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Biology Knowledge Survey

This page is authored by Tim Tibbetts, Department of Biology, Monmouth College (mailto:tibbetts@monmouthcollege.edu). The Knowledge Survey included here is adapted from a Knowledge Survey developed by:
Bowers, N; Brandon, M and C Hill. 2005. The Use of a Knowledge Survey as an Indicator of Student Learning in an Introductory Biology Course. Cell Biol Educ 4(4): 311-322 2005.

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Summary

This Knowledge Survey is designed for use in a first year biology course for biology/science majors. It is based on the first 17 chapters of the Biology textbook by Campbell (but skips chapter 11).

Learning Goals

By completing the Knowledge Survey, students will have an idea of what areas they need to focus on in preparation for exams. In this sense, the Knowledge Survey is meant to stimulate metacognitive reflection on the part of the student.

Context for Use

The Knowledge Survey may be used in several contexts. First, it can be used as a pretest/posttest at the beginning and end of the semester to gauge student self-analysis of their learning. Second, specific sections of the Knowledge Survey may be used as "study guides" before exams to help students prepare.

Description and Teaching Materials

This is a Knowledge Survey rather than an actual exam. Students do not actually answer the questions posed, but instead they evaluate the degree to which they believe they currently know the answers. It is meant to help students gauge their own level of understanding. This requires them to reflect on what they know and what they do not know - that is, they must engage in some metacognition in order to complete the survey. The specific answers students make on the survey are not graded. Instead, students are given credit for completing the survey by the deadline.

Biology Knowledge Survey (Microsoft Word 64kB Aug25 11)




Teaching Notes and Tips

This is best used via a course management system such as Moodle. One common misconception students encounter when they complete the knowledge survey has to do with how Moodle assigns a grade based on whether they choose "A" "B" or "C" in the Moodle quiz format. I assure students they will receive credit simply for completing the survey, not based on which choice they select.

Assessment

References and Resources

Bowers, N; Brandon, M. and C Hill. 2005. The Use of a Knowledge Survey as an Indicator of Student Learning in an Introductory Biology Course. Cell Biol Educ 4(4): 311-322 2005.
This paper outlines the use of Knowledge Surveys in a biology class.

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