Statistics Across the Curriculum Using an Iterative, Interactive Approach in an Inquiry-Based Lab Sequence

  • Remsburg A
  • Harris M
  • Batzli J
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How can science instructors prepare students for the statistics needed in authentic inquiry labs? We designed and assessed four instructional modules with the goals of increasing student confidence, appreciation, and performance in both experimental design and data analysis. Using extensions from a just-in-time teaching approach, we introduced concepts throughout a two-semester biology sequence when students could apply their knowledge to the inquiry labs. The modules included readings and active lessons that used modified " jigsaw " and immediate feedback techniques. Assessment based on pre-and postmodule surveys paired by individual student indicated improved student confidence and a rise in the number of students planning to take a statistics class. Student self-reported skill and performance were not always linked; student performance was best for the learning outcomes emphasized during class. Poor performance on low-level tasks, such as formatting statistical results, demonstrated the need for classroom time in support of reading assignments. The four short statistics modules appeared to be a minimum level of instruction for preparing science students to apply data analysis tools appropriately in their own research. Using an iterative process over several months, student-driven research and student-centered activities were important strategies in preparing students to apply statistics.

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  • Alysa J Remsburg

  • Michelle A Harris

  • Janet M Batzli

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