Educational or Curriculum

The Great Diseases Curriculum

Initiative Description: An innovative high school biology curriculum focused on infectious disease (ID) to examine the health literacy implications of teaching claims evaluation, data interpretation, and risk assessment skills in the context of 21st-Century health science. Targeted to Biology II, commonly an elective course without a prescribed syllabus, the Great Diseases curriculum focuses on four globally significant diseases (infectious disease (ID), cancer, metabolic disease, and neurological disorders). Each stand-alone module occupies about 6 weeks and teachers can implement any combination. The curriculum uses active inquiry and case studies in order to promote transfer of learning between different contexts.

Study Result: Participants in each school setting demonstrated increases in conceptual content knowledge (Cohen’s d > 1.89) as well as in understanding how to apply scientific principles to health claims evaluation and risk assessment (Cohen’s d > 1.76) and in self-efficacy toward learning about ID.

Reference: Jacque, B., Koch-Weser, S., Faux, R., & Meiri, K. (2016). Addressing health literacy challenges with a cutting-edge infectious disease curriculum for the high school biology classroom. Health Education & Behavior, 43(1), 43–53.

Level of Evidence: 2 out of 5 stars Good