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Formative Assessment of Student Understanding in Large Introductory Biology Lectures Scott Cooper William Cerbin Deborah Hanmer University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Formative Assessment Assess students while they are learning material. Give quick feedback which is not graded.

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Formative Assessment of Student Understanding in Large Introductory Biology LecturesScott Cooper William Cerbin Deborah HanmerUniversity of Wisconsin-La Crosse

formative assessment
Formative Assessment
  • Assess students while they are learning material.
  • Give quick feedback which is not graded.
  • Avoid the standard “Are there any questions?”
  • Use in large lectures was pioneered in Physics courses using multiple choice questions.
  • Case studies and problem-based learning often incorporate formative assessment.
  • This method is a challenge in large lectures with more open-ended or complex problems to solve.
uw system curricular redesign grant
UW-System Curricular Redesign Grant
  • 15 instructors and a cognitive psychologist
  • 5 campuses
    • UW-La Crosse, Stout, Stevens Point, Milwaukee, and River Falls
  • Develop and test formative assessment modules for large introductory biology lectures
  • Measure effectiveness with summative assessment tools
  • Submitted a 3 year NSF-ASA proposal
students make trees based upon three lines of evidence
Students make trees based upon three lines of evidence.
  • Observations of habitat and traits
  • Observations of skeletons
  • Observations of gene sequences
  • After each observation the students modify their trees
black bear ursus americanus terrestrial omnivore
Black bear (Ursus americanus)Terrestrial Omnivore

Hippopotamus amphibiusTerrestrial/Aquatic, Herbivore

Harp Seal (Phoca groenlandica)Aquatic/Terrestrial, Carnivore

Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)Aquatic, Carnivore

king penguin aptenodytes patagonicus aquatic terrestrial carnivore
King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus)Aquatic/Terrestrial, Carnivore

Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus)Aquatic, Omnivore

Harbor Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)Aquatic, Carnivore

homologous structures
Homologous structures

Vestigial structures

Analogous structures

cave bear ursus spelaeus

Harp Seal (Phoca groenlandica)

King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus)

Cave Bear(Ursus spelaeus)

Hippopotamus antiquus (Extinct)

Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)

assessment
Assessment
  • Formative Assessment
  • Summative Assessment
    • Pre and post-tests
    • Short answer and multiple choice
  • Student evaluations
  • Instructor evaluations
  • Video taping
formative assessment n 127 groups
Formative Assessment(n = 127 groups)

*

*

*

*

* Significant difference

control experiment do formative assessment and instructor feedback affect student learning
Control Experiment:Do formative assessment and instructor feedback affect student learning?
  • Used the same materials as a lecture without the in-class problem solving and formative assessment.
slide30

horses asses zebras

Equus

Merychippus

Hyracotherium

Fifty million years ago an ancestor to modern horses, Hyracotherium, roamed much of North America. These ancestors to the modern horse were the size of a small dog and lived primarily in forests and scrub. As the climate became warmer and drier the forests were replaced with grasslands. The impact of this climate change on horse evolution can be seen in fossils of Merychippus, a longer legged ancestor of modern horses that roamed grasslands fifteen million years ago. Equus is the only surviving genus in the once diverse family of horses.   Species of Equus lived from 5 million years ago until the present.   Living species include horses, asses, and zebras.  

Diagram an evolutionary tree that includes all five species mentioned in the passage above.

present

5 million

  years ago

  15 million

years ago

summative assessment multiple choice problems
Summative Assessment:Multiple Choice Problems

*

(n = 366)

(n = 512)

* Significant difference

multiple choice lecture material
Multiple Choice (lecture material)
  • If we took a modern horse and tried to breed it with Merychippus they could not produce viable offspring. Merychippus and modern horses
    • Do not have a common ancestor
    • Are different species
    • Would look the same
    • Would be adapted to similar environments
    • Are both extinct
  • If Equus is the only surviving genus in the once diverse family of horses, what happened to the other genuses?
    • They became horses
    • There were no other genuses
    • They became extinct
    • They wouldn’t fit on Noah’s Ark
mc q1 speciation lecture
MC Q1: Speciation (lecture)

*

*

*

*

* Significant difference

mc q2 extinction lecture
MC Q2: Extinction (lecture)

*

* Significant difference

multiple choice module material
Multiple Choice (module material)
  • Horses and frogs both have front legs, while fish do not. This can be explained by
    • Frogs and horses can’t swim
    • Horses and frogs have a more recent common ancestor
    • Horses and frogs are adapted to the same environment
    • Horses evolved from frogs
  • A branch point in an evolutionary tree represents
    • A modern species that gave rise to a new species
    • An extinct common ancestor to species found on the branches
    • An extinct ancestor to just one of the species found on the branches
    • A specific mating between two different species
    • A time when natural selection did not occur
mc q3 grouping module
MC Q3: Grouping (module)

*

*

*

* Significant difference

mc q4 ancestry module
MC Q4: Ancestry (module)

*

*

*

* Significant difference

student evaluation of module 5 strongly agree 4 agree 3 neutral 2 disagree 1 strongly disagree
Student Evaluation of Module(5=Strongly Agree, 4=Agree, 3=Neutral, 2=Disagree 1=Strongly Disagree)

n = 38 n = 131

conclusions
Conclusions
  • Formative Assessment can be effectively used with complex problem-solving in large lecture settings.
  • Student performance, especially that of non-majors, is improved by active-learning and formative assessment.
any questions

Any Questions?

(Assessment Humor)