HPU Biology Research Suggests Dual Domain Pedagogy Can Promote Classroom Equity

Faculty members in HPU’s Department of Biology recently completed research on various classroom teaching methods to determine impacts on performance for underrepresented groups of students. Pictured top left to right are Dr. Dinene Crater, Dr. Y. Kevin Suh, Dr. Neil Coffield and Dr. Veronica Segarra. Pictured bottom left to right are Dr. Todd Lyda, Dr. Angela Bauer, Dr. Cindy Vigueira and Dr. Patrick Vigueira.


Growth mindset messaging supports a more inclusive academic environment.

HIGH POINT, N.C., Mar. 3, 2020 – Dr. Angela Bauer, professor and founding dean of High Point University’s Wanek School of Natural Sciences, and other faculty members in HPU’s Department of Biology recently completed research on various classroom teaching methods to determine impacts on performance for underrepresented groups of students.

The study was published in the American Society for Cell Biology’s Life Science Education, a leading peer-reviewed journal in STEM instruction. To read the full study, visit https://www.lifescied.org/doi/full/10.1187/cbe.19-07-0134.  

Titled, “Fostering Equitable Outcomes in Introductory Biology Courses through Use of a Dual Domain Pedagogy,” the study was conducted with HPU’s Dr. Neil Coffield, Dr. Dinene Crater, Dr. Todd Lyda, Dr. Veronica Segarra, Dr. Y. Kevin Suh, Dr. Cindy Vigueira and Dr. Patrick Vigueira.

In education, there are three domains of learning, including the cognitive domain (knowledge), the affective domain (attitude) and the psychomotor domain (skills).

“In this study, we introduce Dual Domain Pedagogy (DDP), a novel pedagogy developed that combines the cognitive and affective domains of learning,” says Bauer. “We wanted to examine how this instructional approach can reduce or close performance gaps in STEM fields.”

The affective domain of learning, originally described as the actions, feelings and thoughts students develop as a result of the instructional process, is considered to be the gateway to learning.

“We wanted to understand how weekly growth mindset messaging impacted the affective domain of learning, when coupled with best practices for addressing the cognitive domain of learning,” says Bauer.

The study examines academic performance of students from different racial/ethnic groups in response to three different pedagogies in introductory biology courses, including lecture only, active learning only and DDP. The results indicate significant interaction between pedagogy and race/ethnicity in the introductory biology courses, with DDP being the pedagogical condition that completely eliminated the academic performance gap between black and white students.

“When instructors take intentional steps to address the affective domain of learning, as we have with DDP, the gains can be significant,” says Bauer.

While the results report the powerful impact of DDP on closing performance gaps, additional research is needed on the affective domain of learning in STEM classrooms.

“Not only will greater understanding of this pedagogy allow us to discover new ways to foster a more equitable classroom environment and ultimately educate a more diverse array of scientists and health care professionals, but it will also better prepare all graduates—regardless of their race/ethnicity—with the skills necessary for success, including self-awareness, appreciation for diversity, listening skills and change readiness, once they graduate from our institutions,” says Bauer.

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