Evaluating High School Biology Modeling Instruction in South Florida: A Comparative Case Study

Feng Li, Florida International University


The dissertation, with a collected papers approach, focused on evaluating the implementation of MI curriculum in high school Biology I classes in south Florida. The dissertation included the development and validation of the Biology Identity and Persistence Survey (BIPS), the connection of instructors’ teaching practices with students’ biology identities, evolution identities, and career aspirations, and the connection of instructors’ teaching practice with students’ conceptual understanding in evolution. In the first part of the dissertation study, the BIPS was validated through expert review and student cognitive interviews for its face and content validity. Confirmatory factor analysis addressed the construct validity of the final version of the BIPS, after removing four problematic items. The Cronbach’s alpha and test-retest reliability analysis indicated that the BIPS was a reliable instrument in terms of its internal reliability and stability. In the second part of the dissertation study, the comparison between the MI and non-MI classes indicated that there was no detectable significant difference between the MI classes and non-MI classes in students’ development of biology identities and evolution identities, and shifts in career aspirations. Using the analysis of the MI and non-MI instructors’ teaching practices, it was suggested that the use of intentional lack of inquiry closure, seeding, small-group collaboration, whole-class discussion, and Socratic questioning might contribute to students’ biology/evolution identity development. In the third part of the dissertation study, the Evolution Concept Inventory was demonstrated as an invalid and unreliable research instrument. Qualitative analysis of instructors’ teaching practices suggested that interactions between MI instructional materials and MI pedagogical techniques, including student-centered teaching, small-group collaboration, student-student interaction, whole-class discussion, and Socratic questioning, might contribute to students’ gain of conceptual understanding in evolution. On the basis of the research findings, this dissertation provided suggestions for high school biology MI instructors and high school biology MI workshops.

Subject Area

Mathematics education|Educational evaluation|Science education

Recommended Citation

Li, Feng, "Evaluating High School Biology Modeling Instruction in South Florida: A Comparative Case Study" (2017). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI10931603.