Xuemei Ye, Undergraduate Student

Assessing Ecological Literacy of Introductory Biology Students


The Problem

  • High ecological literacy is important to prepare scientifically literate citizens and decision-makers.
  • Recent work indicates that the level of scientific, including ecological, literacy among the general population is not known, and that it is likely too low to enable effective societal responses to current problems.
  • In college, because introductory biology is often the only course that students take that explicitly includes ecological concepts, college introductory biology educators have an opportunity to increase student ecological literacy.

Research Question

  • What level of ecological literacy do underclass science majors have?
  • What demographic factors are related to ecological literacy?
  • Does taking introductory organismal biology increase ecological literacy?


  • Pre-/post-survey design with questions about student attitudes and perceptions of the environment as well as ecological knowledge and skills.
  • Respondents: Introductory Organismal Biology students.
  • Compared responses pre- and post-taking Biology and calculated learning gains.


MSU Lyman Briggs College Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

Current Employment/Schooling

Xuemei is currently in medical school at the Jefferson Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA.