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Computer-based and computer-assisted tests to assess procedural and conceptual knowledge. Richard C. Rayne and Glenn Baggott School of Biological and Chemical Sciences Birkbeck College, University of London, WC1E 7HX, UK [email protected] Pedagogical Problem….

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computer based and computer assisted tests to assess procedural and conceptual knowledge

Computer-based and computer-assisted tests to assess procedural and conceptual knowledge

Richard C. Rayne and Glenn Baggott

School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Birkbeck College, University of London, WC1E 7HX, UK

[email protected]

pedagogical problem
Pedagogical Problem…
  • Biosciences are essentially practical and experimental subjects
  • Biosciences undergraduates therefore must develop abilities to:
    • acquire and apply procedural knowledge
    • demonstrate understanding of concepts that underpin procedures
    • use procedural knowledge in appropriate contexts; i.e. to develop strategic knowledge within the domain
slide3

Knowledge framework

c.f. Shavelson et al. (2002) EARLI/Northumbria Conference keynote address

declarative knowledge
Declarative knowledge…
  • “Knowing that…”
    • a fact-base, or knowledge store
procedural knowledge
Procedural knowledge…
  • “Knowing how to do something”
  • Consists of…
    • if/then rules
    • sequence of steps
  • Calls upon…
    • declarative knowledge
schematic knowledge
Schematic knowledge…
  • Having a scientifically justifiable conception, i.e. “knowing why”
  • May be used to…
    • interpret problems
    • troubleshoot
    • explain an outcome
    • predict an outcome
  • Depends on…
    • having an understanding of principles
      • “conceptual knowledge” = combination of declarative and procedural knowledge
strategic knowledge
Strategic knowledge…
  • Knowing when, where and how to use certain types of knowledge in a new situation
    • conditional knowledge, strategies
      • what strategic knowledge is applicable here?
    • essential for solving new problems
conceptual knowledge
“Conceptual knowledge”…*
  • a subset of schematic knowledge
    • taken to equate to “understanding the basis for a particular procedure”

* as I have used in the abstract

slide9

Knowledge framework

c.f. Shavelson et al. (2002) EARLI/Northumbria Conference keynote address

a key aim
A key aim…
  • Exploit the strengths of CBA to promote development of procedural and conceptual knowledge in biosciences students
  • Context…
    • first-year module: Molecular Cell Biology
    • using “case-based” approaches in different forms
two approaches
Two Approaches
  • TRIADS CBA focusing on a “classic experiment”
    • Meselson-Stahl experiment: outcome simple, but to appreciate its power requires understanding of several sophisticated principles
  • CaseIT! simulation software
    • to teach and assess procedural and conceptual knowledge of key molecular biology techniques
    • http://www.uwrf.edu/caseit/caseit.html
caseit
CaseIT!
  • Virtual molecular biology lab
    • “apparatus” for performing separation of DNA fragments and for identification of specific DNA sequences
    • apply molecular biology techniques in the context of a case study of human genetic disease
      • must perform a Southern blot…
southern blot procedure
Southern Blot Procedure
  • Component tasks
    • obtain DNA sample and select enzyme
    • perform reaction to digest the DNA
    • load sample onto electrophoresis gel
    • run gel; stain and destain
    • transfer DNA from gel to a membrane
    • select radioactive hybridisation probe and apply to membrane
    • reveal specific DNA sequences by exposing membrane to X-ray film
movie
Movie
  • CaseIT in action
computer assisted test
Computer-Assisted Test
  • t0 = Introduction to techniques and to CaseIT! (demonstrated in lecture)
  • t+1 = Classroom session, hands-on (3 h)
    • students work on cases involving Southern blotting as the key technique
  • t+5= Test session
    • paper-based test with unseen case
    • must use CaseIT to obtain results
    • test items (short answer responses) depend on correctly performing Southern blot
why did we do it
Why did we do it?
  • History
    • In 2002, only 4 of 40 students correctly answered an item on a TRIADS exam which required understanding of the Southern blot procedure
    • For 2003, we devised and used the CaseIT test; it was used again in 2004
  • CaseIT! Test Results
    • 2003 & 2004: extremely poor on the whole
      • 2004 mean = 42%
      • 30 of 66 got <35%!
    • but 61 of 66 (in 2004) were able to perform the Southern blot procedure correctly
  • TRIADS Item, 2004
    • 18 of 57 scored 100%
summary
Summary
  • CaseIT! provides a reasonably realistic analogue of “real” lab techniques
    • helps build understanding of rationale/ approach in “fail-safe” environment
  • The CaseIT! test “forced” students to learn blot procedure!
    • have to learn a logical sequence of procedures that mimics the learning required in the “real” situation
  • CAA/CBA need not be a “test given on a computer”
acknowledgements
Acknowledgements
  • Funding:
    • Birkbeck College Development Fund
    • Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE) through FDTL4
  • People at Birkbeck:
    • Authorware Programmers: Dijana Maric, Ellen McCarthy, Caroline Pellet-Many
  • People elsewhere:
    • Don Mackenzie and his team at the Centre for Interactive Assessment Development, University of Derby
    • Mark Bergland, author of CaseIT!, University of Wisconsin-River Falls
references
References

Bergland M., et al. (2004) DNA Electrophoresis Module for CaseIT!, version 4.0.2. http://www.uwrf.edu/caseit/caseit.html

Shavelson, R.J., Li, M., and Ruiz-Primo, M.A. (2002) Evaluating new approaches to assessing learning. Keynote address to the Joint Northumbria/EARLI Assessment Conference, Newcastle, UK. August 2002.http://www.stanford.edu/dept/SUSE/SEAL/Presentation/Presentation.htm

contact
Contact
  • Dr Richard Rayne
    • Lecturer in Biology and Director of the OLAAF ProjectSchool of Biological & Chemical SciencesBirkbeck CollegeUniversity of LondonMalet StreetLondon WC1E 7HX, United Kingdom+44 (0)20 [email protected]
  • OLAAF web site:
    • http://www.bbk.ac.uk/olaaf/
meselson stahl experiment
Meselson-Stahl Experiment
  • Outcome:
    • DNA replication is semi-conservative in bacteria
  • Component knowledge/understanding required to understand the experiment:
    • what is an isotope?
    • what is density?
    • how does a centrifuge work?
    • how to separate molecules based on their density? (density gradient centrifugation)
triads cba
TRIADS CBA
  • 2004: text and supplementary written materials provided
    • 5 items on TRIADS exam; 1 comprehension + 2 application + 2 problem solving
  • 2005: TRIADS tutorial to replace (or supplement) the paper materials
    • uses animations to demonstrate concepts visually
    • will test basic understanding at “component level” (i.e. concept-by-concept)
      • Recall Qs precede Comprehension Qs
      • Achievement: must answer lower level to proceed
    • same items as in 2004 to be used on exam to probe conceptual understanding
cognitive type inventory
Cognitive type inventory
  • ReCAP*
    • Recall
    • Comprehension
    • Application
    • Problem solving

(= analysis + synthesis + evaluation)

* Imrie (1995) Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 20 (2): 175-189.

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