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ERIC Number: EJ1204159
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Mar
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1931-7913
Despite Similar Perceptions and Attitudes, Postbaccalaureate Students Outperform in Introductory Biology and Chemistry Courses
Shortlidge, Erin E.; Rain-Griffith, Liz; Shelby, Chloe; Shusterman, Gwendolyn P.; Barbera, Jack
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v18 n1 Article 3 Mar 2019
Embedding active learning is a common mechanism for meeting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education reform goals. Researchers have identified student benefits from such strategies, yet these benefits may not be universal for all students. We sought to identify how students at a nontraditional university perceive introductory biology and chemistry courses, and whether perceptions relate to course type, performance, or student status. We surveyed students (n = 601) using open-ended prompts regarding their perceptions of factors that impact their learning and interest, and about specific learning strategies. Generally, students did not differ in what influenced their learning or interest in course content, and students mostly perceived active learning positively. Attitudes toward active learning did not correlate to final course scores. Despite similar perceptions and attitudes, performance differed significantly among student groups--postbaccalaureates outperformed all others, and traditional-age students outperformed non-traditional-age students. We found that, even with active learning, underrepresented minority students underperformed compared to their peers, yet differentially benefited from nonsummative course factors. Although students generally perceive classroom environments similarly, undetected factors are influencing performance among student groups. Gaining a better understanding of how classroom efforts impact all of our students will be key to moving beyond supposing that active learning simply "works."
American Society for Cell Biology. 8120 Woodmont Avenue Suite 750, Bethesda, MD 20814-2762. Tel: 301-347-9300; Fax: 301-347-9310; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Postsecondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Oregon (Portland)