Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences

Information below relates to broad assessment tools that are not course-specific. There are also numerous assessment tools being developed and implemented for specific courses (see the Course Transformation page).

Student Perceptions about Earth Sciences Survey (SPESS)

We developed a survey to gauge the students' perceptions about learning earth, ocean & atmospheric sciences. Administered in both majors- and non-majors courses early in the term (pre-) and late in the term (post-) to measure the effects of courses on student attitudes. The survey has been administered in >25 courses both at UBC and other institutions. More than 6000 students have participated. SPESS has been fully validated by expert responses and student interviews. The survey consists of 29 statements, which have been grouped in seven categories based on reduced basis factor analysis from student survey responses.

PDFSPESS: A New Instrument For Measuring Student Perceptions In Earth and Ocean Science - Alison Jolley, Erin Lane, Ben Kennedy, Tom-Pierre Frappé, Journal of Geoscience Education, Vol. 60, pp. 83–91 (2012).

measuring student engagement

We developed an objective, quantitative classroom observation protocol to measure student engagement in a large first year Oceanography course. Observation data show that student engagement is strongly correlated to teaching practices and is higher when instructors employ active learning techniques. Observations of three instructors with different teaching expertise showed similar trends in engagement. The classroom observation data help identify best teaching practices and provide continual feedback to instructors.

PDFPaper (2015): A New Tool for Measuring Student Behavioral Engagement in Large University Classes, Erin Lane and Sara Harris, Journal of College Science Teaching, Vol. 44(6), pp. 83-91 (2015).

Midterm and End of Term Student Surveys

This project is aimed at sharing what we learn about the best ways of asking and using student feedback. Evidence-based teaching means searching for ways evaluating how well teaching efforts are helping students learn, AND reacting to what is discovered. As the EOAS Science Education Initiative progresses, we are constantly trying to improve the usefulness of feedback requested and received from students.

PDFPoster (July 2009): Design and Use of Midterm and End of Term Student Surveys to Improve Learning - Francis Jones; presented at The International Conference on Improving University Teaching (IUT), Vancouver BC, July 14-17, 2009.

Exit Survey

An online survey has been developed for graduating 4th year EOAS students from all streams. Data will provide us with student perspectives on the EOAS academic programs, career goals and curriculum recommendations. This information will help us improve our program structure, content, and courses. The survey was initiated in April 2009 and administered annually since then. Results 2009–2014 have been processed and summarized.