Document Type

Research Paper

Date of Completion

Summer 7-28-2021



Faculty Mentor

Dr. David Donley


The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) met in 2009 to hold the Vision and Change (V&C) conference to organize the Biology education under common concepts and competencies. The concepts direct content knowledge, while the competencies direct acquisition of cross-disciplinary skills Many undergraduate biology majors choose to pursue graduate training in health professions - including medicine . The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) released a document describing content and abilities needed to be successful on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). The MCAT is divided into four sections: one critical analysis section, and three science sections. The AAMC document outlined three foundational concepts to biology and four skills applicable to all science sections and bear many similarities to the core concepts and competencies of V&C. This study sought to qualitatively analyze the similarities between the MCAT and V&C standards, and examine how they apply to Harding University’s introductory biology lab, Principles of Biology Laboratory. Significant overlap was seen between the V&C and MCAT principles, emphasizing the importance of learning these lessons. The Harding University Principles of Biology lab integrates many of the tenets of V&C and the MCAT in each of its lab activities to ensure a holistic understanding of biology and prepare students for their future as it relates to the field. The bacterial interactions lab was examined specifically and included quantitative reasoning, modeling and simulation, communication and collaboration, structure and function,, while also preparing students for techniques used in upper level courses. The study plans to quantitatively examine the perceived effectiveness and actual effectiveness of the course to students who have taken it. This will ensure students are adequately prepared for their future as it relates to the field and further refine the course to ensure effective curriculum is being used.

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Vision&ChangeBio1500L.pdf (493 kB)
Poster Presentation