Question Order and Student Understanding of Structure and Function
assessment, lexical analysis, structure function relationship, undergraduate
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
The relationship between structure and function is a core concept in physiology education. Written formative assessments can provide insight into student learning of the structure and function relationship, which can then inform pedagogy. However, question order may influence student explanations. We explored how the order of questions from different cognitive levels affects student explanations. A junior level General Physiology class was randomly split in half. One-half of the students answered, “Define the principle: form reflects function,” followed by “Give an example of the principle: form reflects function” (format DX), whereas the other half answered, “Give an example of the principle: form reflects function,” followed by “Define the principle: form reflects function” (format XD). Human grading and computerized lexical analysis were used to evaluate student responses. Two percent of students in the format DX group related structure and function in their definition, whereas 48% of students related structure and function in their examples. In the format XD group, 17% related structure and function in their definition, and 26% related structure and function in their example of the principle. Overall, students performed better on the last question in the sequence, which may be evidence for conceptual priming. Computerized lexical analysis revealed that students draw on only a few levels of organization and may be used by instructors to quickly assess the levels of organization students use in their responses. Written assessment coupled with lexical analysis has the potential to reveal student understanding of core concepts in anatomy and physiology education.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Advances in Physiology Education, v. 42, issue 4, p. 576-585
Scholar Commons Citation
Carter, Kelli Patrice and Prevost, Luanna B, "Question Order and Student Understanding of Structure and Function" (2018). Integrative Biology Faculty and Staff Publications. 459.