Upgrading Undergraduate Biology Education

On many campuses throughout the country, undergraduate biology education is in serious need of an upgrade. During the past few decades, the body of biological knowledge has grown exponentially, and as a research endeavor, the practice of biology has evolved. Education research has also made great strides, revealing many new insights into how students learn and producing effective teaching strategies. But the practice of undergraduate biology education does not reflect these advances. For many students, biology continues to be a laundry list of topics, countless new words and diagrams to memorize, and cookbook experiments to get through, rather than a conceptual understanding of the field and scientific skills. Fortunately, there are three new initiatives for improving the undergraduate biology experience for students, each targeting different segments along the education system continuum. The first of these initiatives focuses on precollege biology teaching and learning. The College Board is making significant revisions to the Advanced Placement (AP) Biology course and exam (http://advancesinap.collegeboard.org/science/biology). Teachers who were hard-pressed to cover the extensive AP Biology course outline in one year will welcome the changes. The revised AP Biology course emphasizes students' application of biological concepts, the use of quantitative reasoning, and the development of scientific skills. The final products will be officially released for use during the 2012&...
Source: Eye on Education - Category: Biology Authors: Source Type: news

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