Dr. LaToya Kissoon-Charles
Assistant Professor, Biology
To see more funded grants, check out our Internal Assessment Grant page.
Individuals who have worked on this project at Missouri State University included La Toya Kissoon-Charles
(Assistant Professor, Biology), Tina Hopper (Senior Instructor, Biology), and Deanna Means (undergraduate
student, Biology education).
Minutes of Meetings
February 15, 2018
Tina Hopper, La Toya Kissoon-Charles
Discussed objectives of the project and a plan of action for data collection. Agreed to contact Biology education
faculty for help recruiting an undergraduate student to organize and analyze the data.
May 10, 2018
Discussed the project goals and steps for data analysis. Identified steps of data organization and analysis that Hopper, Kissoon-Charles, and the undergraduate student worker would be responsible for completing. Discussed the criteria for hiring of an undergraduate student for the project.
May 22, 2018
Deanna Means, Tina Hopper, La Toya Kissoon-Charles
Discussed the objectives of the project, types of data collected, de-identification of all the data to protect the student participants, and a plan of action for data analysis. Reviewed an example dataset to determine how the data should be organized and subsequently analyzed.
June 12, 2018
Deanna Means, La Toya Kissoon-Charles
Reviewed data management techniques. Checked progress of data analysis. Briefly discussed some preliminary findings.
Project results and accomplishments
The major goal of this project was to assess student attitudes and quantitative abilities in introductory biology. Major activities for this project included data collection in introductory biology courses and subsequent analysis of this data. Students in introductory biology (biology majors and non-majors) completed a pre and post MathBiology Values Instrument (MBVI) during the first few weeks and the last weeks of the fall 2017 and spring 2018 semester. Students in introductory biology (biology majors and non-majors) in spring 2018 also completed the quantitative portion of the Test of Scientific Literacy Survey (TOSLS). An undergraduate student worker is currently analyzing all data collected.
The specific objectives of our project included:
- Assess how students perform on quantitative questions,
- Examine attitudes students have towards using math in biology, and
- Describe the relationship between student quantitative abilities and attitudes
The following are preliminary results and final results will be made available later as we continue to work on data analysis and interpretation.
Preliminary results for the Math Biology Values Instrument show that biology majors were neutral with respect to interest in using mathematics to understand biology (interest scale) and had increasing perceptions of usefulness of mathematics for their future life science careers (utility value scale). However, they had higher perceptions of the cost of including math in biology courses (e.g. extra effort or worries about grades; Cost scale).
Non-biology majors showed decreasing interest in using mathematics to understand biology and increasing perceptions of usefulness of mathematics for their future careers. Non-biology majors also had higher perceptions of the cost of including math in biology courses.
Key outcomes or other achievements
This project has provided opportunities for the training of a Biology Education undergraduate student in data management and analysis. This student will complete the data analysis and present our findings at the CNAS undergraduate research forum in April 2019.
Changes that will occur in the future due to this project
We anticipate that results of this project will inform our biology curriculum and teaching of quantitative concepts in biology and transform how biology instructors teach and assess quantitative concepts and skills in biology.
Recommendations for future projects
We recommend that this project be expanded to include courses at various levels in the Biology curriculum, such as upper level courses like ecology. This will inform us of student attitudes and quantitative skills as they move on from the introductory to advanced courses. Future projects should also assess the course material (assessments and lecture material) to determine the number and types of quantitative concepts that are students are being exposed to in courses across the biology curriculum.