Using Case Studies for High School Students Learning of Abstract Concepts in Molecular Genetics

Using Case Studies for High School Students Learning of Abstract Concepts in Molecular Genetics
Thesis
Description: 
Full Abstract: Disciplines such as law, business, and medicine have used case studies for decades to teach students about their field through comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation skills. The case study method involves learning by doing where students work through the problem of the case study to come up with possible solutions. Rarely has this technique been used in high school science. The aim of this study was to determine if a case study is effective in promoting conceptual change in high school students’ understanding of molecular genetics (structure and function of DNA and proteins) when compared with traditional textbook-based instruction. A mixed methods approach was used which included a pre/post assessment and interviews. The results of the assessment revealed that case study instruction did promote conceptual change in the experimental group, but there was not a statistically significant difference when compared with the comparison group. However, when students were interviewed about their reasoning, students from the case study group were more verbal during their interviews and showed greater understanding of the relationship between DNA, proteins, mutations and resulting phenotypes. The mixed results of this study indicate the need for further research into case study instruction and assessment.

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WHDL-00005444
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