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SoTL Inst Presentation

The Genetics Assessment Tool 

The Genetics Assessment Tool (GAT) is a new concept assessment tool developed at the University of Colorado by Michelle Smith, Bill Wood and Jennifer Knight.  It is designed for use in undergraduate genetics courses for both majors and non-majors.This instrument has been carefully validated by interviews with over 30 students and 10 experts.  It has also been piloted on 600 genetics students at three institutions.  The tool was written with student supplied answers in a natural language with minimal jargon, and is intended to address the 9 fundamental genetics Learning Goals listed below.

 Genetics Learning Goals


1. Analyze phenotypic data and deduce patterns of inheritance from family histories.

2. Describe the molecular anatomy of genes and genomes.  

3. Describe the mechanisms by which an organism’s genome is passed on to the next generation.  

4. Describe the phenomenon of linkage and how it affects assortment of alleles during meiosis.  

5. Extract information about genes, alleles, and gene functions by analyzing the progeny from genetic crosses.  

6. Describe the processes that can affect the frequency of phenotypes in a population over time.  

7. Compare different types of mutations and describe how each can affect genes and the corresponding mRNAs and proteins.  

8 Apply the results of molecular genetic studies in model organisms to understanding aspects of human genetics and genetic diseases.  

9. Interpret results from molecular analyses to determine the inheritance patterns and identities ofhuman genes that can mutate to cause disease.  


Genetics Assessment Tool (GAT): if you are interested in this 25 question multiple choice tool, please contact me.


Student performance on the GAT




File:C:/DOCUME~1/Jenny/LOCALS~1/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.gifStudent misconceptions about genetics

(identified from student answers on the Genetics pre-post Assessment Tool; these are the persistent incorrect answers pre-post for both majors and non-majors)


-Genetic content of cells

oDifferent cells contain different genes

-Pedigree analysis

oMen and women pass mitochondrial genes to the next generation

oX-linked inheritance (especially dominant) is mistaken for autosomal inheritance 


oSister chromatids can have different alleles

oGametes contain multiple alleles of the same gene (or no allele of a gene)


oDo not take into account the absence of a known genetic makeup (ie, 2/3 probability for a person who could potentially be a carrier for an autosomal recessive disease but does not have disease symptoms)


oGenes that are closer together are more likely to recombine.


oA stop codon stops transcription

oOther changes (ie, a frameshift) cannot result in premature stop codon

oA change is only a mutation if it occurs in the coding region of a gene

See attached presentation for the rest of the preliminary findings and plans for the future.