Evaluation of the Validity and Reliability of the Evo Devo Concept Inventory (Visiting Scholar)
Evolutionary developmental biology (evo devo) is an emerging field of scientific investigation into the mechanisms underlying the origin of novel characteristics and the conservation of genetic material across diverse phyla. This field has generated new ideas and technologies that life-science students must understand if they are to fully comprehend evolution. Undergraduate courses have slowly integrated themes in evolution and development, but few tools are available to instructors to evaluate students’ mastery of these concepts effectively. Concept inventories are tools that allow instructors to identify specific misconceptions that students hold so they can adapt instruction and alleviate these misconceptions. My current research is identifying the key concepts of evo devo life-science majors should understand and is aimed at developing the Evolutionary Development Concept Inventory (EDCI), which would allow instructors to identify evo devo misconceptions. As a graduate fellow, my experience developing the EDCI will be a valuable asset to the Evo CI Working Group which is developing a similar concept inventory, the Evo Devo CI. While similar, our concept inventories differ in the specific concepts that are evaluated. Combining data sets will lead to a tool with a more complete measure of student understanding of evo devo. During the fellowship, I will be responsible for the necessary evaluation of validity and reliability of the Evo Devo CI. Once all diagnostic tests are within acceptable ranges, the Evo Devo CI can be provided for public use to life-science instructors nationwide.