WEST LAFAYETTE - Purdue University College of Education researchers have landed a three-year grant of more than $1 million. The funding from the National Science Foundation will support a study examining difficulty students have understanding scientific evidence.

Researchers will look at the ability of high school and undergraduate students to understand evidence in the context of biology teaching and learning while working with instructors. The project will be led by Ala Samarapungavan, a professor of educational psychology and research methodology.

Samarapungavan says instructors sometimes assume scientific evidence is self-evident to students, so they don't teach enough about the practice and standards for collecting and evaluating evidence. She says the research findings should help instructors better prepare students who are interested in STEM fields by providing "a framework of tools for instruction."

Others taking part in the research include associate professor of biology Nancy Pelaez, assistant professor of biology Stephanie Gardner and professor of agricultural and biological engineering and technology leadership and innovation Kari Clase.