The Effect of a Paired Lab on Course Completion and Grades in Nonmajors Introductory Biology
Life Sciences Education
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This paper explores the effect of a paired lab course on students’ course outcomes in nonmajors introductory biology at the University of Alaska Anchorage. We compare course completion and final grades for 10,793 students (3736 who simultaneously enrolled in the lab and 7057 who did not). Unconditionally, students who self-select into the lab are more likely to complete the course and to earn a higher grade than students who do not. However, when we condition on observable course, academic, and demographic characteristics, we find much of this difference in student performance outcomes is attributable to selection bias, rather than an effect of the lab itself. The data and discussion challenge the misconception that labs serve as recitations for lecture content, noting that the learning objectives of science labs should be more clearly articulated and assessed independent of lecture course outcomes.
Course outcomes; Nonmajors introductory biology; Data and discussion; Science lab learning objective
Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research
DeFeo, D. J.,
The Effect of a Paired Lab on Course Completion and Grades in Nonmajors Introductory Biology.
Life Sciences Education, 19(3),