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Students’ beliefs about the nature of science, reasons for studying, and professional interests. Stephen Provost Southern Cross University Coffs Harbour, NSW Frances Martin Amy Peacock University of Tasmania Hobart, TAS. Graduate Attributes and Learning Outcomes in Psychology.

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students beliefs about the nature of science reasons for studying and professional interests

Students’ beliefs about the nature of science, reasons for studying, and professional interests

Stephen Provost

Southern Cross University

Coffs Harbour, NSW

Frances Martin

Amy Peacock

University of Tasmania

Hobart, TAS

graduate attributes and learning outcomes in psychology
Graduate Attributes and Learning Outcomes in Psychology
  • Prior to 2008 APS Guidelines mandated areas of the discipline that were required to be taught
  • AUTC-funded disciplinary project in Psychology (Lipp et al., 2007) recommended need for shift to outcomes via graduate attributes
  • ALTC Disciplinary Initiative to Assoc. Prof. Jacky Cranney led to…
  • 2008 revision of the APAC Rules and Standards
  • Cranney, J., Turnbull, C., Provost, S.C., Martin, F., Katsikitis, M., White, F.A., Voudouris, N.J., Montgomery, I.M., Heaven, P.C.L., Morris, S., & Varcin, K.J. (2009). Graduate attributes of the four-year Australian undergraduate psychology program. Australian Psychologist, 44, 253-262.
graduate attribute 2 research methods in psychology
Graduate Attribute 2: Research methods in psychology
  • describe the basic characteristics of the science of psychology
  • describe, apply and evaluate the different research methods used by psychologists
  • demonstrate practical skills in laboratory-based and other psychological research
  • design and conduct basic studies to address psychological questions: frame research questions; undertake literature searches; critically analyse theoretical and empirical studies; formulate testable hypotheses; operationalise variables; choose an appropriate methodology; make valid and reliable measurements; analyse data and interpret results; and write research reports
graduate attribute 3 critical thinking skills
Graduate Attribute 3: Critical Thinking Skills
  • apply knowledge of the scientific method in thinking about problems related to behaviour and mental processes
  • question claims that arise from myth, stereotype, pseudoscience or untested assumptions
  • recognise and defend against the major fallacies of human thinking
our interest
Our interest:
  • What do students take to be meant by “science”
  • If the adoption of a “scientific approach” is a Graduate Attribute, how can we evaluate this?
previously on this channel
Previously, on this channel…
  • The Science, Knowledge, and Attitudes Scale (Provost, Martin, Peacock, Lipp, Bath, & Hannan, 2011)
  • Based upon statements made to Lederman, Abd-El- Khalick, Bell, & Schwartz (2002) with small number of additional items
  • Interesting outcome, but not particularly reliable, and questionable items
a more principled approach the conceptual bases of scientific enquiry scale cbses
A more principled approach: The Conceptual Bases of Scientific Enquiry Scale (CBSES)
  • Sought to identify important conceptual themes that might distinguish science:
items of the cbses
Items of the CBSES

For each conceptual theme, constructed two items, for most one positively and one negatively worded

Determinism:-

+ Behaviour can be fully explained by the interaction between one's environment and physiological make up

- It will never be possible to fully explain behaviour due to the existence of free will

Monism:-

+ "Mind" is just a description of something that will ultimately be understood in physical terms

- To understand behaviour one needs to understand both non-physical mental processes as well as the brain's purely physical operation

methods
Methods
  • Ethics approval obtained from the Human Research Ethics Committee at the University of Tasmania
  • Survey distributed to students enrolled in a First-year psychology unit at UTas during Week 2 of Semester 1, 2011
  • 266 students returned survey and gave consent for its use
  • Included CBSES, demographic information, and questions relating to students attitude to and motivation for study
  • Database was later linked to assessment marks by SCP, and identifiers deleted
relations to other factors
Relations to other factors
  • Not related to age, year of study or degree being studied
  • But related to academic outcomes
relationship between orientation and whether a student failed exam
Relationship between orientation and whether a student failed exam

p=.52

p=.31

P<.0005

Fail exam = k -.27 PO

Accounts for 7% of variance

orientations by professional aspirations psychology behavioural sciences students
Orientations by professional aspirations (Psychology/Behavioural Sciences students)
conclusions
Conclusions
  • The CBSES has some potential for tracking changes in student understanding of conceptual issues relevant to the nature of science.
  • Still some work to do on it, but.
  • Nature of student understanding was not as expected. Perhaps broadening the sample to postgraduate and academic populations would be interesting.
  • We look forward to your comments and the discussion to follow.