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Biology Education Research Lab

Improving the degree, equity, coherence, and assessment of biological learning


What we do

Work in the lab focuses on quantitative studies of biology learning. We investigate the complex interplay of cognitive, affective, psychosocial, environmental, and institutional factors that promote and inhibit meaningful learning of fundamental biological concepts (e.g., natural selection, matter and energy transformation [MET]). We seek to better understand this complex system through altering it; making evidence-based changes to the learning environment and measuring its impact using carefully designed and validated measurement tools in order to illuminate the causal features central to its functioning. 


The lab's research is currently focused on four main goals: (1) Advance conceptual understanding of biological reasoning about phenomena in order to design more effective learning environments. (2) Investigate how students’ affect (e.g., evolution acceptance), psychosocial (e.g., belonging), and background variables impact biological learning and persistence in the biological discipline. (3) Investigate how aspects of the classroom learning environment (e.g., TA preparation, active learning, attention to misconceptions) impact biological learning and persistence in the biological discipline. (4) Develop and evaluate measurement tools in order to advance theory about learning and improve the quality of measurement. 

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