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Statistical analysis in advanced special and advanced level Biology in England

Tynan, R Statistical analysis in advanced special and advanced level Biology in England. In: EDULEARN24 Conference Proceedings . (Edulearn24, 16th annual International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, 1-3 July 2024, Palma, Majorca, Spain). (Accepted)

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The education white paper of 2010 [1] initiated reforms to curriculum design and assessment for schools in England. This re-established subject disciplines as the unit for school curriculum design, and written end-of-course examinations as the sole method for assessing substantive and discipline knowledge at General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) and General Certificate of Education Advanced Special/Advanced (GCE AS/A) Level [1]. This reflected the importance that central policy makers in England placed upon learners experiencing different research methodologies and content areas and acknowledged the challenges previously experienced by teachers in schools and colleges if coursework and practical examinations contributed to external qualifications [1]. Due to the variability of living organisms, it can be argued that biology disciplinary knowledge is underpinned by statistical analysis [2]. Biological investigations often require randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and the use of statistical analysis [2] to establish new knowledge.

This paper reviews the Assessment Quality Association (AQA) GCE AS/A Level Biology specification for assessment from 2016 [3] as typical of the specifications compliant with the aims of the English government’s white paper [1]. It considers the requirement on learners to be able to use statistical analysis and the substantive knowledge this supports. Learning, teaching, and assessment (LTA) approaches that have been used to deliver the examination specification [3] are discussed, drawing upon experiences with learners in secondary schools and colleges, and with pre-service science teachers on initial teacher education (ITE) programmes.

The statistical requirement [3] emphasises the importance of learners selecting and using appropriate statistical methods and the interpretation of findings to reach valid statistical conclusions. Assessment does not intend that learners remember formulae or methods. This paper considers the use of comparison of means, Chi-squared analysis, and Spearman’s Rank Correlation to support the study of animal behaviour, genetics, evolution, ecology, and disease treatment.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Statistical analysis; A Level; Biology; chi-squared; correlation; t-test; random sampling; substantive knowledge.; disciplinary knowledge
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Q Science > QA Mathematics
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Education
Publisher: IATED
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2024 10:35
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2024 11:47
DOI or ID number: 10.21125/edulearn.2024
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/23423
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