Theses Doctoral

A Study of Secondary School Students’ Participation in a Novel Course on Genomic Principles and Practices

Stefanile, Adam

Since the inception of the Human Genome Project (HGP) there has, and continues to be, rapid changes in genomics, STEM, and human health. Advances, specifically in genomics, continue to be increasingly important as new knowledge in this field has led the trajectory for significant advancements in all biological disciplines. Throughout the scientific community there is an emphasis on increasing and improving genomic concepts and literacy for grades K-12. Numerous research studies report that there is generally a low level of genetic/genomic knowledge among the general public. The purpose of this research is to analyze and document evidence of secondary school students’ participation, and educational outcomes, in a novel course on genomic principles and practices. A mixed methods approach, using qualitative and quantitative methods was used to address three research questions. 1) Based on affective evidence, how did secondary school students perceive and critically judge, content topics learned in a course on modern genomic principles and practices? 2) Based on cognitive evidence, how much of the content did secondary school students learn when they participated in a course on modern genomic principles and practices? 3) Using individual interview evidence, what are the major perceptions that the secondary school students expressed throughout the duration of the course? The results for Research Question 1 demonstrated that the students gained a significant level of new knowledge pertaining to genomics after attending the course sessions, based on their pre-and post-test Likert survey data. More particularly, they expressed more interest in, and understanding of genomic principles and practices. Concurrently, they became much more critically reflective and evaluative about some of the societal and medical implications of its applications. With respect to Research Question 2, the secondary school students’ content knowledge as measured by a 25-question multiple-choice pre-and-post test administered before and after the course demonstrated a significant increase. Lastly, the participants were provided an opportunity to comment on the course through individual and collaborative interviews, in order to find out to what extent they perceived the course to be interesting and challenging. Future inquiry expanding from this research would help to establish the foundational pathway for designing a more inclusive genomics curriculum.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Science Education
Thesis Advisors
Emdin, Christopher
Anderson, Roger N.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 22, 2020