Assessing what prospective laboratory assistants in biochemistry and cell biology know: development and validation of the test instrument PROKLAS.

Gantner, Stephan, Großschedl, Jörg, Chakraverty, Devasmita and Harms, Ute (2016) Assessing what prospective laboratory assistants in biochemistry and cell biology know: development and validation of the test instrument PROKLAS. Empirical Research in Vocational Education and Training, 8 (1). DOI 10.1186/s40461-016-0029-9.

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Supplementary data:

Abstract

Background
Laboratory assistants in biology and medicine play a central role in the operation of laboratories in hospitals, research institutes, and industries. Their daily work routine is characterized by dealing with molecular structures/chemical substances (i.e. biochemistry) as well as cell cultures (i.e. cell biology). In both these fields of biochemistry and cell biology, laboratory assistants rely on knowledge about three laboratory tasks: responsible action, data management, and laboratory techniques. Focusing on these laboratory tasks, we developed a test instrument measuring the professional knowledge of prospective laboratory assistants (acronym: PROKLAS) about biochemistry and cell biology.
Methods
We designed a paper-and-pencil test measuring the professional knowledge of laboratory assistants required to fulfill daily laboratory tasks in biochemistry and cell biology. A sample of N = 284 Vocational Education and Training (VET) students [(average age = 20.0 years (SD = 3.3)] were tested in a cross-sectional study. The sample comprised of prospective biology laboratory assistants, biological technicians, and medical laboratory technicians.
Results
Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) indicates that the test developed allows us to measure the professional knowledge of laboratory assistants in biochemistry and cell biology as two empirically separable constructs among laboratory assistants. CFA with covariates widely confirms the validity of PROKLAS in its respective subscales. Firstly, VET-related covariates predicted biochemistry and cell biology scores of students considerably better compared to the covariates related to general secondary school. Secondly, general biological knowledge predicted biochemistry and cell biology scores of PROKLAS. Finally, VET students’ self-efficacy in laboratory tasks and their opportunities to learn laboratory tasks are positively correlated to achievement in PROKLAS. However, we found a similar relationship for self-efficacy in English too.
Conclusion
Our analyses indicate that PROKLAS can be effectively used for summative and formative VET evaluation in assessing the professional knowledge of laboratory assistants in biochemistry and cell biology

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Instrument development Professional knowledge Laboratory assistants Vocational education and training Biochemistry Cell biology
Research affiliation: Kiel University > Kiel Marine Science
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1186/s40461-016-0029-9
ISSN: 1877-6345
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2017 12:32
Last Modified: 22 May 2019 13:45
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/40781

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