A Framework for General Chemistry and Biology Laboratory Design and Evaluation

Student Author(s)

Sarah Mattioli
Elizabeth Ensink

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Justin Shorb and Professor Vanessa Muilenburg

Document Type


Event Date



The Departments of Chemistry and Biology at Hope College have a history of excellence in science education with an emphasis on integration of research experiences into undergraduate education. Hope College has endeavored to include proven new teaching methods such as peer review, real-world contextualization, and inquiry-based experiments into their curriculum as cohesively as possible. Here, a full literature review of recommended learning objectives will be presented, along with a meta-analysis, to generate a useful rubric for evaluating the quality of any General Chemistry or Biology Laboratory curriculum, followed by its application to Hope College’s own General Chemistry and General Biology sequence. Highlights of this project include a breakdown of the strengths of our current curricula as well as research-guided avenues for improvements with subsequent iterative evaluation. At the heart of this research is the creation of a framework for both design of new laboratories and evaluation of curricula that can be applied universally to any existing program to aid in the incorporation of effective pedagogies. The transferability of this generic iterative framework for improving laboratory curriculum to other institutions will be discussed.


This research was supported by the Day1 Program through a grant from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, and by an award to Hope College from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through the Undergraduate Science Education Program.

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