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The Impact of an Interactive Statistics Module on Novices ’ Development of Scientific Process Skills and Attitudes in a First-Semester Research Foundations Course †

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ABSTRACT

Evidence suggests that incorporating quantitative reasoning exercises into existent curricular frameworks within the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines is essential for novices’ development of conceptual understanding and process skills in these domains. Despite this being the case, such studies acknowledge that students often experience difficulty in applying mathematics in the context of scientific problems. To address this concern, the present study sought to explore the impact of active demonstrations and critical reading exercises on novices’ comprehension of basic statistical concepts, including hypothesis testing, experimental design, and interpretation of research findings. Students first engaged in a highly interactive height activity that served to intuitively illustrate normal distribution, mean, standard deviation, and sample selection criteria. To enforce practical applications of standard deviation and p-value, student teams were subsequently assigned a figure from a peer-reviewed primary research article and instructed to evaluate the trustworthiness of the data. At the conclusion of this exercise, students presented their evaluations to the class for open discussion and commentary. Quantitative assessment of pre- and post-module survey data indicated a statistically significant increase both in students’ scientific reasoning and process skills and in their self-reported confidence in understanding the statistical concepts presented in the module. Furthermore, data indicated that the majority of students (>85%) found the module both interesting and helpful in nature. Future studies will seek to develop additional, novel exercises within this area and to evaluate the impact of such modules across a variety of STEM and non-STEM contexts.

No MeSH data available.


Student perceptions regarding the degree to which module activities were helpful and interesting in nature are positive, indicating a high level of utility among all components of the statistics module. “Not Helpful/Interesting” represents the percentage of students indicating a Likert-item score of one (“1”) or two (“2”). “Helpful/Interesting” represents the percentage of students indicating a Likert-item score of three (“3”). “Extremely Helpful/Interesting” represents the percentage of students indicating a Likert-item score of four (“4”) or five (“5”).
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f3-jmbe-17-436: Student perceptions regarding the degree to which module activities were helpful and interesting in nature are positive, indicating a high level of utility among all components of the statistics module. “Not Helpful/Interesting” represents the percentage of students indicating a Likert-item score of one (“1”) or two (“2”). “Helpful/Interesting” represents the percentage of students indicating a Likert-item score of three (“3”). “Extremely Helpful/Interesting” represents the percentage of students indicating a Likert-item score of four (“4”) or five (“5”).

Mentions: Subsequent descriptive analyses of post-module, SPLG Likert-item questions assessed the extent to which students perceived module activities to be both helpful and interesting in nature. Data indicate that students believed that the instructor-facilitated lecture session was most helpful (with 100% of participants rating this activity as either helpful or extremely helpful), followed by evaluation of figures within a scientific, peer-reviewed article (96.9% of participants), and, lastly, engagement in the interactive height activity (93.8% of participants). Conversely, the interactive height activity was perceived as most interesting (with 93.8% of participants rating this exercise as either interesting or extremely interesting), with the figure evaluation activity and the lecture session rated equally thereafter (90.6% of participants in each category) (Fig. 3).


The Impact of an Interactive Statistics Module on Novices ’ Development of Scientific Process Skills and Attitudes in a First-Semester Research Foundations Course †
Student perceptions regarding the degree to which module activities were helpful and interesting in nature are positive, indicating a high level of utility among all components of the statistics module. “Not Helpful/Interesting” represents the percentage of students indicating a Likert-item score of one (“1”) or two (“2”). “Helpful/Interesting” represents the percentage of students indicating a Likert-item score of three (“3”). “Extremely Helpful/Interesting” represents the percentage of students indicating a Likert-item score of four (“4”) or five (“5”).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5134948&req=5

f3-jmbe-17-436: Student perceptions regarding the degree to which module activities were helpful and interesting in nature are positive, indicating a high level of utility among all components of the statistics module. “Not Helpful/Interesting” represents the percentage of students indicating a Likert-item score of one (“1”) or two (“2”). “Helpful/Interesting” represents the percentage of students indicating a Likert-item score of three (“3”). “Extremely Helpful/Interesting” represents the percentage of students indicating a Likert-item score of four (“4”) or five (“5”).
Mentions: Subsequent descriptive analyses of post-module, SPLG Likert-item questions assessed the extent to which students perceived module activities to be both helpful and interesting in nature. Data indicate that students believed that the instructor-facilitated lecture session was most helpful (with 100% of participants rating this activity as either helpful or extremely helpful), followed by evaluation of figures within a scientific, peer-reviewed article (96.9% of participants), and, lastly, engagement in the interactive height activity (93.8% of participants). Conversely, the interactive height activity was perceived as most interesting (with 93.8% of participants rating this exercise as either interesting or extremely interesting), with the figure evaluation activity and the lecture session rated equally thereafter (90.6% of participants in each category) (Fig. 3).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Evidence suggests that incorporating quantitative reasoning exercises into existent curricular frameworks within the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines is essential for novices’ development of conceptual understanding and process skills in these domains. Despite this being the case, such studies acknowledge that students often experience difficulty in applying mathematics in the context of scientific problems. To address this concern, the present study sought to explore the impact of active demonstrations and critical reading exercises on novices’ comprehension of basic statistical concepts, including hypothesis testing, experimental design, and interpretation of research findings. Students first engaged in a highly interactive height activity that served to intuitively illustrate normal distribution, mean, standard deviation, and sample selection criteria. To enforce practical applications of standard deviation and p-value, student teams were subsequently assigned a figure from a peer-reviewed primary research article and instructed to evaluate the trustworthiness of the data. At the conclusion of this exercise, students presented their evaluations to the class for open discussion and commentary. Quantitative assessment of pre- and post-module survey data indicated a statistically significant increase both in students’ scientific reasoning and process skills and in their self-reported confidence in understanding the statistical concepts presented in the module. Furthermore, data indicated that the majority of students (>85%) found the module both interesting and helpful in nature. Future studies will seek to develop additional, novel exercises within this area and to evaluate the impact of such modules across a variety of STEM and non-STEM contexts.

No MeSH data available.