Student-centered pedagogies increase learning and retention. Quantifying change in both student learning gains and student perception of their experience allows faculty to evaluate curricular transformation more fully. Student buy-in, particularly how much students value and enjoy the active learning process, has been positively associated with engagement in active learning and increased learning gains. We hypothesize that as the frequency of students who have successfully completed the course increases in the student population, current students may be more likely to buy-in to the curriculum because this common experience could create a sense of community. We measured learning gains and attitudes during the transformation of an introductory biology course at a small, liberal arts college using our novel curriculum, Integrating Biology and Inquiry Skills (IBIS). Students perceived substantial learning gains in response to this curriculum, and concept assessments confirmed these gains. Over time, buy-in increased with each successive cohort, as demonstrated by the results of multiple assessment instruments, and students increasingly attributed specific components of the curriculum to their learning. These findings support our hypothesis and should encourage the adoption of curricular transformation using IBIS or other student-centered approaches. © 2019 Shaw et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Shaw T.J., Yang S., Nash T.R., Pigg R.M., Grim J.M. (2019) Knowing is half the battle: Assessments of both student perception and performance are necessary to successfully evaluate curricular transformation. PLoS ONE 14: -. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0210030