Note: This workshop has already taken place.

This workshop will bring together leaders in geoscience education and education to consider how we can move forward together in enabling better assessment and observation of student learning in the geosciences. In particular, workshop participants will take steps to
  • Facilitate the development and use of good assessments across the range of teaching methods in the geosciences.
  • Enable better observation and documentation of student learning in the geosciences for the purposes of teaching and assessment.
  • Further the contributions of geoscience to research on teaching and learning by
    • generalizing the results from geoscience classroom observations
    • designing valid educational research to execute in geoscience classrooms
    • working collectively across geoscience classrooms to collect critical data on geoscience learning

The program will include discussions of issues such as goals setting, the use of formative and summative assessments, use of new technologies, and potential research projects bringing together geoscientists and educators.

A fundamental outcome of the workshop will be a website including

  • a collection of assessment techniques with geosciences examples
  • information on designing observations and experiments
  • examples of research on learning taking place in geoscience classrooms

This workshop is one of the 2003-2004 emerging themes offerings which are designed to move critical ideas and concepts into the main-stream of geoscience education. Participants are sought who are leaders in the field and are committed to participating in follow-on activities. For further information of emerging theme workshops, potential follow-on activities, and action plans investigate our general description of these workshops or examples from last years Teaching with Visualizations and Geology and Human Health workshops.


The workshop will begin on Thursday afternoon, May 12, 2004 at 5:00 and will end 8:00 PM on Saturday, May 14. Participants must attend all sessions.


Participants are expected to:

  • contribute either an example of an assessment technique applied to a geoscience activity or class or an essay describing their work assessing and observing student learning
  • contribute to resource collections prior to and following the workshop
  • prepare in advance for workshop discussions via readings, writings, discussion or other activities developed by workshop leaders
  • participate fully in the entire workshop
  • be leaders in follow-on activities leading to broad implementation


The operational costs of the workshop as well as room, board, and workshop materials are covered by a grant from the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE-0127310). Participants or their home institutions must provide transportation to and from the workshop. In cases of unusual hardship, we will be able to offer a few small stipends to help defray travel costs (Application deadline March 22, 2005). For more information about travel funds please visit general information for workshop participants

Application and Selection Criteria

The workshop size is limited to 30 participants. The final list of participants will be established with the goal of assembling a group representing leadership in development and evaluation of assessments, in designing and implementing experiments and observations of learning, and in the assessment and observation of student learning in geoscience courses, as well as, a spectrum of institutional settings and teaching experiences, and a diversity of participants. Preference is given to applicants who hold faculty positions at colleges and universities. Applicants will be notified of selection in early April. For more information visit general information for workshop participants


The workshop will be held at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Participants will be housed in a hotel and will eat meals on campus and in the town.

For More Information

Please contact Cathy Manduca (, 507 222-7096)