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Avoiding Reflex Responses: Strategies for Revealing Students' Conceptual Understanding in Biology Documents

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Avoiding Reflex Responses: Strategies for Revealing Students' Conceptual Understanding in Biology 

written by Michael Klymkowsky, Rachel Gheen, and Kathy Garvin-Doxas

There is widespread concern about the level of scientific literacy in the U. S. An important, although often overlooked, point, is that student learning is generally only a good as the assessments used to measure it. Unfortunately, most assessments measure recall and recognition rather than conceptual understanding, and as a result over-estimate levels of scientific literacy. We have encountered this fact during the construction of the Biology Concept Inventory (BCI). Using the concept of diffusion, which is taught in a wide range of introductory biology, chemistry, and physics courses, as an exemplar, we describe lessons learned and strategies we use to create questions that better probe student understanding.

Published January 30, 2007
Last Modified July 9, 2013

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