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Since the Institute, I have been able to apply my deeper understanding of assessment in several ways. I remain a member of my institution’s general education committee and have led an initiative to develop and assess a set of first-year learning outcomes. In my department, I am coordinating the assessment of our introductory ecology and evolution course; this year, we used the final exam questions developed last year to pre-assess students on the first day of classes. We will use the same questions at the end of the semester to measure learning gains. Also in this intro course, I designed and am leading a group of four instructors in a “classroom experiment” in which we are testing the hypothesis that flipping the classroom improves student learning gains. We have three sections that are using a flipped classroom model for four lessons and three control sections that are using traditional lecture-based lessons. We are doing pre- and post-assessment of students. This has been very enjoyable and Is working well because I am working with colleagues to develop learning activities and have recorded two of the video lectures. We used the Concept Inventory of Natural Selection for one of the lessons. For another, we may be using some of the activities I developed as part of my work at the institute. The results of this study will be analyzed and submitted for publication. As part of this project, I wrote my first HSRB proposal which was approved.

The main challenge I continue to face is developing sufficient materials for rigorous and authentic assessment. It is very time-consuming to think of assessment questions, especially ones that are at higher Bloom’s levels.

In the future, I hope to continue helping my department establish systematic assessment for more of our courses and the whole program.

 

 References

Barr, Tagg. 1995. From Teaching to Learning: A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education. Change 27: 12-25.

Bergmann, J. 2012. Flip your classroom: Reach every student in every class every day.International Society for Technology in Education.

Suskie, L. 2009. Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide, 2nd Ed. Josey Bass.

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