How Proficient are ISU Non-Science Majors in Scientific Literacy Skills Prior to Their General Education Science Course?

Publication Date


Document Type



Biological Sciences


Rebekka Gougis

Mentor Department

Biological Sciences


Scientific literacy is the ability to recognize and analyze the use of methods of inquiry that lead to scientific knowledge and the ability to organize, analyze, and interpret qualitative data and scientific information (Gormally, Brickman, & Lutz, 2012). Illinois State University's general education learning program outcomes include fostering intellectual and practical skills allowing students to: make informed judgements, analyze data, to examine research questions and test hypotheses, and report information effectively and responsibly ( These general education objectives align with the definition of scientific literacy. This research focuses on the proficiency of non-science majors' scientific literacy at the beginning of the general education science course. At the beginning of the course BSC 101: Fundamental Concepts of Biology, we administered the Test of Scientific Literacy Skills (TOSLS, Gormally et al., 2012) via Qualtrics. This presentation will identify areas of scientific literacy that are particularly unsatisfactory at the start of general education science courses.



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