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Abstract

This study was undertaken to determine whether a biology preparatory course given at an urban community college was helping students to develop the proper skills and background necessary for them to successfully complete follow-up courses in biology. A group of students who enrolled in a biology preparatory course, and subsequently, a follow-up anatomy and physiology or general biology course (experimental group) was compared to a group of students who should have registered for the preparatory course, but who enrolled directly into the anatomy and physiology or general biology course (control group). It was shown that there was no significant difference in their anatomy and physiology or general biology grades. Furthermore, only 16% of the initial group of preparatory students enrolled in and passed a follow-up biology course. Examination of the preparatory group using discriminant analysis ascertained that mathematics score was the principle discriminator between pass/fail groups. A stepwise multiple regression analysis of the variables explaining the preparatory grade showed that mathematics score, reading score, and type of high school degree explained 33% of the variance. Of the students who did pass the preparatory course and enrolled in a follow-up biology class, their preparatory grade was a good predictor of their achievement (measured by follow-up course grade), as determined by multiple regression.