Date of Award

12-31-2014

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Brian White

Second Advisor

Carol Smith

Third Advisor

Jennifer Bowen

Abstract

Science education strives to cultivate individuals who understand scientific concepts as well as the nature of science and science learning. This study focused on the potential benefits of the flipped classroom on students' attitudes towards science and science learning. Our study investigated changes in and effects of students' attitudes towards science and science learning in a flipped introductory biology course at the University of Massachusetts Boston. We used The Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey for Biology to assess students' attitudes at pre and post-instruction.

We investigated the effect of a flipped classroom on students' attitudes towards science and science learning by measuring the impact of different teaching approaches (flipped vs. traditional lecture). Following the prior literature, we hypothesized that there would be a negative shift in students' attitudes over the semester in the traditional classroom and that this negative shift would not occur in the flipped. Our results showed there was no significant difference in the shift of students' attitudes between the traditional and flipped sections. We also examined the relationship between students' attitudes and academic performance. We hypothesized there would be a positive correlation between students' attitudes and their academic performance, as measured by exam average. In support of the prior literature, we found a significant positive correlation. Finally, we examined whether the relationship between students' attitudes and performance was mediated by learning behavior. Specifically, we considered if students with more favorable attitudes solved more on-line problems correctly and whether this aspect of problem solving was associated with greater achievement. We hypothesized there would be a positive correlation between attitudes and problem solving behavior as well as problem solving behavior and achievement. We did not find a significant correlation between attitudes and this aspect of problem solving behavior, however there was a correlation between problem solving behavior and achievement.

Our results indicate attitudes towards science and science learning may play a role in undergraduate students' learning achievement. However, we were not able to show that those effects were mediated through problem solving behavior, nor did we show that the flipped classroom by itself was sufficient to enhance these attitudes.

Comments

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