Impact of Implementing Alternative Assessment in an Introductory Biology Course: A Case Study

Date(s) - Wednesday
11:30 am - 12:00 pm


Presenters: Suparna Chatterjee, Tricia Sulpizio, & Julia Parra, TPAL

Time: 11:30am-12:00pm

Location: O’Donnell Hall, 300

This research presents a case study in a large enrollment introductory biology course (BIOL101G Human Biology) for undergraduate students where alternative assessment is implemented to measure students’ learning. Most of the students in this biology course are from biology non-majors and so it is a challenge to stimulate students’ interest and encourage them to actively participate in the course. “In-class Activities” are designed for this course to engage students using a number of strategies such as brainstorming, clicker questions, small group discussion and collaboration. Out of the eight in-class activities we will discuss one activity, “Learner’s Choice Project” where the students gathered information and data from available resources and analyzed it for studying one of the topics of their choice. Students chose a biological topic of their interest and worked in a team with two to four other students during a five week period. Students developed a final project in the form of presentation, poster, blog post, podcast, video, model, advertisement, or pamphlet, and posted in the discussion board in Canvas. Each student provided constructive feedback to other students about their project. Students came up with a variety of topics, including real world problems and experiences. Students constructed knowledge in a collaborative environment and were enthusiastic to explain their research findings. The instructor collected data from analyzing the documents students submitted since choosing the team and topic until the presentation, and class discussions.The findings suggest that alternative assessment provided a platform for the facilitation and presentation of the convergence of fundamental learning with personal creativity through communication and demonstration. It encouraged the commitment to the understanding and conceptualization of basic biological study while at the same time motivated students to incorporate acquired interests and experiences.