Life Sciences (Departments of Botany, Microbiology & Immunology, Zoology)

Assessment and evaluation:

Below are some 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).

Concept Inventory: Jared Taylor and Liz Imrie with help from George Spiegelman developed gene regulation concept inventory in BIOL 112 which has now been validated and is being deployed in some large classroom settings. Additionally, the inventory is being deployed in MICB 325 as both a pre and post-test.

Malin Hansen developed a concept inventory in population and community ecology which has been validated and is used to evaluate the effectiveness of in-class activities in both BIOL 121 and BIOL 230.

Ad hoc concept inventories have been developed and implemented in BIOL 260.

Questions for Biology - CWSEI is involved in this collaborative effort to develop concept inventories for biology
PDFPoster (CWSEI EOY 2012): Developing Concept Inventories for Biology

4th year Biology Satisfaction Survey: Evaluation of Student Satisfaction and Skills by Harald Yurk and Gülnur Birol provided evidence about student satisfaction and areas for improvement in the program.

Attitudinal Survey: The CLASS pre and post biology attitude surveys have been used in several first, second, and fourth year courses between 2009 and 2013. This is part of a longitudinal study where we investigate shifts in students' attitudes towards biology from first to fourth year. The survey was designed to gain a better understanding of first-year students’ attitudes towards learning Biology. It is a tool to investigate how instruction in Biology fosters “expert thinking” in students.

Ecological Attitude Surveys: Harald Yurk conducted surveys on ecological attitudes of students before and after ecology instruction and at different program levels 1st, 3rd, and 4th year, and grad students. The survey use was based on the learning goal that ecology education should build an informed citizenry which can be measured as an attitude change towards environmental issues.

Natural Selection Conceptual Understanding: Harald Yurk assessed conceptual understanding of natural selection in 1st and 3rd year students before and after instruction, using a multiple choice survey (Conceptual Inventory of Natural Selection, CINS, developed at San Diego State University). The CINS measures the presence and absence of the seven key principles of natural selection plus three other concepts that are related to natural selection but are not considered key concepts, such as speciation. Harald also used another short answer instrument in BIOL 336 to test for common misconceptions about natural selection.

Focus Group Interviews: e.g. BIOL 111, BIOL 121, BIOL 201, 4th year students (2007-2009)