October 2011


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Gene Ferrick <[log in to unmask]>
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Daily eNews for CMNS Students <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 25 Oct 2011 16:26:22 -0400
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Wednesday, Oct 26 
John Merrill, Joyce Parker, and Mark Urban-Lurain from Michigan State University, will be giving the following seminar:

What are they thinking and why? A framework for assessing and interpreting students' ability to use scientific principles

Date: Wednesday, 26 October, 2011
Time: 3:00PM - 4:30PM
Location: 1103 Bioscience Research Building

Contact: Gili Marbach-Ad: [log in to unmask] 

 ****Refreshments will be provided****
 For more information go to

Many undergraduates have persistent misconceptions about particular ideas in biology and there are a number of assessment instruments available to identify these students. But how is a list of common misconceptions useful to an instructor? We will present and give the audience opportunities to work with frameworks that structure assessment and interpretation of students' responses in ways that can guide instruction and learning. The frameworks organize misconceptions and conceptual barriers around a few scientific principles. These principles, which include tracing information, matter, and energy in systems, can become the focus of instruction. For example, students who have learned to systematically trace matter avoid both the misconception that plants get most of their mass from minerals in the soil and the misconception that the atoms of food molecules end up in ATP. This approach to assessment has been used in a spectrum of introductory biology courses in a range of institutions from community colleges to R1 settings. We will also explore what can be learned from different machine-gradable assessment formats including multiple-choice, multiple true/false, and computer-assisted analysis of open-ended questions.