Biology 110, Fall 2009, Prof. Stark, Assessment report
Note: Text on the assessment form students were given is in
Regular font while information and comments from students are in italics.
Information as well as future directions are also in italics at the end.
My interpretation of the history of assessment
"Assessment" in Missouri spread after the mid 1980's "Value
Added" program of Northeast Missouri State. It was originally intended
"to reliably evaluate the quality of educational training." In
April, 1998, SLU's Biology Department adopted a policy of having graduating
majors take the Graduate Record Exam, interpreting "assessment"
as "program assessment." On September 21, 2000, "each faculty
member" was charged to "develop an outcome assessment tool."
At this time, the interpretation was one of "student outcomes assessment."
In December 2002, "course assessment" replaced "student outcomes
assessment;" faculty were directed to collect information used to change
or improve the course in keeping with SLU's web blurb on assessment [http://www.slu.edu/opdr/SLU_Assessment.html]
("Assessment results are utilized to improve courses and curriculum").
There is a link to the assessment reports I have prepared since assessment
was mandated at SLU:
Here are the stated objectives of the course:
Learning Objectives: A student successfully completing this course should
1) Scholarship and knowledge of biology at a level appropriate for first
semester freshmen in a course targeted for majors in physical therapy, occupational
therapy, nutrition & dietetics and athletic training.
2) Intellectual inquiry and communication, especially orienting first semester
freshmen to the rigors of learning college level biology and the transition
from high school. Through lab exercises and exams, students apply and express
the concepts they acquire.
3) Community building from the standpoint of cooperation with classmates
and undergraduate teaching assistants in utilizing current laboratory techniques.
4) Leadership and service, in preparation toward a career in health service,
taking advantage of the opportunities of knowledge provided by your professor,
the authors of your text, your lab coordinator and your teaching assistants.
5) Spirituality and values, especially through acquiring the biological
information necessary to become good citizens and to lead rich and rewarding
"The course fulfilled these objectives."
1. strongly agree 2. agree 3. disagree 4. strongly disagree
Type your number here:
I think this course did a fine job of introducing me to college level
biology and was helpful to my career in PT. I think the knowledge I learned
will be a good foundation for what i have to come.
I felt it was rigorous enough to challenge me but also paced well enough
to help me adjust to college course.
I feel prepared for of having enough knowledge of Biology for the demands
of physical therapy.
This was my first college biology class but I really enjoyed it. I thought
Dr. Stark covered all of the topics very thoroughly and I feel I now have
a basic knowledge of biology that I can build on in further classes. I really
liked the lecture outlines and the podcasts posted online!
I feel that even in the short amount of time of a lot of information, I
learned a lot of the basic biology concepts that will help me with my major.
I really enjoyed this class very, very much and wish I could take more biology
with Mr. Stark in the future (especially instead of chemistry!). Thannk
you for providing an engaging and highly interesting class for me this year.
I really enjoyed this course, I learned a lot and built upon previous knowledge!
I was very satisfied with this class. The instructor applied the material
to common aspects of life and to many subjects that I will further investigate
in my desired field.
I really liked that the T.A.'s as well as professor Stark were always available
and willing to help with and questions or concerns. Although the materials
we covered were difficult for me, I feel that i got the basic knowledge
that I was meant too in this class.
I really liked this course and this was taught well and it was a lot
of info in little time.
I feel this was a great transition course from high school
to college. The level of difficulty makes me feel prepared for the
rest of college.
Learning 41 chapters in a single semester is pretty impressive...I can definitely
say that I learned a lot and that I now know how to study for a college
level course. The labs were also very good at incorporating the information
taught in lecture, which in turn, helped in expanding my knowledge in regards
Biology 110 served as a great freshman preparatory course. It covered previous
lessons from my high school anatomy/physiology class and other general areas
of biology as well. What is learned in lecture can be seen in the labs.
It is up to the student whether he or she makes this a difficult class or
Students for the last two years were largely satisfied with (1) a course
incorporating physiology, (2) the selection of topics, (3) the text, (4)
the lecture, (5) PowerPoints (6) web outlines, (6) previous exam questions
on the web, (7) PodCasts, and (8) coordination of labs with lectures. (feel
free to view http://starklab.slu.edu/Bio110/Assessment2007.htm and http://starklab.slu.edu/Bio110/Assessment2008.htm
for previous scores and comments) Are there any comments you wish to add?
I think the transition into Physiology was really well done, and it incorporated
Physiology in a very nice way. I enjoyed the selection of topics, especially
in the latter part of the course. The Lectures were nice, though I noticed
not many people showed up to a lot of lecture because it was so early. The
lectures were so beneficial so I recommend maybe making it a bit later?
The powerpoints, web outlines, and podcasts really helped me to do well
on the tests. After listening to the podcasts while going through outlines
I did substantially better on the test. The one thing that confused me was
sometimes the coordination of the labs and lectures, not all the time, just
some times. I felt more guidance could have been given during the labs to
do better on the postlabs.
The podcasts posted online were very helpful because some information is
only spoken rather than printed on slides. I find the slides a bit confusing
because they are not always in similar format and sometimes information
in ( ) is mainly tangential and does not necessarily define a word or even
relate to it for the most part.
I hought lecture topics were interesting and I really liked having access
to previous exam questions, that has really helped me on the tests. Lab
was also a very good learning experience.
Whatever areas that were not strong were due to a lack on my part, not the
The podcasts are really helpful, as well as the previous exam questions
I thorougly appreciated the Podcasts because if I missed something in class,
I was able to go back and find out what I missed.
I would also like to add that the review sessions held be the TA's are also
The sincerety of the professor. He wanted us to challenge us and help us
Comments about accreditation. Just as you are evaluated by tests,
your departments are evaluated by experts from other universities who want
to know the answers to:
Accreditation question #1 - Do you feel that you learned a lot of
general biology (e.g. genetics, evolution, diversity, etc) in this course?
I feel that i learned a great amount of biology within this semester.
Each new lecture was a new topic, so sometimes the amount of information
was overwhelming, but I think in the end it is necessary to have that amount
of information for me to get the full amount out of this class.
Yes, although it was survey-like we definitely covered a lot of material.
Yes, it covered a large amount of material and contained a lot of information
that interested me.
I learned a decent amount
There was a lot of information to be absoarbed in the class. I learned a
vast amount about Biology.
Yes, I do
i do believe that i learned a lot about general biology
l feel that I learned a lot of general biology, but at the same time, I
feel that I learned a lot of specifics about those general topics.
Yes. Along with having review from highschool, I learned a lot of new material.
I feel like this course definately expanded my knowledge of biology.
Yes. It was also a good review of what I learned in previous biology courses.
Yes while the course is a huge spectrum of biology that most learn in one
year at highschool, professor Stark delivers the information in a manner
that is efficient and effective in learning biology.
I felt that the course gave me a lot of general knowledge of biology. It
felt like it was very general and often times I thought that we were not
going into as much detail as I would have liked.
I feel that this biology class was well organized and gave me a thorough
understanding of biology. I do feel that I learned a lot of general biology
in this course; I think that this course highlighted the most important
topics of biology that apply to the majors the students are pursuing.
Definitely, a lot of material was covered and I feel that I learned even
more than expected in this course.
I definitely think I learned all the basics of biology. This course reviewed
what I learned in high school but also went into more depth.
Yes, it was a lot of information in a little time frame but I learned a
Yes, I feel as if a general foundation of biology was laid before we moved
on to build on those concepts.
Yes, I learned a lot about evolution and diversity!
I do believe that I have learned alot of biology, although I have taken
biology in high school, this course was more in depth.
Yes, definitely I really enjoyed learning about evolution and diversity
I do feel that I learned a fair amount of general biology from this course
Yes, I do
Yes I do; although the instructor covered the lectures and topics very quickly,
he made sure to give examples and he also made sure we understood the material.
Yes very much so!
Yes, I definitely learned a lot of general biology and I think that it is
a good foundation for the future. I feel that I learned a lot of general
biology. When I was in high school biology, I learned about some of these
topics, but I felt I learned a larger variety of topics, and this course
went more in depth than previous classes I have been in.
I believe that I did learn a lot about general biology. I feel like through
the lectures and taking the tests and having to study and read the book
I got a general understanding of biology.
yes, I have learned a lot of general biology, however, due to my own time
management issues, I did not learn as much. Still, I feel that this course
did supply a good amount of general biology for its level.
Yes I do
Yes. The information I learned this semester in biology was abundant and
Accreditation question #2 ­p; Do you feel that this course
oriented you well for further course work in your disciplines (PT, OT, AT
I think this course will show to be useful in my coming years of PT.
The topics i feel will be most useful would be the parts of the body.
Yes, especially our past lab/few lectures on the muscles and organs of the
body as well as their function.
Yes, the physiology sections especially allowed me to make connections with
the human body which I feel will be beneficial later on.
Sometimes, wasn't much to do about it; it's just general biology
Not really, I think there should have been more physiology and anatomy (especially
humans) in the course.
Yes, it was obvious how this bio course related to my major, physical therapy.
yes this class oriented me well for further course work in ot
I feel like this course has prepared me for my future career in Physical
Therapy. The extensive about of time spent on the physiology aspect secured
my interest in the Physical Therapy field.
I think some of the topics may be irrelevant to my profession; however,
the topics covering the body and its functions were very helpful
Yes and no. I feel as if some information was not necessary and irrelevant
to my major.
Yes, particularly the discussion of body systems, proteins, lipids, etc.
I am a major in PT and I felt the class was sufficient in delivering me
knowledge that I will need to be a successful physical therapist.
I think that if we focused more on anatomy or more in detail it would have
I also feel that this course oriented me well to further course work in
physical therapy because I have a good general understanding of biology
that will serve as a base for more complex concepts as I learn more about
physiology and anatomy.
I am going into PT and I think that the course helped especially when we
covered the different systems of the body and in the nutrition lecture.
Of course! I am a PT major and I think this course prepared me very well
for my future classes that relate to the body such as anatomy and physiology.
yes it gave me the basic knowledge that will help with other courses in
Yes, I do feel the last few sections especially correlated to my PT discipline.
I would have actually like to spend more time on that then the kingdoms
and other more generic biology topics. I really enjoyed the human physiology
part of the curriculum.
Yes, I do. I feel I have the biological knowledge I need to go through my
Yes I do believe that this course has well oriented me for PT.
Although I am planning on dropping my PT major I feel that this class did
an adequate job of preparing those who are going into the PT profession
Yes, I believe that it did orient me well.
Yes because it gave a good bases of biological sciences which will prepare
me for a further understanding of anatomy and physiology and other sciences
Yes, I think that this course orientated me well for my further course work
in physical therapy, it set a good foundation
I do feel like this course oriented me for further course work in PT, especially
the more recent lectures specifically about the human body.
Yes. I feel like having a general sense from this course will help me in
my future science courses.
I started out as a ND major. There is only one major section that covers
nutrition, and nutrition is touched upon throughout the semester, but one's
specific class for his or her major will be going more in depth in the certain
field. I do not feel that this course was lacking in the knowledge I needed.
Somewhat, yes. Clearly some of the information I will never need to review
again in my later years of PT but some of it yes, oriented me toward some
Yes. It gave me the foundation I need to continue my education in PT.
What were your favorite lecture topics?
My favorite lecture topics were the early earth compared to today's earth,
evolution, and nutrition. I always find evolution interesting, and I liked
the incorporation of physiology within this course. i feel like that will
help me the most with my major.
The human body systems and how they work and are intertwined.
I enjoyed talking about blood types because that is what my dad does for
a living and also the body systems were interesting as well.
My favorite lecture topics were on genetics and mitosis/meiosis.
The human body, mostly because it is relatable
development, genetics, evolution, origin of life, circulation
My favorite lecture topics were the physiology lectures. I am fascinated
with the nervous system and muscle system.
My favorite lecture topics were those about mitosis and meiosis and the
last lectures we covered that were focused on the human body.
The ones related to physiology.
digestive system and reproduction
Origin of life
Parts of a cell, the body systems, immunity
Genetics, Animal Kingdom, Body systems
I like studying about animals and humans. I enjoyed studying and learning
about their anatomy
My favorite lecture topics were genetics and evolution and circulation with
discussion of the human heart.
I enjoyed the nutrition topics and the different body systems lectures (such
as digestion and circulation).
I liked the lecutres that focused on the larger systems of the body, such
as the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, and the reproductive system.
Lectures about anatomy of the body and how the body works.
I would have a hard time choosing, but I really enjoyed the human and animal
physiology sections of the course.
I enjoyed the ones about the different body systems and those we learned
further on in the course.
Muscle, Nutrition, anything to do with exercise, Genetics
I liked the one about the formation of the earth and life itself. It was
so complex and yet so simply.
The lecture topics that have to do with the "bigger picture" like
the different organ systems, not the more microbiology part.
I liked learning about nutrition a lot, as well as evolution.
I highly enjoyed the lecture topic on evolution and creationism because
of the analysis required in that class. This is probably why I am dropping
my PT major as i have not done well in this class because I was not interested
in the science portion, but in the analysis and self reflection that it
stimulated in me
I enjoyed the muscle lecture and the lecture about the origin of life
My favorite lecture topics were genetics, respiration, and digestion.
Meiosis and Mitosis
Parts about the body.
Anatomy, Respiration, Circulation
I enjoyed learning about the different systems of the body the most
My favorite lecture topics were those involving the human body.
reproduction/development, senses, nutrition, and the different systems (immune,
digestive, circulatory, respiratory), history of life, etc.
cellular and dna
I enjoyed histology and studying the different organ systems.
I liked the lectures about the organs in our bodies, the reproductive system,
and the immune system. Development and muscles
I generally like more of the "big picture" topics--the big picture
on life, muscles, reproduction, different systems in the body, etc. Once
we "zoom in," for example, on the myofibril of the muscle and
its function, I start to lose my wonder (however, I'm not saying it is not
a wonderful thing). I find a lot of things interesting about biology, I
like learning about it--but once it gets down to the micro level learning
is a little more difficult for me.
When we got into systems in the body and away from diversity topics.
The Cardiovascular System
What were your favorite labs?
My favorite labs would have to be human physiology, anatomy, and the
metabolism lab. I found all of those labs to be very entertaining. From
all the labs, i felt that i learned a lot about the topic at hand, and was
able to relate each lab back to what i was learning in class. I think being
able to relate the labs to the lectures was beyond helpful.
I likes the blood pressure lab and the gel electrophoresis
heart rate ECG
My favorite labs were dissecting and the senses labs.
The short ones and the ones involving looking under the microscopes. It's
always interesting to see cells and bacteria
mendelian genetics in drosophila, cellular and colony morphologies of bacteria,
My favorite lab was the pig fetus. I enjoy the hands on aspect of the labs.
My favorite labs were the human physiology and special senses labs.
Definitely the pig dissection lab.
genetics, dissection, heart-rate
the blood pressure lab
genetics, lots of the early labs
Pig dissection, histology
My favorite lab was the fetal pig dissection.
My favorite labs were the pig dissection and the one with taking pulses.
One of my favorite labs was the dissection of the fetal pig and my other
favorite was electrophoresis.
My favorite labs were the piglet dissection lab and the physiology lab.
I really liked the lab in which we disected pigs. I also enjoyed the genetics
lab and the lab in which we interpreted pulse readings.
The dissection of the pig because I like to do hands on labs dealing with
things that relate to the body.
I really enjoyed the pig dissection.
My favorite labs were the histology & physiology labs.
Genetics, Human Physiology
My favorite lab was the fetal pig, but I think I am also going to enjoy
the jelly bean lab this week.
Dissections and very interactive labs.
I really enjoyed the fetal pig dissection and the final lab where we got
to dissect the cow eye and do other various tests on ourselves as well as
our lab partners.
My favorite lab thus far would have to be the dissection of the fetal pig.
It was quite interesting to actually see how everything interacted with
one another. It was quite stimulating.
I like the last two labs a lot! The senses and disecting are interesting
I honestly don't know if I had a favorite lab because I liked them all.
However, I did have a lot of fun with the senses lab, the heart rate lab,
and the natural selection lab.
The dissections were my favorite labs
My favorite lab was when we dissected the pig.
dissecting the pig and the eye, the senses, and ones where we used the microscope
I liked the Histology and Anatomy lab.
I enjoyed the lab when we dissected the pig and the one when we dissected
the cow eye.
the fetal pig dissection
The labs I found to be most enjoyable were: #5 Mendelian Genetics, #6 Microbiology
(Cellular and Colony Morphologies), #9 Histology, and #12 Special Senses.
The senses lab was pretty fun. Also the heart/blood pressure one.
Genetics and Aerobic and Anaerobic Respiration
Are there any changes you would like to see in this course in future years?
For future years, I feel that the course itself seems pretty solid. For
me, lecture halls are hard to fully focus in so maybe get more than one
BIO class so the number of students would not be so large. Other than that,
the power points were a good way to help break down the information. The
most helpful thing about this course was the podcasts. Being able to go
back and listen to the lecture was truly helpful.
No, it was very well structured for a general biology course.
I especially liked having the podcasts and review questions to study with
and would have liked to have the powerpoints to review with.
More organized lectures.
For changes, I think there should be more anatomy and physiology added into
No, I enjoyed this class. It was straightforward and easy to understand.
I was impressed with my first college biology course. I looked forward to
going to class because I knew that I would learn something interesting everyday.
I think the course is very good. There is a wide range of teaching styles
that accommodate the students very well: lecture outlines, visuals, podcasts,
previous exam questions, etc. The only thing I would suggest is possibly
shortening some of the lectures, because I feel as though some of them were
rushed, which made it hard to comprehend the material I was learning.
I felt as if some of the information taught was rushed and unrelated which
tended to make it difficult to study properly because it was very hard to
coordinate topics and make connections.
I feel the information is run through very quickly in lecture and it is
hard for students to keep up. also the way the information is presented
sometimes is unclear.
The lectures at times seem to go off topic and it is hard to pick out the
important information. Other than that it is good.
No, I believe the course is where it should be
I have no suggestions for the class.
In future years, it would be nice if the lab groups could change a few times
throughout semester so that the students could meet more people and everyone
would have an equal opportunity to be in a group with the "good"
students, and have the opportunity to learn from the best students how to
become a better student.
None that I can think of!
It is a lot of information to fit into one semester.
More Weird Al!
Just the time of the course, it could be moved later so more people could
attend and possibly more opportunities for points besides just exams.
Play the music louder before classes. I love most of those songs.
Maybe a better review session before the test.
I really wish there wasn't a final...but that is the only thing and I highly
doubt that will happen.
The lectures seemed a bit drab and were slightly boring. If there were a
way to make the class more interactive, which I realize is nearly impossible
with a class of such magnitude, the class would engage me more, and I would
feel less like a face in a crowd and more like a student.
I don't think so!
More interesting and less monotone instructor.
No, I really enjoyed this course
I thoroughly enjoyed the course, even though some of the material was
difficult. I cannot think of anything that needs to be changed
I can't think of anything
I wish that we were introduced to our lecture TA's earlier and that they
held more review sessions besides the ones right before an exam.
During lecture, it would be most helpful if you could slow down when going
over some of the slides on the PowerPoint presentation, since some students
neither have an outline printed out from the web nor do they bring their
laptops to class. Also, you can spread some of the information out on PowerPoint
slides (instead of one slide with many bullet points, make two or three
with fewer bullet points)--I think this would make note-taking easier. Thank
I would like to see more real-life examples relating to the topics we learn
in class to help us remember them.
All of your constructive and well-intentioned comments will be added
to an on-line report anonymously. (Obviously, I will not publish distasteful
remarks on my web site.) The report will take your comments into consideration
and will propose suggestions for future development of this course.
129 students (down from last year) completed this course, 78 in Exercise
science physical therapy, 15 in Nutrition and dietetics, 15 in Occupational
Science, 13 in Athletic training, and 8 in other majors or undecided.`
There is still a problem with summer registration, but the situation
Registration was supposed to be restricted to PT, ND & OT. The "other"
should have been assigned to Biology 104, not Biology 110. The advisors
doing summer registration should do a better job enforcing the registration
restrictions. This would (1) avoid many complicated issues; and (2) either
lower the class size or allow for increases in the PT, ND and OT programs
without increasing class size.
Test 1 - mean=30.3 (out of 50) curve = 2.46
Test 2 - mean= 35(out of 50) curve = 2.54
Test 3 - mean= 37.8 (out of 50) curve = 2.74
Test 4 - mean= 34.3 (out of 50) curve = 2.67
Final - mean= 68 (out of 100)
Course grade curve = 3.06
Interpretation of test statistics
In terms of course assessment, the range from low to high scores means
that the course is definitely challenging but that the material can be learned.
How the test statistics constrain future directions based on student comments
The evidence based on the test scores validates the utility of this coverage;
students have not mastered this material in high school. I must teach to
the whole class. In order that all students are "on the same page"
they must be exposed to these topics at the level of one semester of college
The in-class and final lecture tests determine 75% of the course grade
(with the lab counting 25%) since this is a four credit, three hour lecture
course with a 3 hr lab. By simple arithmetic, each of the 3 in-class hourly
exams which will count (the lowest exam is dropped) determine 15% of the
final grade; the final counts 30%. Students were told that exams would be
distribured as follows:A 94-100%, A- 90-93.9%, B+ 87-89.9%, B 84-86.9%,
B- 80-83.9%, C+ 77-79.9%, C 74-76.9%, C- 70-73.9%, D 57-69.9%, F 0-56.9%.
Students were also told that, if necessary (and it was), the grading of
each exam as well as the final course grading would be adjusted upward to
be consistent with last year's grading.
Grade curve and how it relates to pedagogy and retention
The test curves were deliberately lower than the curve I intended for the
course -- part of my job as a professor is to encourage students to work
hard and to learn. There was only 1 D and no Fs out of 129 students. I thought
it would not be acceptable to interfere with PT, ND, AT and OT programs
and retentions by giving terrible grades to many of their students in an
out-of-department service course in their very first semester in college.
SLU's 5 dimensions
The understanding in the Biology Department is that Northcentral would
be scrutinizing whether we met these standards in our courses. My learning
objectives dovetail my goals with all 5 dementions verbatim. A positive
score (1.42) and positive comments present data that the students thought
these objectives were met (and thus that this course did a good job addressing
SLU's 5 dimensions).
Teacher evaluation vs assessment
Students have a hard time distinguishing these, and no wonder since the
discussion is blurred in virtually every faculty level discussion. Although
there are some criticisms in what should have been strictly an assessment
questionaire, most comments (that seemed to be teacher evaluations) are
suitable for framing.
What is assessment?
It is a moving target! My interpretation (see My interpretation...,
above) is that the information should be directed toward improving the course.
However, if "student outcomes" are sought, questions like "Do
you feel that you learned a lot in this course?" in the questionaire
address this Affirmative and positive comments say that the students thought
that learned a lot.
THE QUESTIONS ADDRESSED TO ACCREDITATION
(1) Should students in a professional track learn standard biology (like
genetics and evloution)?
Yes! It is too early to close the door to a liberal ecucation. Biology is
central to careers in the health professions, and at least some coverage
of genetics and evolution should be part of the curriculum. In a meeting
(June 16) to discuss PT's and AT's upcoming accreditation, Prof. Reinking,
Chair of PT, expressed the opinion that the accreditation team would want
a substantive course, not strictly a targeted course. Students were positive
in their replies that they learned a lot of general biology.
(2) Why bother with material they will get later?
The last half of the course (physiology) was designed to orient PT,
OT, ND and AT students to their chosen careers. The physiology coverage
might be considered redundant. At this level, redundancy is a useful pedagogical
tool in my opinion. Students should learn the material in their programs
better if (1) they are oriented toward it from the outset, and (2) they
are exposed to it several times. Students did answer in the affirmative
that this course oriented them well.
Changes to improve the course next year
(1) Virtually every lecture topic was the favorite topic in at least one
comment. Likewise, every lab was at least someone's favorite. Basically,
keep the coures as it is.
(2) Many other improvements can address student comments by minor changes
in the specific contents of each lecture.
(3) Make certain that lecture and lab coordination takes into account the
dates of the exams.
(4) Each lecture was self contained, and so the syllabus was strictly adhered
to. This was wonderful, in some respects, but it resulted in some lectures
being too busy. Make certain that these outlines and powerpoints (for instance
prokaryotes and viruses) actually reflect the lecture that can be given
in an hour.
This page was last updated 1/14/10
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