Students’ Comprehension of Science Concepts Depicted in Textbook Illustrations

Michelle Cook, Ph.D.


Visual representations are commonly used in science instruction to enhance
learning. In this study, 86 high school biology students were asked to study an
illustration of meiosis to determine their ability to recognize, understand, and interpret
textbook images. Data collected from interview and written responses to questions
revealed that while the task helped them learn about the topic of meiosis in terms of
labeling structures and describing the phases, students were unable to communicate an
understanding of the overall purpose of meiosis. The findings of this study have
implications for the design and scaffolding of visual representations.


Comprehension;Science Concepts;Textbooks;Illustrations;Education

Full Text: