BIOL 415 Nerve Cell Mechanisms in Behavior
BIOL 615 Neural Bases of Behavior
Spring, 2011 Assessment Report
TEXT OF SURVEY AND QUESTIONS
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:
For students contemplating or beginning graduate study in neuroscience,
this course should orient them. For students going to medical school, this
course should offer them the opportunity to take better advantage of several
courses in their academic years. For graduate students already engaged in
neuroscience research, as well as graduate and undergraduate students in
other areas, this course should present a comprehensive survey of the entire
field of neuroscience.
"The course fulfilled these objectives." For responses, go
"These objectives were reasonable." For responses, go here
"The selection of topics for emphasis was reasonable." For responses,
"The level of the textbook was appropriate." For responses,
"Outlines on the web were an important resource." For responses,
"Consolidating chapter and web figures and outline portions into Power
Point presentations improved the lectures." For responses, go
"Having previous year's applicable test questions on each outline was
a useful study aid." For responses, go here
"Having stories from recent and landmark literature was useful."
For responses, go here
"Having links to Nobel lectures is an interesting resource for the
web site." For responses, go here
"Having student presentations helped achieve closure and scholarship."
For responses, go here
Make a statement about attendance.
Make a statement about the relevance of SLU's 5 dimensions to this course
and its assessment (http://www.slu.edu/opdr/Five_Dimensions.html)
Are there any topics you would like to be added to the syllabus in future
Are there any topics you think should be reduced or eliminated?
The class enrollment was considerably larger than ever before and the
probable reasons are two-fold (1) it had not been offered when I was on
sabbatical in 2010, and (2) there was an influx of students from the new
neuroscience contract amjor. There were two graduate students (in BIOL 615),
one of whom was in biology. there were 25 undergraduates (in BIOL 415),
5 were 5th year, 18 were seniors, and 2 were juniors. 9 were neuroscience
majors, 13 were biology majors, 2 were environmental science majors, and
1 was a psychology major.
Because of the popularity of the neuroscience contract major, and the likelihood
that it will become a genuine major, as well as the overall trend to increased
enrollments, the enrollment is expected to increas yearly.
The grading curve was 3.47, close, but a little lower, than the previous
two years, but higher than years before that. I attribut this to better
learning outcome in recent years.
There were 3 tests of 65 points, short answer:
Test 1, average = 43.3, SD=12.38 , High=64 low=14
Test 2, average = 43.2, SD=10.45 , High=62 low=21
Test3, average = 37.87, SD=12.38, High=62 low=16.5
High scores indicate that the material could be learned. Low scores indicate
that the material was challenging.
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
In general, the course was met with approval. Thus, in terms of changes,
only fine tuning is suggested.
Possibly I should finally give in to pressure to post PowerPoints
Possibly I should cut several topics. Most likely to go would be "language
and cognition" and "memory and the brain," some of the weakest,
shortest, and most hurried topics. The loss might be minimized since the
outline and PodCast links could be kept as a resource. Sadly, if enrollment
grows, the dissection may become too cumbersome to include.
This page was last updated 7/28/11
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