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  1. HHMI Assessment of Student Learning:strategies and tools for evidence that counts Diane Ebert-May Department of Plant Biology Michigan State University

  2. Our Team at MSU • Doug Luckie - Physiology • Janet Batzli - Plant Biology (University of Wisconsin) • Scott Harrison - Microbiology • Tammy Long - Ecology • Debra Linton - Marine Biology • Heejun Lim - Chemistry Education • Joyce Parker - Biochemistry • Duncan Sibley - Geology

  3. “Consensogram” Directions 1. Take one color-coded post-it for each question, write the question # in the corner. 2. Write a number between 0-100 on each post-it in increments of 10. 3. Do not share responses

  4. “Consensogram” Questions Please respond on a scale of 0 -100 in increments of 10: 1. What proportion of your undergraduate courses were based on active, inquiry-based learning? 2. To what degree should undergraduate courses be based on active, inquiry-based learning? 3. To what degree do the assessments you use (or you experienced as an undergraduate) provide convincing data about student learning? 4. How important is it to use multiple kinds of data to assess your students? 5. How often do you use data to make instructional decisions? 6. In my department, teaching is as important as research and is rewarded accordingly (100 agree - 0 disagree)

  5. Goals for This Workshop As a result of your participation in this workshop, you will... • Develop a practical and theoretical understanding about active and inquiry-based learning. • Use multiple instructional designs and strategies that promote active learning by all students. • Analyze multiple forms of assessment to gather data about students’ understanding. • Use data to identify student misconceptions and subsequently improve instructional design. • Consider teaching and learningin terms of research, recognition, and rewards.

  6. Learning Cycle: Models for Instruction • Karplus et al: BSCS • Exploration Engage • Concept Introduction Explore • Concept Application Explain • Elaborate

  7. True or False? • Faculty/graduate students are interested in assessing their students’ learning better, but have limited expertise in doing so.

  8. True or False? • Lack of meaningful assessment in undergraduate science education occurs because faculty are satisfied to be less accountable in their teaching than they are in their research.

  9. True or False? • Assessing student learning in science parallels what scientists actually do as researchers.

  10. Assessment in TeachingParallels Assessment in Research • Questions we ask are meaningful, interesting, fundable. • Questions are based on current knowledge and theories. • Data we collect are aligned with questions or hypotheses. • Research designs appropriate for the question and accepted in the field. • Instruments/techniques we use are calibrated, valid, repeatable. • We explain results in the context of our questions. • Results drive our next questions. • Our ideas are peer reviewed for publication/funding…

  11. What is assessment? • Data collection with a purpose • students’ understanding • students’ attitudes • students’ skills • instructional design and implementation

  12. Graduate Education • Often excellent at preparing individuals to design and carry out disciplinary research.

  13. Graduate Education • Often inadequate and haphazard in preparing future faculty/professionals to take on the increasingly complex demands of the professoriate. • Teaching not - mentored, peer reviewed, based on accumulated knowledge

  14. Solution: a new model • Intergenerational teams in cooperative academic environments • Who: senior faculty, junior faculty, postdoctoral and graduate students. • What: Scholarship of science teaching and learning is fully integrated into the professional culture along with discipline-based activities.

  15. Recognizing and Rewarding Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics • National Research Council • • November 15, 2002

  16. Assessment of Learning • Curriculum development & assessment of learning are inseparable, so integrate. • Do faculty claim knowledge about curriculum? • Do faculty claim knowledge about assessment? • Why are interdisciplinary teams so useful?

  17. Assessment of Learning • Curriculum development & assessment of learning are inseparable, so integrate. • Do faculty claim knowledge about assessment? • Do faculty claim knowledge about curriculum? • Why are interdisciplinary teams so useful?

  18. What are 3 central questions about learning? 1. What do we want our students to know and be able to do? 1.5. What evidence will we accept that students know and can do? 2. How does our teaching help learning?

  19. Cognitive Theory • “Learners are not simply passive recipients of information; they actively construct their own understanding.” • Svinicki 1991

  20. What Type of Learning? • Bloom (1956) • Major categories in the Cognitive Domain of Educational Objectives

  21. Convergent Thinking • Knowledge - remember material • Comprehension - grasp the meaning of material • Application - use learned material in new concrete situations • Adapted from Grolund (1970)

  22. Divergent Thinking • Analysis - break down material to understand organizational structure • Synthesis - put parts together to form a new whole • Evaluation - judge value of material for a purpose • Adapted from Grolund (1970)

  23. What is assessment? • Data collection with a purpose • Students’ learning • Students’ skills • Students’ attitudes • Inform instructional design and implementation

  24. Research Question How do diagnostic assessment problems reveal student misconceptions and inform instructional design?

  25. Background • Learning theory • David Hestenes - Physics, ASU ‘Force Concept Inventory’

  26. Goal => Assessment • Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of photosynthesis and cellular respiration. • Tools: multiple forms of assessment • Feedback loop to instructional design

  27. Common Misconceptions: Photosynthesis & Respiration • Photosynthesis as Energy: Photosynthesis provides energy for uptake of nutrients through roots which builds biomass. No biomass built through photosynthesis alone. • Plant Altruism: CO2 is converted to O2 in plant leaves so that all organisms can ‘breathe’. • All Green: Plants have chloroplasts instead of mitochondria so they can not respire. • Thin Air: CO2 and O2 are gases therefore, do not have mass and therefore, can not add or take away mass from an organism.

  28. Instructional Design • Active, inquiry-based learning • Cooperative learning • Questions, group processing, lecture • Homework problems including web-based modules

  29. Radish Problem • Experimental Setup: • Weighed out 3 batches of radish seeds each weighing 1.5 g. • Experimental treatments: • 1. Seeds not moistened (dry) placed in LIGHT • 2. Seeds placed on moistened paper towels in LIGHT • 3. Seeds placed on moistened paper towels in DARK

  30. Problem (cont) • After 1 week, all plant material was dried in an oven overnight (no water left) and plant biomass was measured in grams. • Predict the biomass of the plant material in the various treatments (use think-pair-share). • Light, No Water • Light, Water • Dark, Water

  31. Results: Weight of Radish Seeds 1.46 g 1.63 g 1.20 g Write an explanation about the results. (Remember all treatments started as 1.5g).

  32. Students - Introductory Biology(majors) Two courses: • Group A 144 (sem 1 organismal/population) • 145 (sem 2 cell/molecular) • Group B xxx (organismal/population) • 145 (sem 2 cell/molecular)

  33. Assessment Design • Multiple iterations/versions of the carbon cycle problem • Multiple choice, 3 extended response • Administered during instruction • Semester 1 - pretest, midterm, final exam • Semester 2 - final exam

  34. Multiple choice question (pretest) Plants gain a tremendous amount of weight (dry biomass) as they grow from seed to adult. Which of the following substances contributes most to that weight gain a. compounds dissolved in soil water that are take up by plant roots b. water c. molecules in the air that enter through holes in the plant leaves d. organic material in the soil taken up directly by plant roots e. solar radiation

  35. Carbon Cycle Problem (mid) Two fundamental concepts in ecology are “energy flows” and “matter cycles”. In an Antarctic ecosystem with the food web given above, how could a carbon atom in the blubber of the Minke whale become part of a crabeater seal? Note: crabeater seals do not eat Minke whales. In your response include a drawing with arrows showing the movement of the C atom. In addition to your drawing, provide a written description of the steps the carbon atom must take through each component of the ecosystem Describe which biological processes are involved in the carbon cycle.

  36. Grandma Johnson Problem • Hypothetical scenario: Grandma Johnson had very sentimental feelings toward Johnson Canyon, Utah, where she and her late husband had honeymooned long ago. Her feelings toward this spot were such that upon her death she requested to be buried under a creosote bush overlooking the canyon. Trace the path of a carbon atom from Grandma Johnson’s remains to where it could become part of a coyote. NOTE: the coyote will not dig up Grandma Johnson and consume any of her remains.

  37. Analysis of Responses Used same scoring rubric for all three problems: Examined two major concepts: Concept 1: Decomposers respire CO2 Concept 2: Plants uptake of CO2 Explanations categorized into two groups: Organisms (trophic levels) Processes (metabolic)

  38. Trace Carbon from Whale to Seal (Sem 1)(144 students, n=141) 100 Organism Process 80 60 % 40 Air 20 Root Plant Glucose Respiration Release CO2 0 Photosynthesis Decomposition Concept 2 Plants uptake CO2 Concept 1 Decomposers respire CO2

  39. 100 80 60 % 40 20 Q1 Whale Q2 Grandma J Q3 Jaguar 0 Cellular Respiration by Decomposers(144 + 145 students, n=63) Concept 1: Decomposers respire CO2 F (1) = 12.290, p < .01

  40. 100 80 60 % 40 20 0 Q1 Whale Q2 Grandma J Q3 Jaguar Pathway of Carbon into Primary Producer(144 + 145 students, n=63) Air Root Concept 2: Plants uptake CO2 F (1) = 2.700, p = .075

  41. Trace Carbon from Spider Monkey to Jaguar(Sem 2) 100 Respiration NA 80 60 % 40 20 0 0ther + 145 (n=40) 144 + 145 (n=63) Concept 1: Decomposers respire CO2 t=4.082, df=101, p < .01

  42. 100 Air Root 80 NA 60 % 40 20 0 144 + 145 (n=63) 0ther + 145 (n=40) Pathway of Carbon into Primary Producer (Sem 2) Concept 2: Plants uptake CO2 t=3.028, df=101, p < .01

  43. So What? Problem sets about major concepts Diagnostic re: what students understand Influence instructional design Active learning opportunities for students Unveil new alternative conceptions Curricular changes Bacteria/Archaea metabolism - often skimmed/omitted Primary production - models in lab Source/Sink ‘Spiral’ major concepts - over/over/over

  44. Misconceptions => Assessment => Instruction • What data do you want from the assessment? • What do you do when you identify student misconceptions? • How will the data influence your instruction and the learning environment you create?

  45. Gene-DNA-Chromosome • Students could explain transcription & translation but not the relation... “Gene-DNA-Chromosome.” • Concept mapping forces students to “Think different” and confront their (mis) understanding.