BIO 201 is considered a ‘sieve’ class, in that it often weeds out the students who are not ready to advance to more difficult classes, and it is not uncommon for 40-50% of the class to fail, making the holes in the sieve rather large.
High school biology is the only prerequisite to enroll in BIO201 and it seems that students who have taken a BIO 156/181 prior to 201 have performed better. To evaluate this observation, an informal survey was given to students to gather information about their previous biology experience.
203 responses were obtained. The passing rate was 120/203 or 59%. 68 reported only high school biology and of these, 39 (58%) failed, well above the 41% course average. 44 (33%) of the remaining 135 students who reported a previous college science class failed.
Students who have taken a prior college biology class succeeded at a higher rate than those with only a high school biology background suggesting that students benefit substantially from a 156 or 181 class. Integrating a cell biology review into Canvas for all 201 students to complete should improve student success.