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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

This module contains formative assessments embedded in the modules themselves. Below, we provide a summative assessment designed to evaluate student learning in the module as a whole. This assessment is designed as a test question, to be included as part of a midterm or final exam. It addresses both the process of recognizing potential risks due to geological hazards (module goal 1) and the time scales associated with hazard assessment (module goal 2).

Module Summative Assessment

1. The data below are from a volcano monitored remotely. Satellites recorded an ash plume from the eruption, but you, as a scientist, need to more precisely pinpoint the eruption.

1a. Describe what the graphs above tell you about the volcano's activity during this time period. Use the data to describe when the eruption occurred (month/year) and explain how you know this.

1b. List at least one other type of data that you would like to see to better interpret the activity and how you expect that data would change during this time period.

1c. The USGS monitors remote volcanoes, such as those on the Aleutian Islands in Alaska—an area with a very small population. Why might this be a useful thing to do? Describe two costs and two benefits to society associated with monitoring a remote volcano like this one.

2. Recall the risk equation: Risk = Hazard Probability x Vulnerability x Value.

2a. What are two specific characteristics of a building or site that would increase the seismic risk to that building? Explain your answer.

2b. Describe two mitigation strategies that would decrease the seismic risk to the building you described above. Explain your answer.

Rubric

Each requirement of this question should be scored on a numerical scale, with 0 representing an answer that does not meet standards and the full score an answer that indicates mastery. Question 1 is worth 7 points, and question 2 is worth 4 points.

This

rubric


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contains sample responses.

Module Summative Assessment

Below are three numbered situations in which planning agencies and emergency managers in plate boundary environments would need geological monitoring or hazard assessment data. Choose one situation. For that situation, use your experience with geological hazards in this course to explain, as specifically as possible:

  • the type(s) of geologic information that a geologist would need to assess potential geological hazards, vulnerability, and activity
  • how a geologist might use the data in the context of risk assessment
  • the time scales over which the information would be useful (e.g. a short-term alert within days/weeks, a long-term forecast over several decades, etc.)
  • ways in which planners could mitigate the risks of the specific hazards to people and property in their regions
  1. A county planning commission is deciding whether to allow high-rise construction permits in a transform plate boundary environment.
  2. An army base, built on the flank of a newly active volcano at a convergent plate boundary, is deciding whether to evacuate.
  3. An insurance agency is evaluating property insurance rates in a housing development near a divergent plate boundary volcano that has had activity within the last 50 years, but is not currently monitored.

Rubric

Each requirement of this question should be scored on a numerical scale of 0-3, with 0 representing an answer that does not meet standards and a 3 an answer that indicates mastery. The question is therefore worth 9 points.

Each of

these responses


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would earn a score of 3/3 in all categories.

Criterion 1: The student can explain the type(s) of geologic information that a geologist would need to assess potential geological hazards, vulnerability, and activity. (Aligned with module goal 1)

3 points: Student can correctly identify the types of geological information required for hazard and vulnerability assessment in the chosen plate boundary environment, and can relate data to either hazard and vulnerability analysis or to signs of geologic activity. Examples of information types include past seismic activity, soil type /site condition, liquefaction potential, and landslide potential (or slope) for situation 1.

2 Points: Student can correctly identify most of the types of geological information required for hazard and vulnerability assessment in the chosen plate boundary environment, or student correctly identifies all information but includes information that is not relevant, or student can correctly identify but cannot explain all types of geological activity.

1 Point: Student can correctly identify and explain at least one of the types of geological information required for hazard and vulnerability assessment in the chosen plate boundary environment.

0 Points: Student cannot correctly identify or explain any of the types of geological information required for hazard and vulnerability assessment in the chosen plate boundary environment.

Criterion 2: The student can determine the time scales over which geological information would be useful to planning agencies and emergency managers (e.g. a short-term alert within days/weeks, a long-term forecast over several decades, etc.). (Aligned with module goal 2)
3 points: For each type of geological information listed, the student correctly identifies the time scale over which geological information would be useful to planning agencies and emergency managers. For example, in situation 1, all of the data types listed above would be useful over the long term (decades) rather than as immediate signals of activity.
2 Points: The student correctly identifies the time scale over which more than one piece of geological information would be useful, but some determinations are incorrect.
1 Point: The student correctly identifies the time scale over which one piece of geological information would be useful, but other determinations are incorrect.
0 Points: The student does not correctly identify the time scale over which the listed geological information would be useful.
Criterion 3: Given the chosen situation, the student can propose ways in which planners could mitigate the risks of the specific hazards to people and property in their regions. (Aligned with module goal 2)

3 points: The student proposes at least one possible way in which planners could mitigate risk due to the specific geological hazards implied by the chosen situation. The proposal includes specific guidelines for mitigation. For example, in situation 1, the student may propose that the planners require that high-rises be built of reinforced concrete, without soft stories, and with foundations appropriate to withstand expected ground motion.

2 Points: The student proposes at least one possible way in which planners could mitigate risk due to the specific geological hazards implied by the chosen situation. The proposal does not include specific guidelines for mitigation.

1 Point: The student proposes at least one possible way in which planners could mitigate risk, but the proposal is not appropriate to the situation chosen. For example, in situation 1, proposing (only) that planners inform the public about earthquake risk is not an appropriate mitigation strategy.

0 Points: The student does not propose any way in which planners could mitigate risk.


Unit Assessments

Unit 1 Summative Assessment

This question is appropriate as either a written assignment or exam question.

Most of California's population is concentrated in large cities near the plate boundary. The statewide probability map suggests that overall, there is a 99% chance of a damaging M=(6.7 or greater) earthquake occurring somewhere in the state in the next 30 years. Should resources for earthquake preparedness be spread evenly across the state? Explain your reasoning using a set of 2-3 sentences or bullet points, supported with information from this unit.

Response evaluates the regional earthquake risk along the Pacific-North American transform plate boundary in California. (Unit learning objective 4)

3 points: Response describes contributions of regional differences in both earthquake probability and population as important factors in deciding how to allocate earthquake preparedness resources. Earthquake probability calculation process is described or explained.

2 points: Response describes contributions of regional differences in both earthquake probability and population as important factors in deciding how to allocate earthquake preparedness resources.

1 point: Response describes regional differences in earthquake probability as an important factor in deciding how to allocate earthquake preparedness resources.

0 points: Response does not refer to regional differences in earthquake probability as an important factor in deciding how to allocate earthquake preparedness resources.

Unit 2 Summative Assessment

We recommend using this as a writing assignment, administered as homework.

Based on your risk assessment of the five schools in this activity, make the case for funding upgrades to buildings at two schools. Prepare a set of bullet points to be presented to the City of San Francisco that uses data from your analysis to support your recommendations. If additional measures are necessary to mitigate risk at other schools, outline them and support them as well.

We recommend using the following rubric to score the summative assessment. The three requirements correspond approximately to the three unit learning goals. Each requirement of this question should be scored on a numerical scale of 0-3, with 0 representing an answer that does not meet standards and a 3 an answer that indicates mastery. The question is therefore worth 9 points.

Criterion 1: The student explains how specific geological characteristics of the school site (strong shaking potential, which includes rock/soil type and distance from potentially active faults; liquefaction potential; landslide potential) contribute to seismic hazard. (Aligned with unit goal 1)

3 Points: The response correctly identifies the degree to which the school sites are exposed to seismic hazard, and explains the factors contributing to the seismic hazard at each specific site. Complete explanations include a discussion of:

    • proximity to active faults
    • rock/soil type and consolidation (liquefaction potential)
    • proximity to steep slope

2 Points: The response correctly identifies the degree to which the school sites are exposed to seismic hazard, but incompletely explains the factors contributing to the seismic hazard at each specific site (i.e. not all of the points listed above under "complete explanations" are included).

1 Point: The response incorrectly identifies the degree to which the school sites are exposed to seismic hazard, but explains at least one factor contributing to the seismic hazard at each specific site.

0 Points: The response incorrectly identifies the degree to which the school sites are exposed to seismic hazard, and does not explain any of the factors contributing to the seismic hazard at a specific site.

Criterion 2: The student explains how construction at each school site could be upgraded to enhance seismic safety. (Aligned with unit goal 2)

3 Points: The response correctly identifies specific seismic hazard mitigation options and explains why they would be useful at the two chosen school sites. The mitigation options are relevant to the hazards outlined in the response. These may include:

    • To mitigate loose soil/ liquefaction effects: add deep piles to foundation, dewater or densify sediment
    • To mitigate effects of shaking: reinforce soft stories, add devices to resist vibration

2 Points: The response identifies specific seismic hazard mitigation options and explains why they would be useful at the two chosen school sites. The mitigation options are not all relevant to the hazards outlined in the response.

1 Point: The response identifies seismic hazard mitigation options but does not explain why they would be useful at the two chosen school sites. The mitigation options are not necessarily relevant to the hazards outlined in the response.

0 Points: The response does not identify seismic hazard mitigation options.

Requirement 3: The student appropriately calculates risk as a combination of hazard, vulnerability, and value, with value in this case referring to the potential number of lives saved. (Aligned with unit goal 3)

3 Points: The response takes into account all risk factors when prioritizing seismic retrofits.

1.5 Points: The response is based only on one or two risk factors.
0 Points: The response does not refer to calculated risk.

A successful case will:

  • Refer specifically to seismic hazard, construction, and student population information from the activity
  • Identify schools that could be better served by abandonment than retrofitting
  • Use a logical argument, supported by data, to communicate seismic risk

Unit 3 Summative Assessment

Summative assessment can be completed formally by collecting tables 1 and 2 (keys to tables 1 and 2 are in

instructor's ppt


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) or by asking students to write responses to discussion items in Part 5 (reproduced below), and can be graded using this guide (Acrobat (PDF) 84kB Aug21 14) or according to instructor's preference.

What are some reasons that data useful for eruption monitoring and prediction at divergent plate boundaries might not be available in all circumstances?

Unit 4 Summative Assessment

Question 1 is intended for use as a test question, and question 2 is intended as a homework question. However, both could alternatively be incorporated into a more extensive homework assignment, or could even be used as formative assessment as part of an in-class activity in a longer (e.g. 75-minute) class period.

1. In order to warn citizens and take effective action to save lives and property, emergency management officials need at least a few days of advance warning before a natural disaster such as a volcanic eruption occurs. Based on your experience monitoring Eyjafjallajokull, describe the monitoring data you would need, and the criteria you would you use with those data to decide when to issue a warning of a volcanic eruption. How would you differentiate the earliest indications that a volcano is waking up from the indications of an eruption?

- Monitoring data would include a network of seismometers and high-precision GPS stations, continuously recording earthquake activity and GPS station location so that baseline, background activity can be characterized and changes from that baseline/background level can be identified. Other data mentioned in the prework, but not covered in the class work include tiltmeter and gas emission data.
- Earliest warning signs in an increase in numbers of earthquakes underneath the volcano and motion of GPS stations outward and away from the volcano indicating inflation as magma intrudes underneath the volcano. Other data not covered in the prework include progressive shallowing of seismic activity, occurrence of seismic tremor, and onset/increase in volcanic gas emission (especially SO2).
- Indications that an eruption is imminent would be abrupt changes or accelerations in any of this activity.

This rubric is used to assess student responses to the question above based on two criteria. Responses are scored on a scale of 0-3, with 3 indicating mastery.
Criterion 1: Response to question 1 describes several methods geologists use to monitor geologic activity associated with volcanic eruptions. (Unit Learning Objective 1)
3 Points: Response accurately describes GPS, seismic monitoring, and other methods not discussed in the in-class work.
2 Points: Response accurately describes GPS and seismic monitoring.
1 Point: Response accurately describes GPS or seismic monitoring.
0 points: Response dose not describe valid methods for volcano monitoring.
Criterion 2: Response to question 1 describes specific signs of pre-eruptive activity and eruption in both GPS and seismic records. (Unit Learning Objective 2)
3 Points: Response describes both signs of pre-eruptive activity and eruption, in both GPS and seismic records. Descriptions are specific enough that the reader could identify such signs in a record.
2 Points: Response is missing one of the following: signs of pre-eruptive activity or eruption, in GPS or seismic records. Descriptions are specific enough that the reader could identify such signs in a record.
1 Point: Response is missing more than one of the following, or more than one of the following are vaguely described: signs of pre-eruptive activity or eruption, in GPS or seismic records.
0 points: Response dose not describe valid methods for volcano monitoring.

2. Nyiragongo is a volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo that sits in the East African Rift Valley, a divergent plate boundary. Its eruption of 2002 killed about 150 people, destroyed 15% of the city of Goma, and left 120,000 people homeless. View the 8-minute video from Television for Education – Asia Pacific found at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZLSvO6vJZ0#t=40

List at least four factors that prevented effective monitoring at Nyiragongo. Describe how each factor contributed to the negative consequences of this eruption.


- Sufficient monitoring systems were not in place/not used
- Technical difficulties/remoteness/resource limitations
- Vandalism of monitoring equipment
- No baseline data
- Information not disseminated/population not prepared to react appropriately, no action plan
- Existence of a lava lake, voluminous volume erupted, and very fluid lava, which flowed quickly
- Steep-sided volcano near a populated area
- Civil unrest/government instability

This rubric is used to assess student responses to the question above based on one criterion. Responses are scored on a scale of 0-3, with 3 indicating mastery.
Criterion 1: Response to question 2 describes factors that determine whether volcano monitoring can be effective in mitigating risk to people and property. (Unit Learning Objective 1)

3 Points: Response specifically describes at least four problematic aspects of monitoring at Nyiragongo, and explains how each contributed to the negative consequences of the eruption.

2 Points: Response specifically describes at least four problematic aspects of monitoring at Nyiragongo, but does not completely explain how each contributed to the negative consequences of the eruption.

1 Point: Response describes fewer than four problematic aspects of monitoring at Nyiragongo, and may or may not completely explain how each contributed to the negative consequences of the eruption.

0 points: Response dose not describe methods used for volcano monitoring at Nyiragongo.


Units 5 and 6 Summative Assessment

As a summative assessment for this activity, students write a bulleted report to the State of Washington's Emergency Management Division. The report advises the officials of the outcomes of the eruption, what areas should be prioritized for disaster relief assistance, and how a similar disaster in the future can be mitigated through strategic planning. See

Unit 5 Assessment


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. An
Instructor's Assessment Rubric


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is also posted.



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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 »