Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2023

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master's of Science in Teaching (MST)


Science and Mathematics Education


Asli Sezen-Barrie

Second Committee Member

Sara Lindsay

Third Committee Member

Franziska Peterson


Quantitative reasoning (QR) is a crucial competency as undergraduate biology students complete their academic program and enter a workforce increasingly reliant on analyses of vast and complex data sets. The need to prepare biology majors for the 21st century workforce was cited in Vision and Change: a Call to Action (American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS], 2011). The Vision and Change document also advocated for curriculum reform to incorporate QR instruction in undergraduate biology programs. Biology education researchers answered this call with a wealth of research examining undergraduate QR competencies, barriers and challenges to QR learning in students, QR assessment tools, and limited QR resources for instruction. The extent to which biology faculty are familiar with the call to include QR instruction in their courses, their conceptualization of QR, and their perception of student readiness for QR success are not well characterized, and formed the basis of this research. We examined three facets of biology faculty experience in QR, using semi-structured, in-depth interviews of fifteen biology faculty who teach in the introductory biology sequence. First, we sought to characterize how participants conceptualized QR, second, we asked participants what QR competencies were crucial for success in introductory biology, and third we asked participants how prepared they felt students were for QR success in these courses. Participant conceptualizations of QR aligned well with the competencies called for in curriculum reform, but participants also indicated they found many students unprepared for QR success in their introductory courses. These findings suggest that biology faculty would benefit from professional development in QR curricula, as well as from increased amounts and diversity of QR resources for the classroom.