• Mediating Students’ Fixation with Grades in an Inquiry-Based Undergraduate Biology Course

      DeFeo, Dayna Jean; Tran, Trang C.; Gerken, Sarah (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-09-29)
      The paper analyzes focus group data to explore student perceptions of an inquiry-based undergraduate biology course. Though the course was designed to mimic the scientific process by incorporating uncertainty, peer review, and self-reflection, students came to class focused on getting As and with a developed schema for didactic instruction and passive learning. They perceived the autonomy and self-directedness of the learning experience as a threat to their grades, and responded with strategies that protected their grades and ego, but were deleterious to learning. Students could identify merits of the inquiry-based approach; however, they made clear: they prioritized grades, and were unwilling to trust an unfamiliar pedagogy if they perceived it jeopardized their grades. In the framework of self-regulated learning, the discussion considers how to scaffold students to foreground learning over achievement.