The importance of hands-on laboratory and field-based experiences for students in first year biology cannot be underestimated. They serve a number of crucial purposes and are highly valued by students. Nevertheless, their effectiveness in generating desired student learning and skills attributes deserves scrutiny, not least due to the cost involved in conducting them and in assessing their outcomes. A national survey benchmarked the time biology students spend in practical activities, and in the modes and objectivity of assessments that serve to measure the learning outcomes. While there is considerable variation in the time students spend on practical activities, there appears to be a lack of observable means to accurately assess and quantify student practical skills. Together with recent initiatives around active learning in undergraduate science, more authentic methods to assess the accuracy and objectivity of student skills should considerably enhance the effectiveness of practical activities for first year biology students.
|Title of host publication||The International First Year in Higher Education Conference - New Horizons|
|Place of Publication||Queensland Australia|
|Publisher||Queensland University of Technology|
|Pages||1 - 10|
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|
|Event||International First Year in Higher Education Conference 2012 - Brisbane, Australia|
Duration: 1 Jan 2012 → …
|Conference||International First Year in Higher Education Conference 2012|
|Period||1/01/12 → …|
Rayner, G. M., Familari, M., Blanksby, T., Young, J., & Burke da Silva, K. (2012). Assessing first year biology student practical skills: benchmarking across the landscape. In R. Mortimer (Ed.), The International First Year in Higher Education Conference - New Horizons (pp. 1 - 10). Queensland University of Technology.