Assessing the effect of systems simulations on systems understanding in undergraduate environmental science courses

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

28th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society


This paper describes the results of a paired experiment testing the effect of system dynamics simulations on systems understanding in undergraduate environmental science courses. The performance of 298 students in four sections was measured at several points during the semester. Half the students used system dynamics simulations in their assignments; the other half did not. Results of regression analysis show that performance on systems questions immediately following the intervention was significantly better for the experimental group than the control. The study also highlighted some problems in the assessment framework we used and led to suggestions for improving both the systems interventions and the assessment tools.


Ecology -- Study and teaching; Ecosystems -- Study and teaching (Higher); Environmental management -- Study and teaching (Higher)


Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Environmental Sciences




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