An exploratory study with preliminary results : the development and evaluation of a genetics concept inventory
Modern science education reform includes the development of standards and recommendations for content as well as the development and evaluation of pedagogy, but demonstrates limited assessment of student knowledge. Student knowledge assessment is an important factor in measuring the scientific literacy of current students. Concept inventories have been developed and used for the past fourteen years to assess non-science major student conceptual understanding of a content area. Inventories have been developed in the fields of physics, astronomy, chemistry and biology. The development and evaluation of a Genetics Concept Inventory (GCI) is presented here. The reliability estimate of 0.62 is supported by a respected panel of genetics educators' revisions, no significant gender bias, and the ability of junior and senior biology majors to outperform the non-science majors. Pretest/Posttest comparisons show a significant increase in five of six genetics content areas as well as a 9% increase on the overall percent score for the instrument. Although the Genetics Concept Inventory presented here needs further modification and testing, it is the first step in the development of a quality assessment tool for genetics content.