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UW- Biology Education Research Group
My research interests focus on how to help students learn Biology. The 2001 findings of the National Research Council on How People Learn, indicated that three areas are critical to student learning; confronting misconceptions students hold about the discipline, creating a framework to organize facts of the discipline, and enhancing student metacognition (monitoring their learning).
To help students build more robust and mechanistic understanding of physiology, I have integrated the use of General Models (GM) (Modell 2001)into all my classes. My initial research shows that students who use GM when answering exam questions provide more robust answers that earn more points. I also have students create Summary Sheets, a pictorial form of concept map, to help them form connections between the various parts of each physiological system.
To encourage metacogniton, I have students do weekly reflective paragraphs on what they have learned (not memorized) each week.
My colleagues and I recently developed the Blooming Biology Tool (BBT), an assessment tool based on Bloom
Mary Pat Wenderoth is a Teaching Professor in the Biology Department at the University of Washington, Seattle (UW) where she teaches animal physiology courses and conducts biology education research on how students learn biology. Her main research interests focus on assessing implementation of cognitive science principles in the classroom, particularly those associated with conceptual change, use of first principles in constructing conceptual frameworks in physiology and student metacognition. She also does research on academic achievement gaps in STEM and effectiveness of professional development efforts to close those gaps. She received the UW Distinguished Teaching Award in 2001and has served as the co-director of the UW Teaching Academy. She was recognized by the National Association of Biology Teachers as the Biology Education Researcher of 2017. She received the Claude Bernard Distinguished Lectureship of the American Physiology Society Teaching of Physiology Section in 2019. She is co-founder of the UW Biology Education Research Group (UW BERG) and the national Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER). She served as a facilitator at the HHMI Summer Institute for Undergraduate Biology Education from 2007 -2011. Dr. Wenderoth earned her B.S. in Biology from the Catholic Univeristy of America in Washington D.C., a M.S. in Women’s Studies from George Washington University, a M.S. in Exercise Physiology from Purdue University and her Ph.D. in Physiology from Rush University in Chicago.