University Students’ Conceptual Knowledge of Randomness and Probability in the Contexts of Evolution and Mathematics.

Fiedler, Daniela, Tröbst, Steffen, Harms, Ute and Nehm, Ross (2017) University Students’ Conceptual Knowledge of Randomness and Probability in the Contexts of Evolution and Mathematics. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 16 (2). ar38. DOI 10.1187/cbe.16-07-0230.

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Supplementary data:

Abstract

Students of all ages face severe conceptual difficulties regarding key aspects of evolution—the central, unifying, and overarching theme in biology. Aspects strongly related to abstract “threshold” concepts like randomness and probability appear to pose particular difficulties. A further problem is the lack of an appropriate instrument for assessing students’ conceptual knowledge of randomness and probability in the context of evolution. To address this problem, we have developed two instruments, Randomness and Probability Test in the Context of Evolution (RaProEvo) and Randomness and Probability Test in the Context of Mathematics (RaProMath), that include both multiple-choice and free-response items. The instruments were administered to 140 university students in Germany, then the Rasch partial-credit model was applied to assess them. The results indicate that the instruments generate reliable and valid inferences about students’ conceptual knowledge of randomness and probability in the two contexts (which are separable competencies). Furthermore, RaProEvo detected significant differences in knowledge of randomness and probability, as well as evolutionary theory, between biology majors and preservice biology teachers.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: Kiel University > Kiel Marine Science
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1187/cbe.16-07-0230
ISSN: 1931-7913
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2017 11:40
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2019 12:48
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/40762

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