Authentic Assessment Using Biology Lab Practicals

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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Tested Studies for Laboratory Teaching

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Proceedings of the 34th Conference of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE)


Access Rights: This resource is for ABLE members only.

Conference Location and Year: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (2012)


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.


Assessment, Lab Practical, Laboratory Exercise