Understanding Differences in Underrepresented Minorities and First Generation Student Perceptions in the Introductory Biology Classroom

Jantzer et al. / Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education / October 2021

The authors used quantitative methods to better understand the perceptions of students in an introductory biology course (Biology 101) at a small, liberal arts college (SLAC) that is also a primarily white institution (PWI). In pre/post surveys, they asked students questions related to their attitudes and beliefs about their professor, classmates, and Biology 101. The authors were especially interested in the responses and outcomes of underrepresented minorities (URM) and first-generation (FG) students. Findings suggest URM and FG students have a decreased sense of belonging and increased perceptions of exclusion and differential treatment due to race. These findings can explain, in part, the disparity in Biology 101 grade and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) attrition.