High school students’ conceptual understanding of natural selection, specifically variation in a population and origin of variation, as influenced by traditional Concept Cartoons, or an animated software program

High school students’ conceptual understanding of natural selection, specifically variation in a population and origin of variat
Thesis
Description: 

Concepts in evolution are introduced at the middle school level, but are taught in more depth at the high school level. Students come in with prior conceptions of evolution that influence student learning in the classroom. There are multiple ways of assessing students’ understanding of various concepts of evolution that include interviews, tests, labs, and writing activities. A mixed-method design was used to analyze students’ understanding of variation in a population and origin of variation, subtopics of evolution. Methods of collecting data included using Conceptual Inventory of Natural Selection (CINS) to implement pre and post tests across a high school biology department (n=483) and six student pre and post interviews. Our findings suggest that using classroom intervention activities including Traditional Concept Cartoons, photo cartoons, and animations improved student understanding of variation in a population and origin of variation. Comparing student groups, there was no overall statistical significance between the pre and post-test score in the biology classes (p=0.08); a statistical significance in the pre and post-test score for the medical biology group (p=0.001). When comparing the overall CINS post-test scores for biology, medical biology, and AP biology, there was a statistical difference between the AP biology post-test scores and both medical biology (p<0.05) and biology (p = 0.05) post-test scores.

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WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006081
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