Human genetic concept attainment in secondary biology students through the use of specifically constructed bioethical case studies and a student decision-making model

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Brown, Dwight G.
Hendrix, Jon R.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
Department of Biology
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The purpose of this study was to determine if the use of specifically constructed case studies and a student Decision-Making Model facilitated learning genetic concepts of high school biology students. The study also sought to determine if there were a relationship between: (a) teachers' knowledge of genetics (b) student attitude towards the use of the case studies and student Decision-Making Model and student genetic concept attainment.The population of this study consisted of 54 high school biology teachers and 2,330 high school biology students. The teachers selected for this study attended one of eight Project "Genethics" workshops conducted in the summer of 1993, and funded by either the National Science Foundation, Greenwall Foundation, or Chicago Public Schools. These two week workshops were conducted by mentor teachers trained by the staff of Human Genetics and Bioethics Educational Laboratory (HGABEL).The data gathered through HGABEL's (a) teacher post-test, (b) student pre/post-tests, and researcher designed teacher portfolios (including a student survey) were analyzed using Pearson productmoment correlation coefficient (r and an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) with an a = .05. There was found no significant difference between the control group (those classrooms who did not use the case studies and student Decision-Making Model) and the experimental group (those classrooms who did use the case studies and student Decision-Making) on the genetic concept attainment as measured by the HGABEL student post-test.The use of case studies and the student Decision-Making Model allowed students who used them to perform essentially the same on the student post-test as the those students who did not use them even though both groups spent identical instructional time teaching genetics (control 1,568.5 minutes, experimental 1578.5 minutes). The students in the experimental group were also given the benefit of practicing and possibly gaining skills in bioethical decision-making without the loss of concept learning..