DOI

  • Daniela Fiedler
  • Steffen Tröbst
  • Ute Harms
Students of all ages face severe conceptual difficulties regarding key aspects of evolution—the central, unifying, and overarching theme in biology. Aspects strongly related to abstract “threshold” concepts like randomness and probability appear to pose particular difficulties. A further problem is the lack of an appropriate instrument for assessing students’ conceptual knowledge of randomness and probability in the context of evolution. To address this problem, we have developed two instruments, Randomness and Probability Test in the Context of Evolution (RaProEvo) and Randomness and Probability Test in the Context of Mathematics (RaProMath), that include both multiple-choice and free-response items. The instruments were administered to 140 university students in Germany, then the Rasch partial-credit model was applied to assess them. The results indicate that the instruments generate reliable and valid inferences about students’ conceptual knowledge of randomness and probability in the two contexts (which are separable competencies). Furthermore, RaProEvo detected significant differences in knowledge of randomness and probability, as well as evolutionary theory, between biology majors and preservice biology teachers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number38
JournalCBE - Life Sciences Education
Volume16
Issue2
Pages (from-to)online only
Number of pages16
ISSN1931-7913
DOIs
StatePublished - 01.06.2017

    Research areas

  • Development of competencies and transitions

ID: 644366