Grab that Research Baton and Teach: Bessey Award Winners
Armstrong, Joseph .
Evaluating learning in the laboratory classroom: portfolios instead of lab reports and quizzes.
Quizzes and reports have long been the bane of laboratory teaching. And yet how else do we evaluate learning? In labs with diverse activities and many observations a portfolio can better reflect the material covered and by showing interrelations of materials and observations students can better reflect learning as well. Lab quizzes often produce miserable results, deflating and discouraging to both student and instructor. The portfolio came to the rescue. The digital format of portfolios allows text, data, illustrations, images, still and video, to be meaningfully interrelated and juxtaposed. A simple grocery list of fruits and vegetables shows little learning. Grouping fruits and vegetables into taxonomic and/or type categories shows understanding of basic lessons. Rather than short term memorization, students learn by working with images and diverse materials to assemble a meaningful portfolio, a practice that generates better long-term learning. Students require guidance and instruction so they understand what shows learning and the evaluation rubric that will be applied is based on this. The portfolio process has several advantages. First, it uses digital technologies and students end up recording more of what they do than via standard reports. Second, the portfolios provide tangible evidence of what they covered and learned, i.e., they have a better educational product at the end, one that they keep for future use. The realization that they are doing this for themselves, for their future use, produces some quite impressive efforts. Third, over all students spend more time working with laboratory materials, and demonstrate good retention of materials covered, good recognition of specimens, and a decent ability to apply the knowledge when needed.
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1 - Illinois State University, School of Biological Sciences, Campus Box 4120, Normal, IL, 61790-4120, USA
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Lenox Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
Time: 10:15 AM