Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)

Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 9:45 AM


MERLE-JOHNSON, Dominike1, BARROW, Lloyd1 and WHITTINGTON, Alan G.2, (1)Curriculum and Instruction:Science Education, University of Missouri-Columbia, 321L Townsend Hall, Columbia, MO 65211, (2)Geological Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, 101 Geological Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, MO 65211,

A modified version of the InVEST Volcanic Concept Survey (InVEST-VCS; Parham et al., 2010) was implemented in the fall 2010 semester in two college introductory geology courses at a Midwestern research institution. Course A is designed for geology and non-geology students, required for geology majors, and includes a laboratory component. Course B is designed for non-geology students and does not have a laboratory component. Each course had a unit in plate tectonics prior to administering the survey. We investigated: 1) whether there is a correlation between student scores and confidence level for each of the InVEST-VCS items; 2) whether there is a difference between the courses on the basis of the students’ scores. Results indicate that there is a significant, moderately positive correlation between the scores and the level of confidence for all except one of the InVEST-VCS items for Course A, while there is a significant, moderately positive correlation between the scores and the level of confidence for all of the InVEST-VCS items for Course B. One-way analysis of variance shows no significant differences between the courses and their students’ scores on the survey. The result on both courses was about 40-60% understanding for the topics covered in the survey. For both courses, knowledge items such as difference in magma and lava, and volcanic shapes had the highest scores and confidence levels, while topics associated with magma eruption processes and the role of water in magmas had the lowest scores and lowest confidence levels. We also compared our results of the survey with Parham et al., (2010). Various alternative conceptions about how volcanic systems work were found and will be further discussed.


Parham, T.L., Jr., Cervato, C., Gallus, W.A., Jr., Larsen, M., Hobbs, J., Stelling, P., Greenbowe, T., Gupta, T., Know, J.A., and Gill, T.E., 2010, The InVEST Volcanic Concept Survey: Exploring student understanding about volcanoes: Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 58, n. 3, p. 177-187.

  • Merle-Johnson D_GSA 2011 presentation_v3.ppt (659.5 kB)