Assessment of Critical Thinking and Problem Solving in Biology
Kathryn Dickson & Anne Houtman
The Biology Department has been working for almost ten years to set goals for student learning and to develop assessment instruments and procedures to assess our progress toward meeting those goals. A primary focus has been on developing studentsí critical thinking and problem solving skills. We will share our definition of critical thinking and problem solving (CT/PS) in biology, present sample CT/PS assessment instruments that have been developed, discuss how they were developed and implemented as embedded assessments in specific courses, and summarize results to date for these assessments. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to identify a subset of student learning objectives related to CT/PS within their own discipline and to discuss the development of associated assessments and how they can be used as embedded assessments.
College and University faculty interested in developing a strategy to assess critical thinking and problem solving skills, and to use the results of assessment to inform their teaching.
Upon completion of this workshop, participants should be able to:
Kathryn Dickson received a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and has been on the CSUF faculty since 1988. Her research focuses on the evolution and development of endothermy in marine fishes and on fish locomotion. She has been actively involved throughout the Biology Departmentís curriculum reform.
Anne Houtman received a D.Phil. in Zoology from the University of Oxford, and has been on the CSUF faculty since 2003. Her laboratory has two research foci: the evolution of song in hummingbirds and science pedagogy. She is the current chair of the Biology Departmentís Assessment Committee.