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Lianna K. Etchberger Utah State University, Uintah Basin Regional Campus. Does Exposure to Bloom’s Levels of Understanding Help Students Develop Higher Order Thinking Skills?. Presenter- Lianna Etchberger USU- Uintah Basin 1680 West Highway 40 Vernal, UT 84078 Office: (435) 722-1783
Utah State University, Uintah Basin Regional Campus
Does Exposure to Bloom’s Levels of Understanding Help Students
Develop Higher Order Thinking Skills?
Presenter- Lianna Etchberger
USU- Uintah Basin
1680 West Highway 40
Vernal, UT 84078
Office: (435) 722-1783
Fax: (435) 789-3188
Successful biology students must develop critical thinking skills. Students taking the introductory course for majors at our rural campus are diverse in their study competencies, contributing to a high attrition rate (up to 50%). I assessed whether teaching my students to use Bloom’s levels of understanding would help them develop critical thinking skills and metacognition in an effort to improve learning and retention. To teach Bloom’s levels of cognition, I gave a mini-lecture on the first day of class, lead a class discussion on reasons for achieving higher-order cognitive skills (HOCS; applying, analyzing, evaluating, synthesizing), and distributed the Bloom’s-based Learning Activities for Students (BLASt; Crowe et. al., 2008) as a guide for their studying. After the first exam, students used peer instruction with clickers to label the Bloom’s level of sample exam questions. Bloom’s skill levels for subsequent exam questions were indicated to reinforce student awareness of Bloom’s levels throughout the semester. I assessed student learning using the introductory molecular and cell biology concept assessment (IMCBCA; J. Knight, personal communication). Students in my class fell into two distinct groups according to normalized learning gains (≤ 0.12 and ≥0.25, mean = 0.29, Std Dev = 0.22; N = 15). At the end of the course, 80% of the students (N = 15) demonstrated HOCS (novel application or analysis) without prompting when responding to an open-ended question post assessment (60% of low learning gains group, N=5; 90% of high learning gains group, N=10) compared to just 40% in the pre-assessment. Anonymous student assessment of learning gains demonstrated that the Bloom’s activities provided “much” or “great” help in their learning for 67% of respondents (N=9). These and other data support Bloom’s education as a worthwhile intervention for improving metacognition and critical thinking skills. Unfortunately, attrition remained high with only nine (all in the high learning gains group) of the twenty-two students enrolled continuing in the second semester.
C. STUDENTS FOUND BLOOM’S MODERATELY HELPFUL
D. ATTRITION REMAINED HIGH
A. STUDENTS FELL INTO TWO GROUPS ACCORDING TO LEARNING GAINS
N = 24 students enrolled
8% withdrew (N=2)
46% received D or F (N=11)
46% received C or better (N=11)
Only 9 of the 11 continued second semester Biol 1620
Received D or F grade
B. CLASS DEVELOPED HIGHER ORDER THINKING SKILLS
CONTEXT- Biol 1610: First semester introductory biology course for majors
PROBLEM- High attrition rate (D or F grade, or withdrawal). Previously taught using Traditional lecture delivery with emphasis on content.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS & REFERENCES
HYPOTHESIS- Teaching students about Bloom’s levels will result in Higher Order Cognitive Skills (HOCS) and decreased attrition.
I took responsibility for teaching this course fall ’09 previously taught using traditional lecture delivery with emphasis on content. I used Scientific Teaching methods (Handelsman, 2006) including lecture and clicker activities with an emphasis on concepts and HOCS. Assuming that some of the attrition was due to poor study skills, I focused this study on increasing metacognition and encourage study skills that foster HOCS by introducing to students the Revised Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives (Anderson, 2001).
The USU Uintah Basin campus supported this research and participation in the 2009 ASM/NSF Biology Scholars Program in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Thanks to members of the Biology Scholars Program for encouragement, especially Jenny Knight for sharing the ICMBCA instrument. Jenny, Mary Pat Wenderoth, Loretta Taras and Michelle Schuster provided helpful comments on my study design. My USU colleagues David Law, Brent Bibles, Vini Exton and Rich Etchberger provided useful comments on this poster.
Anderson, L W, & Krathwohl, D R (eds.) (2001). A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. New York: Longman
Atherton, J S (2009). Learning and Teaching; Bloom's taxonomy [On-line] UK: Available: http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/bloomtax.htm Accessed: 14 May 2010
Bass, R (1999). The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: What’s the Problem? Inventio 1, Retrieved 14 May 2010 from http://doit.gmu.edu/inventio/
Biggs, J, Kember, D, and Leung, D Y P (2001). The Revised Two-Factor Study Process Questionnaire: R-SPQ- 2F. British Journal of Educational Psychology 71, 133.
Crowe, A, Dirks, C, and Wenderoth, M P (2008). Biology in Bloom: Implementing Bloom's Taxonomy to Enhance Student Learning in Biology. CBE Life Sci Educ 7, 368-381.
Handelsman, J, Miller, S, Pfund, S (2006). Scientific Teaching. New York: W H Freeman
Seymour, E., Wiese, D., Hunter, A. & Daffinrud, S.M. (2000, March). Creating a Better Mousetrap: On-line Student Assessment of their Learning Gains. Paper presentation at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Francisco, CA. Online tool available at http://www.salgsite.org/
Shi, J, Wood, W B, Martin, J, Guild, N, Vicens, Q, and Knight, J. A Concept Inventory for Introductory Molecular and Cell Biology. Submitted, CBE-Life Sciences.
Higher Order Cognitive Skills
Lower Order Cognitive Skills
Revised taxonomy of the cognitive domain following Anderson and Krathwohl (2001). Pyramidal image from Atherton (2009). LOCS indicates lower-order cognitive skills; HOCS indicates higher-order cognitive skills following Crowe et. al. (2008).