Authentic Assessment Using Biology Lab Practicals
Authentic assessment tasks use real world contexts and are aligned with the assessment and content standards we create (Doran et al., 1998). In the context of gathering data to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of student learning (Angelo and Cross, 1993), the assessment cycle that the instructor employs becomes directly analogous to the process that scientists themselves employ in scientific research (D’Avanzo, 2000). Biology laboratory practicals present a great opportunity to authentically assess individual student achievement of laboratory and field skills and, where multiple lab sections characterize the institution, lend themselves well to the collection and analysis of data on student learning. Yet, lab practicals seem to have become less common over the past few decades while science education reform, and most of our colleges and universities, have indicated an increasing need for documenting our assessment strategies over the same time period.
Published in: Tested Studies for Laboratory Teaching, Volume 34, January 1, 2013, pages 287-289. Copyright © 2013 Proceedings of the 34th Conference of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE).