Category Archives: Assessment

Recognizing purposeful evolution: A treasure trove of prompts

  I was recently cleaning out my teaching lab and found a stash of index cards with test items from the early 1950s. As I was trying to decide whether to keep them or toss them in the recycling bin, … Continue reading

Posted in Assessment, Evolution, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

“Exam Wrappers” Give Students a Chance to Reflect

How can we help students improve their exam scores? We can nag them to “Study more!” or “Study earlier!” or “Study smarter!” But in my experience, nothing has worked as well as a post-exam assessment tool (available on my course website) with … Continue reading

Posted in Assessment, Study skills, Teaching | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Final Quiz, Part III: What Left Me Wanting More

Earlier this week I posted part II of the final pop quiz I give to my nonmajors biology class. By now, you probably already know that the quiz asks three questions: What was the most important thing you learned about … Continue reading

Posted in Active learning, Assessment, Engaging students, Student writing, Teaching | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Final Quiz, Part II: What I’ll Never Forget

In last week’s post I described the final pop quiz I give to my nonmajors biology class. To recap, the quiz asks three questions: What was the most important thing you learned about biology this semester? What is something you … Continue reading

Posted in Active learning, Assessment, Assignments, Engaging students, Evolution, Student writing | Tagged , , , ,

Final Quiz, Part I: The Most Important Thing

Last Thursday was the last class of the semester for my nonmajors biology class. For their last pop quiz, I asked three questions: What was the most important thing you learned about biology this semester? What is something you think … Continue reading

Posted in Assessment, Assignments, Engaging students, Teaching | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Teaching Natural Selection the YouTube Way

One of the hardest parts about teaching evolution is helping students get over their misconceptions about how natural selection works. In a search for “natural selection” on YouTube, I discovered something striking: there are no 1- or 2-minute videos on … Continue reading

Posted in Active learning, Assessment, Assignments, Collaboration, Engaging students, Evolution, Student writing, Teaching | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms

I just learned that the National Human Genome Research Institute sponsors a Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms. The glossary is available as a free app, which you can find at the Education page at genome.gov. I spent some time with … Continue reading

Posted in Active learning, Assessment, Assignments, Concept mapping, Engaging students, Instructional technology, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Is Life? An Active Learning Activity

The American Biology Teacher recently posted an online “How to Do It” article entitled “What Is Life? An Activity to Convey the Complexities of This Simple Question,” by Annie Prud’homme Généreux. In this activity, each student receives a card depicting a … Continue reading

Posted in Active learning, Assessment, Assignments, Collaboration, Engaging students, Teaching | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The Most Interesting Thing

Two days before each exam in my nonmajors biology class, I pass out quarter-sheet pieces of paper and ask two questions: 1. What is the most interesting thing you have learned in this section of the class? 2. What is … Continue reading

Posted in Active learning, Assessment, Engaging students | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Versatile Index Card

I have been thinking about the humble index card. What are some good ways to use them in class or other presentations to large groups? Here’s one way that I use them. On the first day of class, I have … Continue reading

Posted in Active learning, Assessment, Assignments, Collaboration, Engaging students | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments