Supporting High School Student Accomplishment of Biology Content Using Interactive Computer-Based Curricular Case Studies Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2017 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Research into the efficacy of modules featuring dynamic visualizations, case studies, and interactive learning environments is reported here. This quasi-experimental 2-year study examined the implementation of three interactive computer-based instructional modules within a curricular unit covering cellular biology concepts in an introductory high school biology course. The modules featured dynamic visualizations and focused on three processes that underlie much of cellular biology: diffusion, osmosis, and filtration. Pre-tests and post-tests were used to assess knowledge growth across the unit. A mixture Rasch model analysis of the post-test data revealed two groups of students. In both years of the study, a large proportion of the students were classified as low-achieving based on their pre-test scores. The use of the modules in the Cell Unit in year 2 was associated with a much larger proportion of the students having transitioned to the high-achieving group than in year 1. In year 2, the same teachers taught the same concepts as year 1 but incorporated the interactive computer-based modules into the cell biology unit of the curriculum. In year 2, 67% of students initially classified as low-achieving were classified as high-achieving at the end of the unit. Examination of responses to assessments embedded within the modules as well as post-test items linked transition to the high-achieving group with correct responses to items that both referenced the visualization and the contextualization of that visualization within the module. This study points to the importance of dynamic visualization within contextualized case studies as a means to support student knowledge acquisition in biology.

altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Oliver, J. S., Hodges, G. W., Moore, J. N., Cohen, A., Jang, Y., Brown, S. A., ... Robertson, T. P.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • November 2017
  • January 1, 2017 11:11 AM