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Results - (Teaser Version!)

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 Right now as I look at it, there are four trends that have my eye.


First is the response rate: over 50% of students from Fall 2006, Fall 2007, and Spring 2008 responded to the survey request. Forty-three percent of Spring 2007 students did, but for various reasons this doesn't surprise me. Eighty-nine of a possible 175 students completing the class responded.


Second is the convincing set of results showing effects of instruction and group collaboration on learning retention and attitude. I'm going to post some figures if I can figure out how. Questions where the overall average was ≥ 4.0 (= "very much help") included those where I asked whether group work in class, hands-on activities, collaboration in modeling assignments, and the mental stretch required helped their learning. Other strong results come from questions about both technical skills (approaching and solving vague problems, understanding the links between biology and mathematics) and personal skills (working effectively with others). Most students reported this class was "very much help" (≥4/5) in those domains.


Third, the learning gains persisted. Paired t-tests showed no significant differences to responses on the same question among semesters. In other words, students in fall 2006 thought that their problem-solving skills, abilities to approach vague problems, and ability to work effectively with others were just as strong as students in spring 2008.


Fourth, there is a general trend of the standard deviation decreasing each semester. In spring 2008, N=22, but 32/44 questions had a SD ≤1, and all but 3 had a SD ≤ 1.2. I interpret this as evidence of the teaching/learning model getting more refined and "solid."

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