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ERIC Number: EJ940135
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1059-9053
Problem-Based Learning and Assessment in Hydrology Courses: Can Non-Traditional Assessment Better Reflect Intended Learning Outcomes?
Lyon, Steve W.; Teutschbein, Claudia
Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, v40 p199-205 2011
Hydrology has at its core a focus on real-world applications and problems stemming from the importance of water for society and natural systems. While hydrology is firmly founded in traditional "hard" sciences like physics and mathematics, much of the innovation and excitement in current and future research-oriented hydrology comes through intersection with other disciplines. This leads to combinations of intended learning outcomes (ILOs) in hydrology courses that may not be easily or completely achieved using traditional lecture based learning environments or using basic problem-solving techniques. Problem-based learning (PBL) may work well in hydrology courses due to the focus on real-world applications and cross-discipline nature of modern hydrology. Since PBL differs from traditional teacher centered approaches, student learning must be supported and assessed differently. This article focuses on identifying several non-traditional assessment forms to help facilitate the use of PBL approaches in hydrology courses. We present an example hydrology modeling course employing one such non-traditional PBL-specific form of assessment. Further, we seek to test the hypothesis that non-traditional assessment associated with PBL better reflects the ability of the students to achieve the ILOs in such courses. Results from the example course considered indicate that students not only preferred but also performed better in a PBL environment with its non-traditional form of assessment. This makes a strong case for incorporating both PBL and associated non-traditional forms of assessment into our teaching in hydrology and other applied science courses. (Contains 2 tables and 1 figure.)
American Society of Agronomy. 677 South Segoe Road, Madison, WI 53711. Tel: 608-273-8080; Fax: 608-273-2021; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Sweden (Stockholm)