Limits...
Tracking the Resolution of Student Misconceptions about the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology †

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

The goal of our study was to track changes in student understanding of the central dogma of molecular biology before and after taking a genetics course. Concept maps require the ability to synthesize new information into existing knowledge frameworks, and so the hypothesis guiding this study was that student performance on concept maps reveals specific central dogma misconceptions gained, lost, and retained by students. Students in a genetics course completed pre- and posttest concept mapping tasks using terms related to the central dogma. Student maps increased in complexity and validity, indicating learning gains in both content and complexity of understanding. Changes in each of the 351 possible connections in the mapping task were tracked for each student. Our students did not retain much about the central dogma from their introductory biology courses, but they did move to more advanced levels of understanding by the end of the genetics course. The information they retained from their introductory courses focused on structural components (e.g., protein is made of amino acids) and not on overall mechanistic components (e.g., DNA comes before RNA, the ribosome makes protein). Students made the greatest gains in connections related to transcription, and they resolved the most prior misconceptions about translation. These concept-mapping tasks revealed that students are able to correct prior misconceptions about the central dogma during an intermediate-level genetics course. From these results, educators can design new classroom interventions to target those aspects of this foundational principle with which students have the most trouble.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Example student concept maps. Representative examples of high- (A) and low- (B) complexity student-generated concept maps created at the beginning of the course (upper panels) and at the end of the course (lower panels) from two students enrolled in Section 2 of BIOL289: Genetics. Validity (number of valid propositions/total number of propositions) and complexity (number of propositions) scores are provided for comparison.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5134937&req=5

f2-jmbe-17-339: Example student concept maps. Representative examples of high- (A) and low- (B) complexity student-generated concept maps created at the beginning of the course (upper panels) and at the end of the course (lower panels) from two students enrolled in Section 2 of BIOL289: Genetics. Validity (number of valid propositions/total number of propositions) and complexity (number of propositions) scores are provided for comparison.

Mentions: To assess the overall depth and accuracy of students’ understanding of the central dogma, each pre- and post-concept map was scored using two methods. First, concept maps were scored for complexity (the total number of propositions used), regardless of propositional validity (31, 40, 54). The minimum complexity score would be 26 (each term connected to only one other), and the maximum possible complexity score would be 351 (each term connected to every other term). Second, concept maps were scored based on propositional validity (number of valid propositions/total number of propositions). Validity was determined based upon the factual correctness of each linking verb in connecting two concepts and the direction of the arrow between those two terms (for example, the linking verb “creates” would be invalid if used to link “DNA” and “RNA” but valid if used to link “RNA polymerase” and “RNA,” as long as the arrow pointed toward “RNA” and not “RNA polymerase”) (20, 31, 40). Representative examples of pre- and posttest concept maps are provided in Figure 2, demonstrating differences in propositional complexity between two students, one with a high starting complexity and validity (Fig. 2A) and the other with a low starting complexity and validity (Fig. 2B). Normalized learning gains were then calculated using the pre- and post- validity scores using the equation [100 × ((post - pre)/(100 - pre)] (17).


Tracking the Resolution of Student Misconceptions about the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology †
Example student concept maps. Representative examples of high- (A) and low- (B) complexity student-generated concept maps created at the beginning of the course (upper panels) and at the end of the course (lower panels) from two students enrolled in Section 2 of BIOL289: Genetics. Validity (number of valid propositions/total number of propositions) and complexity (number of propositions) scores are provided for comparison.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5134937&req=5

f2-jmbe-17-339: Example student concept maps. Representative examples of high- (A) and low- (B) complexity student-generated concept maps created at the beginning of the course (upper panels) and at the end of the course (lower panels) from two students enrolled in Section 2 of BIOL289: Genetics. Validity (number of valid propositions/total number of propositions) and complexity (number of propositions) scores are provided for comparison.
Mentions: To assess the overall depth and accuracy of students’ understanding of the central dogma, each pre- and post-concept map was scored using two methods. First, concept maps were scored for complexity (the total number of propositions used), regardless of propositional validity (31, 40, 54). The minimum complexity score would be 26 (each term connected to only one other), and the maximum possible complexity score would be 351 (each term connected to every other term). Second, concept maps were scored based on propositional validity (number of valid propositions/total number of propositions). Validity was determined based upon the factual correctness of each linking verb in connecting two concepts and the direction of the arrow between those two terms (for example, the linking verb “creates” would be invalid if used to link “DNA” and “RNA” but valid if used to link “RNA polymerase” and “RNA,” as long as the arrow pointed toward “RNA” and not “RNA polymerase”) (20, 31, 40). Representative examples of pre- and posttest concept maps are provided in Figure 2, demonstrating differences in propositional complexity between two students, one with a high starting complexity and validity (Fig. 2A) and the other with a low starting complexity and validity (Fig. 2B). Normalized learning gains were then calculated using the pre- and post- validity scores using the equation [100 × ((post - pre)/(100 - pre)] (17).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

The goal of our study was to track changes in student understanding of the central dogma of molecular biology before and after taking a genetics course. Concept maps require the ability to synthesize new information into existing knowledge frameworks, and so the hypothesis guiding this study was that student performance on concept maps reveals specific central dogma misconceptions gained, lost, and retained by students. Students in a genetics course completed pre- and posttest concept mapping tasks using terms related to the central dogma. Student maps increased in complexity and validity, indicating learning gains in both content and complexity of understanding. Changes in each of the 351 possible connections in the mapping task were tracked for each student. Our students did not retain much about the central dogma from their introductory biology courses, but they did move to more advanced levels of understanding by the end of the genetics course. The information they retained from their introductory courses focused on structural components (e.g., protein is made of amino acids) and not on overall mechanistic components (e.g., DNA comes before RNA, the ribosome makes protein). Students made the greatest gains in connections related to transcription, and they resolved the most prior misconceptions about translation. These concept-mapping tasks revealed that students are able to correct prior misconceptions about the central dogma during an intermediate-level genetics course. From these results, educators can design new classroom interventions to target those aspects of this foundational principle with which students have the most trouble.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus