The effect of cooperative learning on the attitudes toward science and the achievement of students in a non-science majors' general biology laboratory course at an urban community college

Genevieve C Chung-Schickler, Florida International University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of cooperative learning strategies on students' attitudes toward science and achievement in BSC 1005L, a non-science majors' general biology laboratory course at an urban community college. Data were gathered on the participants' attitudes toward science and cognitive biology level pre and post treatment in BSC 1005L. Elements of the Learning Together model developed by Johnson and Johnson and the Student Team-Achievement Divisions model created by Slavin were incorporated into the experimental sections of BSC 1005L.^ Four sections of BSC 1005L participated in this study. Participants were enrolled in the 1998 spring (January) term. Students met weekly in a two hour laboratory session. The treatment was administered to the experimental group over a ten week period. A quasi-experimental pretest-posttest control group design was used. Students in the cooperative learning group (n$\sb1$ = 27) were administered the Test of Science-Related Attitudes (TOSRA) and the cognitive biology test at the same time as the control group (n$\sb2$ = 19) (at the beginning and end of the term).^ Statistical analyses confirmed that both groups were equivalent regarding ethnicity, gender, college grade point average and number of absences. Independent sample t-tests performed on pretest mean scores indicated no significant differences in the TOSRA scale two or biology knowledge between the cooperative learning group and the control group. The scores of TOSRA scales: one, three, four, five, six, and seven were significantly lower in the cooperative learning group. Independent sample t-tests of the mean score differences did not show any significant differences in posttest attitudes toward science or biology knowledge between the two groups. Paired t-tests did not indicate any significant differences on the TOSRA or biology knowledge within the cooperative learning group. Paired t-tests did show significant differences within the control group on TOSRA scale two and biology knowledge. ANCOVAs did not indicate any significant differences on the post mean scores of the TOSRA or biology knowledge adjusted by differences in the pretest mean scores. Analysis of the research data did not show any significant correlation between attitudes toward science and biology knowledge. ^

Subject Area

Education, Community College|Education, Sciences

Recommended Citation

Genevieve C Chung-Schickler, "The effect of cooperative learning on the attitudes toward science and the achievement of students in a non-science majors' general biology laboratory course at an urban community college" (January 1, 1998). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. Paper AAI9908038.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI9908038

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