Thesis Title

Effectiveness of Dissecton Alternatives for Middle School Science Students

Graduation Date

Fall 2005

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD


Preserved animal dissection in the classroom has become controversial in recent years as critics have voiced objections including animal pain and suffering and student squeamishness (Balcombe, 2001; Nobis, 2002). This study compared the achievement of two groups of 7lh grade students in a rural Northern California middle school: one that dissected preserved animals, and one that dissected animals online. In addition, pre-dissection and post-dissection surveys were administered to determine student attitudes, changes in attitude during the dissection unit, and correlation between achievement and attitude. The preserved animal dissection group had higher scores on post-dissection assessments than the online dissection group, similar to results rep by Kariuki & Paulson (1993); however, t-test analysis indicated that the difference m achievement between the two groups was not significant. Analysis of survey responses demonstrated that student attitudes generally did not change significantly during the course of the dissection unit, although one class showed less of a preference for animal dissection, one class found that disgust interfered with their learning, and the seventh grade as a whole found dissection to be less fascinating than they anticipated. The relationship between achievement on post-dissection assessments and attitude as indicated by survey responses was analyzed with the Pearson correlation formula, and the only strong correlation was a negative relationship between fascination with dissection and achievement on the assess

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