Research Output

An investigation into ways of encouraging the development of higher level cognitive skills in undergraduate biology students with reference to the Perry Scheme of Intellectual Development.

  This project initially focused on a group poster presentation exercise which
had the development of higher cognitive skills as its aims. A holistic approach
was undertaken to the exercise which involved considering the relationship
between all aspects of the instructional method with respect to the undergraduate
biology students developing skills of analysis, synthesis, relating and applying
knowledge, in addition, to their developing communication and group skills.
The project involved modifying, monitoring and evaluating a number of
different aspects of the exercise over a period of four years including the
assessment and instructional methods and level of staff support given to the
students. The resultant instructional method involved students working in
groups on a problem based challenge, using peer group assessments and
undertaking peer group questioning and discussion sessions, the implications of
which are discussed in this project.
A questionnaire measure of intellectual development was devised for this
project, based on the Perry Scheme of Intellectual Development which aimed to
investigate the different groups of students' approaches to the exercise and to
match individual student's needs with the most appropriate staff support. The
Perry Scheme describes how students develop from an absolute or simplistic
stance on the nature of knowledge to one which is more pluralistic and
contextual. These differing perceptions influence the role which students adopt
and also the way in which they perceive the role of others within the learning
environment. This research project tested both students undertaking the poster
exercise and also students at different stages of their biology course over a period
of two years.
This project identified a link between the roles which students adopted
during the poster exercise and their stage of intellectual development. In
addition, changes in individual student attitudes and preferences towards
different teaching and assessment methods were identified which supported and
complimented the descriptions outlined by Perry.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    30 November 1994

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    LB2300 Higher Education

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    378 Higher education


Harvey, J. M. higher level cognitive skills in undergraduate biology students with reference to the Perry Scheme of Intellectual Development. (Thesis)


Biology students; cognitive skills; intellectual development; Perry;

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