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Type: Journal article
Title: Prior learning in biology at high school does not predict performance in the first year at university
Author: Bone, E.
Reid, R.
Citation: Higher Education Research and Development, 2011; 30(6):709-724
Publisher: Carfax Publishing Ltd
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 0729-4360
Statement of
Elisa K. Bone and Robert J. Reid
Abstract: Students in their first year of university face a number of transition issues that can make realising their academic potential difficult. In the sciences, first-year courses cover a large amount of material across broad subject areas, which can make them troublesome for students without background knowledge, and students need to adapt to typically large class sizes and develop active, independent learning skills. We expected a student's prior learning to be important to their academic performance in a large, first-year introductory biology subject and analysed the relationships between students' results in this course with their senior high school results in related subjects over three years from 2007 to 2009. We predicted that students with prior learning in biology would have higher results than those without it, but that chemistry might also be important, given the biochemical nature of much of the course content. Students who completed biology at the senior high school-level did perform better than those who had not, but only if they also completed chemistry. Prior learning in biology was of no benefit to students in first-year biology, except when combined with chemistry, suggesting that potential differences in biology curricula between high school and the first year at university may need to be addressed.
Keywords: biology learning; first year transition; high school performance; large classes; prior learning
Rights: © 2011 HERDSA
RMID: 0020115731
DOI: 10.1080/07294360.2010.539599
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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