Impact assessment of participation in a National Science Foundation human genetics and bioethical decision-making workshop on biology teachers' implementation of project synthesis goals
This study was designed to determine the relationship between participation in National Science Foundation (NSF) Pre-College Teacher Development (PTDS) Projects on Human Genetics and Bioethical Decision-Making held at Ball State University and classroom implementation of the Desired Biology Program described by Project Synthesis. NSF-PTDS Projects at Ball State University and Project Synthesis both focused on goals which emphasize human biology, biosocial concerns, and an understanding of the role that attitudes, values, and human needs exert in making decisions.The researcher employed an ex post facto criterion group design. Two groups of life science teachers, matched by gender, teaching experience, and location, were selected for study. The criterion group participated in NSF-PTDS Projects; the control group lacked NSF-PTDS Project experience. A questionnaire was constructed to collect data for testing eight null hypotheses. Questionnaires mailed to both criterion and control groups were designed to indicate the extent to which teachers implemented multifaceted instructional techniques, and goals directed toward human concerns, biosocial problems, and bioethical decision-making. The difference in percentage test was used to analyze categorical response items and three-way analysis of variance tested scaled response items.Teachers in both groups indicated they stressed the use of biological concepts to interpret human concerns. Groups differed in the amount of time allocated to human topics during the study of genetics. Although both groups of teachers devoted similar amounts of time to studying genetics, teachers in the criterion group tended to delete non-human topics and incorporate human topics to exemplify genetic principles.Both groups appeared to recognize the importance of addressing biosocial problems and issues resulting from recent advances in genetics, and instructed students in ways to use biological knowledge to help make decisions. However, teachers in the criterion group integrated significantly more bioethics into their biology and life science programs.Subjects in criterion and control groups primarily instructed students via lecture/discussion. Teachers in the criterion group made significantly greater use of outside speakers, films, videotapes, and television programs dealing with human genetics and bioethics.