A National Study Assessing the Teaching and Learning of Introductory Astronomy Part II: The Connection between Student Demographics and Learning
This is the second in a series of reports on a national study of the teaching and learning of astronomy in general education, nonscience major, introductory college astronomy courses hereafter referred to as Astro 101 . The analysis reported here was conducted using data from nearly 2000 students enrolled in 69 Astro 101 classes taught across the country. These students completed a 15-question demographic survey, in addition to completing the 26-question Light and Spectroscopy Concept Inventory LSCI pre- and post-instruction.
The LSCI was used to determine students’ learning via a normalized gain calculated for each student. A multivariate regression analysis was conducted to determine how ascribed characteristics personal demographic and family characteristics , achieved characteristics academic achievement and student major , and the use
of interactive learning strategies are related to student learning in these classes. The results show dramatic improvement in student learning with increased use of interactive learning strategies even after controlling
for individual characteristics. In addition, we find that the positive effects of interactive learning strategies apply equally to men and women, across ethnicities, for students with all levels of prior mathematical preparation and physical science course experience, independent of GPA, and regardless of primary language. These results powerfully illustrate that all categories of students can benefit from the effective implementation of interactive learning strategies.
Rudolph, A. L., Prather, E. E., Brissenden, G., Consiglio, D., & Gonzaga, V. (2010). A national study assessing the teaching and learning of introductory astronomy part II: The connection between student demographics and learning. Astronomy Education Revi