Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-1-2017

Publication Title

Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education

ISSN

1935-7877

Volume

18

Issue

1

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v18i1.1195

PubMed ID

28512521

Abstract

Understanding how different types of molecules move through cell membranes is a fundamental part of cell biology. To identify and address student misconceptions surrounding molecular movement through cell membranes, we surveyed student understanding on this topic using pre-class questions, in-class clicker questions, and subsequent exam questions in a large introductory biology course. Common misconceptions identified in student responses to the pre-class assessment questions were used to generate distractors for clicker questions. Two-tier diagnostic clicker questions were used to probe incoming common student misconceptions (first tier) and their reasoning (second tier). Two subsequent lectures with assessment clicker questions were used to help students construct a new framework to understand molecular movement through cell membranes. Comparison of pre-assessment and post-assessment (exam) performance showed dramatic improvement in students' understanding of molecular movement: student answers to exam questions were 74.6% correct with correct reasoning while only 1.3% of the student answers were correct with correct reasoning on the pre-class assessment. Our results show that students' conceptual understanding of molecular movement through cell membranes progressively increases through discussions of a series of clicker questions and suggest that this clicker-based teaching strategy was highly effective in correcting common student misconceptions on this topic.

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