Office: 457 Aubert Hall
- 1997 BS Marine Biology Dalhousie University
Within the School of Marine Sciences’ (UMaine) undergraduate program, the concept of primary production (the production of organic compounds via photosynthesis) is a central tenant to the curriculum. There is, however, no program-wide methodology in place to assess student understanding of this topic. My project involves developing and implementing a content knowledge assessment tool that will be used to track changes in students’ understanding of primary productivity throughout the program. In the development phase of the project information about the undergraduate curriculum was gathered via faculty interviews. These data were used to identify what aspects of the topic
are currently taught as well as the difficulty level of the subject matter at each year level. Another component of the development phase involved identifying common misconceptions on this topic using an extended response questionnaire previously completed by a subset of the Marine Science undergraduates. These sources of information aided the construction of a mixed selected-response/extended-response survey. The survey was deployed as a pilot study to graduating seniors in the Spring of 2010 and a refined survey was deployed to all Marine Science majors in the Fall of 2010 and Spring of 2011. Results of the assessment will
be used to evaluate the reliability of the assessment tool and to identify how well the student population understands the concept of primary production. Additional it will help identify where in the program this knowledge is least/most advanced, as well as identify persistent and emergent misconceptions which might aide instructional decision making within the program. The assessment protocol will provide a foundation for further content assessment development and implementation within the School of Marine Sciences.