Session Type

Presentation

Room

PAB 150

Start Date

11-7-2013 2:15 PM

Keywords

Bloom’s taxonomy, biology of health, first year biology

Primary Threads

Evaluation of Learning

Abstract

We have recently designed and implemented a unique, large (1800 students/year) first year biological concepts of health course (BIOL*1080) aimed at promoting higher order thinking skills and attributes. Our course served as one of three courses that replaced two more traditional biology courses (BIOL*1030 and BIOL*1040) and incorporates seminar, lab and interdisciplinary assignments in an attempt to foster skills in areas such as oral and written communication, critical thinking, and independent learning. To determine if we were successful in designing a course centered on the teaching and assessment of higher order thinking skills, we ranked the course evaluative materials based on Bloom’s taxonomy (Zheng, A.Y., Science 319:414,2008). Bloom’s taxonomy is a hierarchical categorization of knowledge and thinking skills comprised of 6 levels (from lowest to highest): knowledge - 1, comprehension – 2, application – 3, analysis – 4, synthesis – 5, and evaluation – 6. Briefly, each exam question and assignment was scored by a team of 6 individuals with varying degrees of familiarity with the course. Scores per test/assignment were averaged and a weighted average was calculated for the entire course, with a higher weighted average representing assessment of a higher order of thinking. The average bloom level for our course was 3.28±0.15 which was significantly higher than one of the more traditional biology courses (BIOL*1030 – 1.93±0.08 ) but not the second course (BIOL*1040 – 2.95±0.17). The blooming exercise provided a useful metric to assess the level of higher order thinking required for newly developed courses and allowed for comparisons between courses to be objective.

Media Format

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Jul 11th, 2:15 PM

Promoting higher order thinking skills in biology: evaluation of a newly developed course using Bloom’s taxonomy.

PAB 150

We have recently designed and implemented a unique, large (1800 students/year) first year biological concepts of health course (BIOL*1080) aimed at promoting higher order thinking skills and attributes. Our course served as one of three courses that replaced two more traditional biology courses (BIOL*1030 and BIOL*1040) and incorporates seminar, lab and interdisciplinary assignments in an attempt to foster skills in areas such as oral and written communication, critical thinking, and independent learning. To determine if we were successful in designing a course centered on the teaching and assessment of higher order thinking skills, we ranked the course evaluative materials based on Bloom’s taxonomy (Zheng, A.Y., Science 319:414,2008). Bloom’s taxonomy is a hierarchical categorization of knowledge and thinking skills comprised of 6 levels (from lowest to highest): knowledge - 1, comprehension – 2, application – 3, analysis – 4, synthesis – 5, and evaluation – 6. Briefly, each exam question and assignment was scored by a team of 6 individuals with varying degrees of familiarity with the course. Scores per test/assignment were averaged and a weighted average was calculated for the entire course, with a higher weighted average representing assessment of a higher order of thinking. The average bloom level for our course was 3.28±0.15 which was significantly higher than one of the more traditional biology courses (BIOL*1030 – 1.93±0.08 ) but not the second course (BIOL*1040 – 2.95±0.17). The blooming exercise provided a useful metric to assess the level of higher order thinking required for newly developed courses and allowed for comparisons between courses to be objective.