Development of a biological science quantitative reasoning exam (Biosquare)

Liz Stanhope, Laura Ziegler, Tabassum Haque, Laura Le, Marcelo Vinces, Gregory K. Davis, Andrew Zieffler, Peter Brodfuehrer, Marion Preest, Jason M. Belitsky, Charles Umbanhowar, Paul J. Overvoorde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Multiple reports highlight the increasingly quantitative nature of biological research and the need to innovate means to ensure that students acquire quantitative skills. We present a tool to support such innovation. The Biological Science Quantitative Reasoning Exam (BioSQuaRE) is an assessment instrument designed to measure the quantitative skills of undergraduate students within a biological context. The instrument was developed by an interdisciplinary team of educators and aligns with skills included in national reports such as BIO2010, Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians, and Vision and Change. Undergraduate biology educators also confirmed the importance of items included in the instrument. The current version of the BioSQuaRE was developed through an iterative process using data from students at 12 postsecondary institutions. A psychometric analysis of these data provides multiple lines of evidence for the validity of inferences made using the instrument. Our results suggest that the BioSQuaRE will prove useful to faculty and departments interested in helping students acquire the quantitative competencies they need to successfully pursue biology, and useful to biology students by communicating the importance of quantitative skills. We invite educators to use the BioSQuaRE at their own institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberar66
JournalCBE life sciences education
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work has been supported in part by a collaborative science education PILOT grant from the HHMI. We thank Stephen Adolph (Stuart Mudd Professor of Biology, Harvey Mudd College), Robert Drewell (associate professor of biology, Clark University), David Hansen (chair of the Department of Chemistry, Amherst College), and Catherine MacFadden (Vivian and D. Kenneth Baker Professor in the Life Sciences, Harvey Mudd College) for their contributions to the early stages of developing the BioSQuaRE. G.K.D. is supported by the National Science FoundationNSF under grant no. IOS-1557678.

Funding Information:
This work has been supported in part by a collaborative science education PILOT grant from the HHMI. We thank Stephen Adolph (Stuart Mudd Professor of Biology, Harvey Mudd College), Robert Drewell (associate professor of biology, Clark University), David Hansen (chair of the Department of Chemistry, Amherst College), and Catherine MacFadden (Vivian and D. Kenneth Baker Professor in the Life Sciences, Harvey Mudd College) for their contributions to the early stages of developing the BioSQuaRE. G.K.D. is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant no. IOS-1557678. We also acknowledge the improvements to this article that were made possible by feedback provided by two anonymous external reviewers and the monitoring editor, Ross Nehm.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The American Society for Cell Biology.

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