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Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education

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Chemistry -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Research, Chemistry -- Curriculum -- Assessment, Group work in education, Student-centered learning


Measuring students’ perceptions of active learning activities may provide valuable insight into their engagement and subsequent performance outcomes. A recently published measure, the Assessing Student Engagement in Class Tool (ASPECT), was developed to assess student perceptions of various active learning environments. As such, we sought to use this measure in our courses to assess the students’ perceptions of different active learning environments. Initial results analyzed with confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) indicated that the ASPECT did not function as expected in our active learning environments. Therefore, before administration within an introductory biology course that incorporated two types of active learning strategies, additional items were created and the wording of some original items were modified to better align with the structure of each strategy, thereby producing two modified ASPECT (mASPECT) versions. Evidence of response process validity of the data collected was analyzed using cognitive interviews with students, while internal structure validity evidence was assessed through exploratory factor analysis (EFA). When data were collected after a “deliberative democracy” (DD) activity, 17 items were found to contribute to 3 factors related to ‘personal effort’, ‘value of the environment’, and ‘instructor contribution’. However, data collected after a “clicker” day resulted in 21 items that contributed to 4 factors, 3 of which were similar to the DD activity, and a fourth was related to ‘social influence’. Overall, these results suggested that the same measure may not function identically when used within different types of active learning environments, even with the same population, and highlights the need to collect data validity evidence when adopting and/or adapting measures.


Copyright© 2021 Naibert et al.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license.



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