Poster D85, Monday, March 26, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Expertise Matters in Evaluating Students’ Organization of Neuroscience Concepts
Noah C. Yeagley1, Jennifer L. Stevenson1, Joel P. Bish1; 1Ursinus College
Evaluating learning is a pivotal part of the academic process, but most assessments are explicit measures, such as tests and quizzes. One form of implicit evaluation is the Structural Assessment of Knowledge (SAK) which examines the organization of knowledge structures or networks. The current study investigates undergraduate students’ learning of structure-function relationships (n=38) and neuronal physiology (n=40) in introductory and advanced neuroscience courses. Students made pairwise rankings of 15 neuronal physiology (e.g., action potential, axon hillock) or 15 structure-function relationship concepts (e.g., Broca’s area, language production) in terms of their similarity before and after learning. Using Pathfinder software, students’ networks were compared to two types of expert networks: their individual professor and a group of four other neuroscience professors at the college. The type of expert (individual or group of professors) interacted with type of student (introductory or advanced) for both neuronal physiology (F(1,38)=19.16, p<.001) and structure-function relationships (F(1,36)=23.15, p<.001) concepts; however, the details of the interactions were reversed. For both types of concepts, students were equally similar to individual and group professors. However, for neuronal physiology, students were more similar to the group of professors than their individual professor (t(15)=-5.64, p<.001) and for structure-function relationships, students were more similar to their individual professor than the group of professors (t(16)=5.82, p<.001). These results suggest multiple factors such as type of student, type of expert, and type of knowledge are important when considering the expert for comparison in SAK. This may be more complex in interdisciplinary fields like neuroscience.
Topic Area: OTHER