Abstract Detail

Education and Outreach

Gilland, Keith [1], Little, Amanda [1].

“Growing” student mindsets and study strategies in teaching upper-division plant science classes.

Plant-related courses can be especially challenging for students in biology and related majors who struggle with copious, new, unfamiliar terminology as well as presumed ideas of content relevance. A lack of self-efficacy in these subjects can influence student success and ultimately, program retention. As part of a program-wide faculty community, we are exploring the effects of implementing mindset-based study strategies on self-efficacy, perceived motivation, and assessment performance in upper-level Plant Taxonomy and Wetland Ecology courses. Our overall objectives included: 1) aiding students in recognizing their mindsets and how individual mindsets may positively or negatively affect their own learning, 2) helping students develop a "growth mindset", 3) exploring the relationship between mindset, student motivation, and assessment/course grades, and 4) determining what specific mindset-centered study tools students led to the greatest increases in self-efficacy and success in the courses. In Plant Taxonomy, students with higher self-efficacy employed a larger number of different study strategies and performed significantly better. Strategies that students found most helpful included studying specimens outside of class, re-writing notes, flashcards, and self-quizzing. Students with a higher “growth mindset” did not perform significantly better, although they did pursue more extra credit than those with more of a fixed mindset. In Wetland Ecology, students completed an initial mindset description survey, developed a study plan for each examination (three examinations were given in the course), and completed a mindset survey and reflection after each examination. At the close of the semester, regression analyses will be performed to examine the effects of study strategy types and adherence on student mindsets and learning outcomes over the course of the semester. These initial results suggest that integrating mindset-centered strategies into plant-related courses may help build student self-efficacy, which should improve student performance in plant-related courses.

1 - University of Wisconsin-Stout, Biology, 331 Jarvis Hall, Menomonie, WI, 54751, USA

Study strategies
Active Learning.

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PEO006
Abstract ID:400
Candidate for Awards:None

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