in assessment. We recommend that instructors first identify their anticipated CURE learning outcomes, then work to identify an assessment instrument that aligns to those learning outcomes and critically evaluate the results from their course assessment. To aid instructors in becoming aware of what instruments have been developed, we have also synthesized a table of “off-the-shelf” assessment instruments that instructors could use to assess their own CUREs. However, we acknowledge that each CURE is unique and instructors may expect specific learning outcomes that cannot be assessed using existing assessment instruments, so we recommend that instructors consider developing their own assessments that are tightly aligned to the context of their CURE.

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  • 2016-12

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Building Better Bridges into STEM: A Synthesis of 25 Years of Literature on STEM Summer Bridge Programs

Description

Summer bridge programs are designed to help transition students into the college learning environment. Increasingly, bridge programs are being developed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines because of

Summer bridge programs are designed to help transition students into the college learning environment. Increasingly, bridge programs are being developed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines because of the rigorous content and lower student persistence in college STEM compared with other disciplines. However, to our knowledge, a comprehensive review of STEM summer bridge programs does not exist. To provide a resource for bridge program developers, we conducted a systematic review of the literature on STEM summer bridge programs. We identified 46 published reports on 30 unique STEM bridge programs that have been published over the past 25 years. In this review, we report the goals of each bridge program and whether the program was successful in meeting these goals. We identify 14 distinct bridge program goals that can be organized into three categories: academic success goals, psychosocial goals, and department-level goals. Building on the findings of published bridge reports, we present a set of recommendations for STEM bridge programs in hopes of developing better bridges into college.

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  • 2017-12-01

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Each to Their Own CURE: Faculty Who Teach Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences Report Why You Too Should Teach a CURE

Description

Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) meet national recommendations for integrating research experiences into life science curricula. As such, CUREs have grown in popularity and many research studies have focused on

Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) meet national recommendations for integrating research experiences into life science curricula. As such, CUREs have grown in popularity and many research studies have focused on student outcomes from CUREs. Institutional change literature highlights that understanding faculty is also key to new pedagogies succeeding. To begin to understand faculty perspectives on CUREs, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 61 faculty who teach CUREs regarding why they teach CUREs, what the outcomes are, and how they would discuss a CURE with a colleague. Using grounded theory, participant responses were coded and categorized as tangible or intangible, related to both student and faculty-centered themes. We found that intangible themes were prevalent, and that there were significant differences in the emphasis on tangible themes for faculty who have developed their own independent CUREs when compared with faculty who implement pre-developed, national CUREs. We focus our results on the similarities and differences among the perspectives of faculty who teach these two different CURE types and explore trends among all participants. The results of this work highlight the need for considering a multi-dimensional framework to understand, promote, and successfully implement CUREs.

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  • 2017-05-26

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Define Your Goals Before You Design a CURE: A Call to Use Backward Design in Planning Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences

Description

We recommend using backward design to develop course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs). The defining hallmark of CUREs is that students in a formal lab course explore research questions with unknown

We recommend using backward design to develop course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs). The defining hallmark of CUREs is that students in a formal lab course explore research questions with unknown answers that are broadly relevant outside the course. Because CUREs lead to novel research findings, they represent a unique course design challenge, as the dual nature of these courses requires course designers to consider two distinct, but complementary, sets of goals for the CURE: 1) scientific discovery milestones (i.e., research goals) and 2) student learning in cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains (i.e., pedagogical goals). As more undergraduate laboratory courses are re-imagined as CUREs, how do we thoughtfully design these courses to effectively meet both sets of goals? In this Perspectives article, we explore this question and outline recommendations for using backward design in CURE development.

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  • 2017-05-26

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Gender Gaps in Achievement and Participation in Multiple Introductory Biology Classrooms

Description

Although gender gaps have been a major concern in male-dominated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines such as physics and engineering, the numerical dominance of female students in biology has

Although gender gaps have been a major concern in male-dominated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines such as physics and engineering, the numerical dominance of female students in biology has supported the assumption that gender disparities do not exist at the undergraduate level in life sciences. Using data from 23 large introductory biology classes for majors, we examine two measures of gender disparity in biology: academic achievement and participation in whole-class discussions. We found that females consistently underperform on exams compared with males with similar overall college grade point averages. In addition, although females on average represent 60% of the students in these courses, their voices make up less than 40% of those heard responding to instructor-posed questions to the class, one of the most common ways of engaging students in large lectures. Based on these data, we propose that, despite numerical dominance of females, gender disparities remain an issue in introductory biology classrooms. For student retention and achievement in biology to be truly merit based, we need to develop strategies to equalize the opportunities for students of different genders to practice the skills they need to excel.

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  • 2014-09-02

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BioCore Guide: A Tool for Interpreting the Core Concepts of Vision and Change for Biology Majors

Description

Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education outlined five core concepts intended to guide undergraduate biology education: 1) evolution; 2) structure and function; 3) information flow, exchange, and storage; 4)

Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education outlined five core concepts intended to guide undergraduate biology education: 1) evolution; 2) structure and function; 3) information flow, exchange, and storage; 4) pathways and transformations of energy and matter; and 5) systems. We have taken these general recommendations and created a Vision and Change BioCore Guide—a set of general principles and specific statements that expand upon the core concepts, creating a framework that biology departments can use to align with the goals of Vision and Change. We used a grassroots approach to generate the BioCore Guide, beginning with faculty ideas as the basis for an iterative process that incorporated feedback from more than 240 biologists and biology educators at a diverse range of academic institutions throughout the United States. The final validation step in this process demonstrated strong national consensus, with more than 90% of respondents agreeing with the importance and scientific accuracy of the statements. It is our hope that the BioCore Guide will serve as an agent of change for biology departments as we move toward transforming undergraduate biology education.

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  • 2014-06-01

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Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences Can Make Scientific Research More Inclusive

Description

The U.S. scientific research community does not reflect America's diversity. Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans made up 31% of the general population in 2010, but they represented only 18

The U.S. scientific research community does not reflect America's diversity. Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans made up 31% of the general population in 2010, but they represented only 18 and 7% of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) bachelor's and doctoral degrees, respectively, and 6% of STEM faculty members (National Science Foundation [NSF], 2013). Equity in the scientific research community is important for a variety of reasons; a diverse community of researchers can minimize the negative influence of bias in scientific reasoning, because people from different backgrounds approach a problem from different perspectives and can raise awareness regarding biases (Intemann, 2009). Additionally, by failing to be attentive to equity, we may exclude some of the best and brightest scientific minds and limit the pool of possible scientists (Intemann, 2009). Given this need for equity, how can our scientific research community become more inclusive?

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  • 2014-12-01