Scientific Inquiry Skills in First Year Biology: Building on Pre-Tertiary Skills or Back to Basics?

Mary Familari, Karen Burke Da Silva, Gerry Rayner, Jeanne Young, Arwen Cross, Tania Blanksby

Abstract


The introduction of the Australian secondary education curricula (ACARA, 2012) provided a unique opportunity to benchmark first year biology across the tertiary sector. Specifically we asked will first-year undergraduate subjects build on and offer further development of the skills and capacities that students will acquire once the Australian curriculum is implemented? The answer to this question has important implications for student transition to, and success at university. Overall first year biology subjects are well placed to build on the skills that pre-tertiary students bring with them when the national senior biology curriculum is fully implemented. However if secondary schools choose to focus on open inquiry methods, then given the status of current curricula, universities will not build on the skills developed at secondary level, and curriculum developers need to aware of this potential difference. Other notable differences and their implications for first year biology courses are highlighted.

Full Text:

PDF