InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Carbon, Climate, and Energy Resources > Assessment
 Earth-focused Modules and Courses for the Undergraduate Classroom
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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The materials are free and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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Assessment of Module Goals

Each unit within this module includes both a formative and a summative assessment. Additionally, most units include activities that could provide an instructor with additional assessment data, if desired.

The summative assessment for each unit is a brief quiz (ranging from 8-12 points, typically) that can be administered at the end of the unit, or, may be combined with other unit quizzes into a master assessment of the entire module (upon completion of all units). Individual quizzes should require 10-15 minutes per quiz and a test compiled of each quiz should take approximately 1 hour to complete. The individual unit quizzes rely on multiple choice, true/false, matching, and short-answer style questions to assess of a variety of cognitive domains.

The format for formative assessment within each unit is variable. Some units require students to compare and contrast terms and concepts, create graphical representations of content, evaluate statements made in videos, and plot and interpret authentic data. A rubric is provided for formative assessments, however instructors may revise the rubrics to reflect additional requirements.

Summative Assessments:

Unit 1

The summative assessment for this unit is a brief quiz that requires students to determine whether a statement about climate science is true or false and provide reasonable justification for their answer. Additionally, students must identify the correct logical fallacy based on the definition of each fallacies typical construction. This quiz can be deployed at the end of this unit or at the completion of this module. (Time estimate: 15 minutes)

Quiz:

Word format:

Unit 1 Quiz


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PDF format:
Unit 1 Quiz


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Instructor Answer Key:

Word format:

Key for Unit 1 Quiz


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PDF format:
Key for Unit 1 Quiz


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Unit 2

The summative assessment for this unit, which can also function as a "pre-test" or a part of a larger, whole-module exam, is a quiz covering key aspects of the carbon cycle. Some of these questions are basic recall, while others ask students to apply their understanding. (Time estimate: 10 minutes)

Quiz:

Word format:

Unit 2 Quiz


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PDF format:
Unit 2 Quiz


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Instructor's key for scoring the quiz:

Word format:

Key for Unit 2 Quiz


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PDF format:
Key for Unit 2 Quiz


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Unit 3

The summative assessment for this unit, which can also function as a "pre-test" or a part of a larger, whole-module exam, is a quiz covering key aspects of paleoclimatic data and interpretations. Some of these questions are basic recall, while others ask students to apply their understanding. (Time estimate: 10 minutes)

Quiz:

Word format:

Unit 3 Quiz


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PDF format:
Unit 3 Quiz


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Instructor's key for scoring the quiz:

Word format:

Key for Unit 3 Quiz


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PDF format:
Key for Unit 3 Quiz


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Unit 4

The summative assessment for Unit 4 consists of 14 multiple-choice questions and 9 short answer questions that require higher order thinking skills.

Quiz:

Word format:

Unit 4 Quiz


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PDF format:
Unit 4 Quiz


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Instructor's key for scoring the quiz:

Word format:

Key for Unit 4 Quiz


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PDF format:
Key for Unit 4 Quiz


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Unit 5

There is a 17-question summative assessment for Unit 5 with a selection of multiple choice and short answer questions.

Quiz:

Word format:
Unit 5 Quiz


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PDF format:
Unit 5 Quiz


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Instructor's key for scoring the quiz:

Word format:
Key for Unit 5 Quiz


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PDF format:
Key for Unit 5 Quiz


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Unit 6
Concluding the whole-class discussion, and during the remainder of class, students will choose one of the proposals discussed and write a one to two paragraph statement of support or dissent for that proposal. This statement must include their own personal opinion and be well supported with facts & evidence. This statement should draw on multiple lines of evidence supporting the student's position, and as such, could be used to provide the instructor with a comprehensive sense of what the student has learned throughout this module. The rubric can be modified to include more categories, if desired.

We recommend that this assessment is also used to evaluate student learning for the entire module. In this case, the instructor should consider assigning the essay for homework to provide more time for students.

Summative Assessment Essay:

Word format: Unit 6 Essay (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 38kB Aug17 16)
PDF format: Unit 6 Essay (Acrobat (PDF) 75kB Aug17 16)

Summative Assessment Essay Rubric:

Word format: Unit 6 Essay Rubric (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 34kB Aug17 16)
PDF format: Unit 6 Essay Rubric (Acrobat (PDF) 54kB Aug17 16)

Formative Assessments:

Unit 1

a) Watch the YouTube video, which presents a few bombastic statements and identify any misconceptions and illogical errors and explain your reasoning.

Carbon and Climate Change Formative Assessment: Logical Fallacies video

Key to answers to questions in video:

Word Version:

Unit 1 Formative Assessment Video Key


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PDF Version:
Unit 1 Formative Assessment Video Key


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b) After learning about Logical Fallacies (Activity 1), have each student create three to four illogical statements and identify which logical fallacy format/structure represents each statement follows.

Unit 2

There are several ungraded (formative) and two graded (summative) means of assessment for this unit. (Ungraded assessments include keeping track of correct and insightful observations and statements during discussions of unit material and activities, as well as incorrect or "off-base" comments. In particular the initial "engagement" activity should provide baseline formative assessment for the instructor.) If time and student achievement level permits, the optional graded homework assignment (#6, below) could be assigned as a summative assessment. It could also work as an in-class group activity, if time permits.

Post-class homework assignment (optional):

Students will provide their instructors a formative assessment as they create a graphical representation of the carbon cycle, as a paper poster, a PowerPoint presentation, or the dynamic, zoomable medium called a Prezi. Synthesizing material from each of the previous activities into something visual that can be understood "at a glance" will provide instructors with a "read" on whether students are assimilating unit lessons. Based on the accuracy and quality of these graphic representations (scored with a rubric provided with the activity), instructors can address any misconceptions before moving on. (Time estimate for this optional assessment: 30 minutes; to be assigned as out-of-class work)

Assignment:

Word Version: Unit 2 assessment: graphic representation of the carbon cycle (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 19kB Aug6 18)
PDF Version: Unit 2 assessment: graphic representation of the carbon cycle (Acrobat (PDF) 74kB Jun3 14)

Scoring rubric:

Word Version: Unit 2 assessment grading rubric (Microsoft Word 34kB Aug11 16)
PDF Version: Unit 2 assessment grading rubric (Acrobat (PDF) 80kB Aug18 16)

Unit 3

There are several ungraded (formative) and two graded (summative) means of assessment for this unit. (Ungraded assessments include keeping track of correct and insightful observations and statements during discussions of unit material and activities, as well as incorrect or "off-base" comments. In particular the initial "engagement" activity should provide baseline formative assessment for the instructor. Instructors are encouraged to assess groups' work as they tackle either the foraminifera or oxygen isotope data.) If time and student achievement level permits, the optional graded homework assignment (#4, below) could be assigned as a summative assessment. It could also work as an in-class group activity, if time permits.

Share δ18O data with students (for the sake of coming full circle in the activity, we collect these data from foraminferids, with their CaCO3 tests) and ask them to plot and interpret it.

Introduce oxygen isotopes as another paleotemperature proxy. Point out that for every 10,000 atoms of oxygen, the vast majority (9,977) are 16O, about 20 are 18O, and 3 would be 17O. Because there is more than six times as much 18O than 17O, we use 18O/16O ratios as our proxy (easier to measure that way). We calculate δ18O the same as we would other stable isotopes, like δ13C or δD. Optional:Instructors who want to streamline the assignment (focusing on graph interpretation alone rather than data manipulation, graphing skills, and then graph interpretation) can share the completed graph in the instructor's copy of the assignment and focus on the interpretive questions.

Student copy of the assignment:

Word Version: Student assessment activity w/ delta 18O data from benthic forams (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 38kB Aug16 16)
PDF Version: Student assessment activity w/ delta 18O data from benthic forams (Acrobat (PDF) 89kB Aug16 16)

Excel spreadsheet to distribute to students: ODP core 677 data (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 52kB Jul2 14)

Instructor's copy of the spreadsheet (with graph):

ODP core 677 data - with graph


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Instructor's copy of the assignment:

Word Version:

Instructor key: student assessment activity w/ delta 18O data from benthic forams


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PDF Version:
Instructor key: student assessment activity w/ delta 18O data from benthic forams


This file is only accessible to verified educators. If you are a teacher or faculty member and would like access to this file please enter your email address to be verified as belonging to an educator.

This assessment may be assigned as homework. With the plotting exercise in Microsoft Excel, the time estimate is 1 hour. If the instructor opts to share the graph and merely have students interpret it (rather than plot it), then it should take only 20 minutes.

Unit 4

The activities in this unit can be used formatively, so students can develop their understanding, ask questions, and learn by trial in class with their peers. There are several formative assessments in this unit that are ungraded ("Engagement activity - Fossil fuels, renewable and non-renewable energy sources", "Compare and Contrast Oil and Coal Resources" and "The Origin of Oil" activity). There are also activities which can be either graded or ungraded, at the instructor's option. These include the review questions in the PowerPoint presentation, the "Coal Specimen Identification" activity, "Calculations of CO2 production from burning fossil fuels", and the optional online homework.

Unit 5

The activities in this unit can be used formatively, so students can develop their understanding, ask questions, and learn by trial in class with their peers. The Gallery Walk questions (with a review of the answers in the PowerPoint presentation) can be used as a formative assessment. There are also activities which can be either graded or ungraded, at the instructor's option. These include the questions at the end of the PowerPoint presentation, and the optional homework assignments (U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Household Carbon Footprint Calculator, and the Graphing authentic data on CO2 changes, 1958-present activity).

Unit 6

The instructor should interact with students during the small group discussion part of this exercise. These interactions should quickly evaluate the correctness of the carbon reservoirs involved, determine student's general understanding of the proposals, and help facilitate discussing the broader impacts of a proposal, as necessary.

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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »