ERIC Number: EJ1017235
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 64
Verbal Final Exam in Introductory Biology Yields Gains in Student Content Knowledge and Longitudinal Performance
Luckie, Douglas B.; Rivkin, Aaron M.; Aubry, Jacob R.; Marengo, Benjamin J.; Creech, Leah R.; Sweeder, Ryan D.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v12 n3 p515-529 Sep 2013
We studied gains in student learning over eight semesters in which an introductory biology course curriculum was changed to include optional verbal final exams (VFs). Students could opt to demonstrate their mastery of course material via structured oral exams with the professor. In a quantitative assessment of cell biology content knowledge, students who passed the VF outscored their peers on the medical assessment test (MAT), an exam built with 40 Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) questions (66.4% ["n" = 160] and 62% ["n" = 285], respectively; p less than 0.001);. The higher-achieving students performed better on MCAT questions in all topic categories tested; the greatest gain occurred on the topic of cellular respiration. Because the VF focused on a conceptually parallel topic, photosynthesis, there may have been authentic knowledge transfer. In longitudinal tracking studies, passing the VF also correlated with higher performance in a range of upper-level science courses, with greatest significance in physiology, biochemistry, and organic chemistry. Participation had a wide range but not equal representation in academic standing, gender, and ethnicity. Yet students nearly unanimously (92%) valued the option. Our findings suggest oral exams at the introductory level may allow instructors to assess and aid students striving to achieve higher-level learning.
Descriptors: Introductory Courses, Cytology, College Science, Verbal Tests, Achievement Gains, Science Achievement, Science Tests, Longitudinal Studies, Undergraduate Students, Advanced Courses, Student Participation, Student Attitudes
American Society for Cell Biology. 8120 Woodmont Avenue Suite 750, Bethesda, MD 20814-2762. Tel: 301-347-9300; Fax: 301-347-9310; e-mail: email@example.com; Website: http://www.ascb.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: ACT Assessment; Medical College Admission Test