Patch One: Interpreting Student Work

The Open Faculty Patchbook

By Kari-Draker Fortis, Fleming College

Introduction                                                                               

What is the best way to assess student laboratories in an introductory science course? If you posed this question to a lab instructor, chances are they will have a lot to say and likely more questions than answers. Do you have students submit formal lab reports? Do you assess group work? Lab skills? How do you manage the marking of all those labs?

I have tackled these questions personally (often with a mountain of labs looming at my dining room table), with colleagues, and with larger groups of educators from college and university. One important theme that emerges from discussion is always the goal of the labs themselves. What do we want students to learn? What are the transferable skills that we want students to take away? These skills include lab-based competencies but also life skills. We want students to come prepared and…

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