EVALUATION OF GENETICS KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING AMONG UNDERGRADUATE SCIENCE STUDENTS IN DERNA, LIBYA
Naglea A. E. Lagehr* and Salma A. Lajhar
With increasing the significant of genetics in daily life, it becomes necessary to pay more attention towards the subject of genetics in the school of sciences and medical institutes. The aim of the current study was to assess understanding of genetics among 115 students in majors (N= 47 students) and non-majors (N= 68 students) genetics courses and identify topics that could be challenging for them to learn. At the end of the academic year 2019-2020, undergraduate students from year two to year four at five different schools were asked 30 multiple-choice questions under six categories (Fundamentals of genetics, DNA as the genetic material, nucleic acid molecules genetic information, the central dogma outlines the flow of genetic information, genome organization, double stranded DNA forms a double helix, chromosome structure and cell division). Results showed that the average of Difficulty index (DI) values for 115 students was 0.7, 0.55, 0.43, 0.25, 0.15, and 0.51 for category 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 respectively, with genetics students had significantly higher DI value for category 2, 4 and 6 (P value <0·05) than non-genetics major participants. The study suggests that genetics is a challenging course because of its abstract nature, necessity to link information from different topics, memorizing its unique vocabularies, similarities between topics, complexity of language, confusion over phases and teaching efficacy. Overall, data presented here provided insight into factors that could make genetics a difficult course in Derna, Libya and identified topics that pose challenges for students to learn.
Keywords: Genetics, non-genetics major, challenging course, difficulty, Libya.
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