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The Effects of Microcomputer-Based Laboratory Exercises on the Acquisition of Line Graph Construction and Interpretation Skills by High School Biology Students
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Abstract

Effects of microcomputer-based laboratory (MBL) exercises and level of cognitive development on high school biology students' ability to construct and interpret line graphs were investigated. Forty-six students enrolled in general biology classes at a rural high school volunteered to participate in the study. These students were administered instruments to assess the level of cognitive development and line graphing ability. Twenty students were chosen to participate in the study. Experimental students experienced four laboratory exercises that used a microcomputer to gather, display, and graph experimental data. Contrast students experienced the same four laboratory exercises using conventional laboratory equipment and produced line graphs by hand. Effects due to instructional method were found on the assessment of the students' graph construction and interpretation abilities. Students experiencing MBL exercises outperformed the contrast students on graph interpretation tasks. Students experiencing conventional laboratory exercises outperformed the experimental students on graph construction tasks. Effects due to cognitive development were indicated, with those students classified as high cognitive development outscoring those classified as low. Interview data revealed that students applied prior knowledge and experience to the conditions presented by the graph and were led to erroneous conclusions about what the graph actually represented. The students also reached improper conclusions about the interpretation of graphs when they improperly scaled axes. (TW)

Citation

Adams, D.D. & Shrum, J.W. The Effects of Microcomputer-Based Laboratory Exercises on the Acquisition of Line Graph Construction and Interpretation Skills by High School Biology Students. Retrieved June 16, 2019 from .

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