2009 Advanced Laboratories Conference Abstract Detail Page

Previous Page  |  New Search  |  Browse All

Abstract Title: Oral Assessment in an Advanced Lab Course
Abstract: Interviews and Oral Examinations are powerful tools for assessing student competence and achievement.  In the Advanced Physics Lab, oral assessments can complement Lab notebooks, formal reports, or formal presentations, with challenges and benefits for both student and instructor.  Benefits of oral assessments are that they are relatively efficient and flexible; drawbacks are that they are stressful for students (and sometimes professors) and they are perceived to be more subjective and inconsistent.

At the University of Toronto, almost 40% of a student's Advanced Lab grade is associated with interviews and a final oral examination.  After each experiment is complete, the instructor and student sit down together to discuss the experiment and any issues that may have arisen from reading the notebook. This allows both assessment of student understanding and the immediate pedagogical feedback and help.  At the very end of the course, an oral examination is carried out by a panel of 3 instructors and TAs after all other work has been completed.  We see "what has stuck" and what is understood, and allows us to grade students relative to each other in a fairly consistent way.

Our methods of oral assessments will be described, data will be presented, and issues associated with the use of oral assessment will be discussed.
Abstract Type: Contributed Presentation
Contributed Presentation: Download the Contributed Presentation
Session: Session XVI - Communication of Experimental Results

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: David C. Bailey
University of Toronto
Physics Department
60 St. George Street
Toronto, Non U.S. M5S 1A7, Non U.S. M5S 1A7
Phone: 416-978-4993
Fax: 416-978-8221