Create your own conference schedule! Click here for full instructions

Abstract Detail


Pilote, Alex [1], Donovan, Lisa [1].

Incorporating written assignments into an introductory plant biology course.

Written assessment of student learning has been shown to increase understanding of subject material. Many introductory and upper-level science courses are assessed with exams alone, and often in solely multiple choice format. The University of Georgia's Principles of Plant Biology course has traditionally been taught in lecture format, with four multiple-choice exams as the basis for grading. It was the goal of this project to implement written assignments periodically throughout the semester and assess whether an increase in student understanding of subject material had occurred. For quantitative analysis, percent correct/incorrect data on questions pertaining to material covered by written assignments were collected, as well as similar data on test questions not covered by homework assignments. These were compared to the previous semester's test question percentages on the same material, as the previous semester was taught without written assignments. Topics for assignments and non-assignment comparison were chosen as four topics of particular difficulty to the previous semester's students. Student test performance was assessed via ANOVA analysis with semester and content-covered-by-assignments as factors to minimize the effect of the difference in teaching style, test format, and student body. A significant improvement in student understanding of material would be represented by a significant rise in student performance on test questions pertaining to material covered by written assignments as compared to test questions not pertaining to this material when compared to test performance from the previous semester. This improvement was observed when comparing the two topics which had corresponding assignments during the semester (Mecahnisms of evolution and the carbon cycle) when compared to those topics that did not have corresponding assignments (Mitosis/meiosis and Mendelian genetics). These results support the hypothesis that written assignments do produce increased student performance, and suggest that critical analysis of material through written word improves student understanding of material.

Log in to add this item to your schedule

1 - University of Georgia, Plant Biology, 2502 Miller Plant Sciences, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 30602, United States

Written assignments.

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Teaching Section Poster Session
Location: Exhibit Hall/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 1st, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM This poster will be presented at 6:15 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PTE010
Abstract ID:629
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright © 2000-2016, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved