Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

Modules as a tool

"One major challenge I also face is convincing colleagues of the value of conducting assessment research. I think the main problem is that many scientific colleagues simply lack a basic understanding of exactly what is assessment research. In presenting my assessment research to various audiences, I find it effective to first explain how assessment research fits into the qualitative action research model."

Selected Adapters:

  • Kimberly Kostka
    Chair of Chemistry
    University of Wisconsin-Rock County

  • Linda Zarzana
    Professor of Chemistry
    American River College

  • Elaine Seymour
    Director of Ethnography & Evaluation Research
    University of Colorado at Boulder

Assessment Essays:

  • Assessment in the Service of Student Learning
    - Katayoun Chamany, Director of Science Studies, Technology and Society - Eugene Lang College of the New School University
    "Although traditional methods of teaching address student acquisition of knowledge and skills, progressive teaching considers a wider variety of learning outcomes: higher order thinking; the process of creating and developing products (papers, proposals, web pages); and overall student dispositions towards the discipline. I realize that in order to convince students and faculty to adopt learning methods presented in Cell Biology For Life, formal evaluation of this project must be undertaken. For this reason, assessment and evaluation methods are being developed alongside the cell biology content."

  • Emergent Strategy for the Assessment of Student Learning Over Time
    - Elaine Seymour, Director of Ethnography & Evaluation Research - University of Colorado at Boulder
    "Important student assessment questions: 1) What do students in each class know when they enter each class, and what do they remember when they enter the next chemistry (or other) class? 2) How may students' performance and career progression be monitored over time?"

  • Experience in becoming learners in the assessment community
    - Maureen Scharberg, Associate Professor of Chemistry - San Jose State University
    "Since I was pursuing a career in chemical education research, I wanted a research method to formally conduct educational research. I literally stumbled on the action research model for qualitative research. This cyclic research method is a perfect match for research in curricular development, implementation, and assessment."

  • Shades of Assessment: Expanding Research Methodologies
    - Stacey Lowery Bretz, Professor of Chemistry - Youngstown State University
    "Given the emphasis of modules on teaching chemistry in the context of real-world problems, I wanted to investigate their impact upon students' learning, specifically, their use of rote or meaningful learning strategies (per Novak and Ausubel). I chose to assess the impact on student learning in two different ways..."

Other Resources:

  • Assessment of ChemConnections
    "To evaluate the modular materials, we have constructed an assessment package focusing on change in students' conceptual understanding, thinking skills and attitudes toward science. Conceptual understanding was measured by using paper-and-pencil tests, including our own Concept Test as well as the ACS standardized exam. To capture students' scientific reasoning skills, we conduct think-aloud interviews with students."