Discipline: Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Erica Ross - Harris-Stowe State University
Co-Author(s): Jana Marcette
Despite an intense interest in promoting the success of traditionally under-represented students in science fields, and decades of research into effective teaching strategies, an achievement gap remains. Both social and academic factors contribute to the academic success and persistence of students. These factors manifest themselves in class-time behaviors of students. The Academic Behavioral Confidence Scale was created to better understand student expectations regarding teaching, learning and assessment. Academic Behavioral Confidence has been established as a variation of academic self-efficacy in studies emanating from the United Kingdom, Spain and India.
We modified the Academic Behavioral Confidence Survey to explore the role of student-centered activities, including individual-response learning, on students’ Academic Behavioral Confidence. We surveyed students in introductory Biology classes at an open-access university with predominately first-generation minority students. In this preliminary work, we found that students have great (and likely misplaced) levels of confidence in their ability to graduate with a college degree, and ‘catch-up’ when they are not doing well in a class. There was no difference in these levels of confidence between students in a traditional class, and students in a class using student-centered learning. We did see differences in confidence-related behaviors likely to contribute to the success of students. We found that students engaged in student-centered learning are more confident in their ability to ask for help when they don’t understand something, to ask questions during lectures when they don’t understand something, and to respond to questions asked by a professor during class. In an ongoing study, we are focusing on the variable of individual-response learning in building Academic Behavioral Confidence over the course of a semester in two sections of introductory Biology that are otherwise similar. In reality few students in introductory classes take advantage of traditional officehours or academic email communication; therefore if students are not comfortable exposing their difficulties and asking questions during structured class-time, they are ‘on- their-own’ in terms of overcoming any academic stumbling blocks. Through our studies we intend to assess the role of Academic Behavioral Confidence in academic success and persistence, and to build strategies that promote the academic achievement of students.
Future data collections will include the differences we see between similar questions that ask about confidence vs. success. We plan to add ‘How likely’ and ‘Did you’ questions about verbalizing to the survey to see if there is a difference in response. Lastly, we would also like to take into account the student’s retention, academic progression, GPA, ACT scores and age.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): HBCU-UP, National Science Foundation, Harris-Stowe State University, Dr. Jana Marcette, Dr. Tommie Turner
Faculty Advisor: Jana Marcette, N/A