The process of meiosis is an essential topic that secondary and postsecondary students struggle with. The important meiosis-related concepts of homology, ploidy, and segregation can be described using the DNA Triangle framework, which connects them to the multidimensional nature of DNA (chromosomal, molecular, and informational levels). We have previously established that undergraduate biology students typically fail to describe and/or link appropriate levels to their explanations of meiosis. We hypothesize that students' understanding mirrors the resources they are given – in other words, textbook figures often lack many of the important connections that experts include when talking about meiosis. Prior work showed that text in meiosis chapters typically fails to include many concepts that experts consider important, so we examined how textbook figures present meiosis concepts. We found that almost all textbook representations include the chromosomal level of DNA, but few include the other levels, even to illustrate concepts that are rooted in informational and/or molecular levels. In particular, the molecular level of DNA was absent from nearly all introductory textbook figures examined, and the informational level was seldom depicted in mid/upper-level textbook figures. The previously established deficits in text portions of textbooks are clearly not compensated by their accompanying illustrations.
Department, Program, or Center
Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences (COS)
Wright LK, Dy GEC, Newman DL (2020). Undergraduate Textbook Representations of Meiosis Neglect Essential Elements. Am Biol Teacher 82(5):296-305. doi: 10.1525/abt.2020.82.5.296
RIT – Main Campus