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Klymkowsky, M. and Garvin-Doxas, K. "Recognizing Student Misconceptions Through Ed's
Tools and the Biology Concept Inventory", PLoS Biology, 6(1): 2008.

This outstanding research article defines what a concept inventory is and describes how
to build one, and implement it in a large lecture classroom in order to uncover student
misconceptions.  In addition, this article discusses a software tool called "Ed's Tools"
which can be used to assess student responses to open-ended questions.  This software
provides a useful tool for collecting and analyzing students' understanding of concepts
and the language they use to describe them.  This software is freely available to all
educators.  The methodology described in this article is extremely relevant to my

Smith, M., Wood, W., and Knight, J. "The Genetics Concept Assessment: A New Concept
Inventory for Gauging Student Understanding of Genetics", CBE Life Science Education,
7(4): 422-430, 2008.

This research article provides an excellent model for my work by providing a rigorous
framework for a large-scale assessment of student understanding of basic concepts in
genetics.  The authors first establish a series of learning objectives and then use the
expertise of genetics professionals to construct the questions that form the Genetics
Concept Assessment (GCA).  Another interesting aspect of this work is that the assessment
was carried out over five different university campuses in order to increase the student
sample size and promote collaboration among instructors with different teaching
Although this investigation does not aim to uncover student misconceptions, it is still
relevant to my work by showing how to take a conceptual inventory of student knowledge
and analyze it using rigorous statistical methods.

Simonneaux, L. "A Study of Pupils' Conceptions and Reasoning in Connection with Microbes
as a Contribution to Research in Biotechnology Education", International Journal of
Science Education, 22(6): 619-644, 2000.

Although this paper focuses mainly on high school students, it is a useful piece of
background work describing students' misconceptions about microbes. The author
interviewed many students in order to learn about their attitudes and knowledge about
microbes.  I may be able to use some of these questions as a springboard for the
questions I would like to ask my students.

Smith, H.R. "An Excellent Means of Assessment: Short Write-to-Learn Activities for the
Microbiology Course", Focus on Microbiology Education, 15(2): 7-8, 2009.

Though quite brief, this article provides excellent writing prompts that may be used in
an introductory microbiology classroom.  Even though I do use in-class writing already, I
believe that I need to ask broader questions in order to elicit responses that will show
me my students' preconceptions and misconceptions.  The writing prompts in this article
have already inspired me to think about how I can tailor my assignments to best reveal
what my students are thinking and thus improve my teaching interventions.

Buxeda, R. and Moore, D.A. "Expanding a Learner-Centered Environment Using Group Reports
and Constructivist Portfolios", Microbiology Education, 2(1): 12-17, 2001.

This article appeared in an ERIC search for "misconceptions, microbiology, assessment"
and although I have not been able to access and read it, it appears useful for one main
reason--it addresses the issue of student awareness of misconceptions and metacognition. 
I believe that it is very important for students to have an awareness of what they know
and don't know in order to best address their conceptual "gaps" so I look forward to
finding out what these researchers uncovered in their work.  This investigation took
place in a microbial physiology course and appears to have useful references as well.
 Klionsky, D.J. "The Quiz Factor", CBE Life Sciences Education, 7: 265-266, Fall 2008.
This letter to the editor summarizes recent research on testing as a means of learning and retention.  Short answer quizzes given frequently were shown to increase learning outcomes.
Klionsky, D.J. "Talking Biology", CBE Life Sciences Education, 3: 204-211, 2004.
Karpicke, J.D., and Roediger, H.L., III, "The Critical Importance of Retrieval for Learning", Science, 319: 966-968, 2008.
This important study showed that frequent testing promoted learning and retention more than just "studying". 
Michael, J.A., Richardson, D., Rovick, A., Modell, H., Bruce, D., Horwitz, B., Hudson, M., Silverthorn, D., Whitescarver, S. and Williams, S., "Undergraduate Students' Misconceptions About Respiratory Physiology", Advances in Physiology Education, 277: 127-135, 1999.
Dirks, C. and Cunningham, M., "Enhancing Diversity in Science: Is Teaching Science Process Skills the Answer?" CBE Life Sciences Education, 5(3): 218-226.
The Biology Fellows program at the University of Washington explores encouraging underrepresented minorities in the biological sciences by assisting in the development of science process skills.
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