Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Teaching, Learning, and Technology

First Adviser

Bodzin, Alec M.

Other advisers/committee members

Hammond, Thomas C.; Sawyer, L Brook; Swann, Jennifer


An online curriculum about biological evolution was designed according to the Promoting Evidentiary Reasoning and Self-regulation Online (PERSON) theoretical framework. PERSON is an attempt to develop online science instruction focused on supporting evidentiary reasoning and self-regulation. An efficacy study was conducted with 80 suburban high school biology students using a design-based research approach to develop a curriculum to promote biological evolution understandings, evidentiary reasoning, and self-regulation. Data sources and instruments included (1) the Biological Evolution Assessment Measurement (BEAM); (2) the modified Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ); (3) discussion forum posts; (4) formative assessments of evidence based reasoning; (5) Prediction, Monitoring, and Reflection forms (PMR); (6) the Online Instruction Questionnaire; and (7) field notes. Findings revealed that BEAM posttest scores were significantly greater than pretest scores for items designed to measure biological evolution content knowledge and evidentiary reasoning. Students tracked in a lower level biology course showed improvement in biological evolution understandings and evidentiary reasoning. It was found that performance on daily evidentiary reasoning tasks strongly predicted BEAM posttest scores. However, findings revealed that students did not meet local standards for performance on items designed to measure evidentiary reasoning. Students expressed a variety of opinions about their learning experiences with the online curriculum. Some students expressed a definite preference for traditional learning environments, while others expressed a definite preference for online learning. Self-regulatory ability did not significantly predict BEAM gain scores. Further, self-regulatory ability was not demonstrably improved as a result of this intervention. Implications for designing science instruction in asynchronous online learning environments to support evidentiary reasoning and self-regulation are discussed.