Impact of Learning Assistants on Student Satisfaction and Performance in an Upper Level Biology Class
The educators at the University of Colorado, Boulder, introduced the Learning Assistant (LA) Program in 2003. Since then, many other schools have adopted the program in an effort to establish active learning in undergraduate courses. These courses mainly include freshman level, introductory courses in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) field and in recent years has spread to other disciplines and upper level courses. Learning assistants are upper-level students who are trained in pedagogy and teaching techniques in hopes that they could help lower-level students. At Baylor, learning assistants are a newly implemented program and they are used in upper level biology courses, which is not common in programs at other universities. Knowing this, the students’ opinions and feelings towards LAs and the course in Genetics (Bio 2306) were surveyed and analyzed. Analysis were focused around answering two questions, Satisfaction with learning assistants will be positively correlated with satisfaction with the course (H1) and Satisfaction with the course will be higher, on average, in the course with learning assistants than the one without (H2).