Reflection: Performance Tasks Biotechnology Pathway Final Exam - Section 2: Sample Biotechnology III Final


When designing Final Exams I have always been concerned with the amount of time it takes to compose well-designed summative assessment questions and that textbook test banks have not always provided test items that are aligned with the big ideas and key concepts of the courses I am teaching. Now I set the stage for composing great test items when creating the course description and syllabus and clearly identifying the learning objectives. This presents a new challenge: How do I design assessments that align with the learning goals and key concepts AND provide evidence of student understanding? Using the backwards mapping strategies listed here I can now plan for summative assessments by aligning course instructional activities with big ideas and key concepts. I believe these efforts will help me get closer to my goal of well-aligned, authentic assessments!

STRATEGY #1 - Streamline the Curriculum Opting for Depth over Breadth

Item #83 (p.23) enables students to use both theoretical and practical knowledge in a real-world application in order to appropriately analyze a gel as a means of making a diagnosis of Sickle Cell Anemia. This concept was introduced in the lesson Detecting Genetic Variation which provides the theoretical construct needed to determine how to analyze the gel and make a diagnosis of Sickle Cell Anemia. In addition to the practical skill needed to prepare, run, and evaluate the result of gel electrophoresis as seen in the lesson entitled Confirmation of Restriction and Ligation Using Agarose Gel Electrophoresis.


STRATEGY #2 - Identify Big Ideas, Key Concepts and Core Skills

Item #33 (p.8) evaluates students use of the core skill of microvolumetrics. This skill is introduced in the lesson Perfecting Precise Pipetting Practice.


STRATEGY #3 - How Do I Know What They Know? (Assessment Design)

Item #24 (p.5) enables students to apply key concepts in biotechology to a field that relies on its techniques and methods, forensic science. These concepts were introduced in the lesson Power of Discrimination (Gel Electrophoresis and PCR).

  Performance Tasks: Beginning With the End in Mind - Effective Summative Exams
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Biotechnology Pathway Final Exam

Unit 4: Assessments in Biotechnology
Lesson 1 of 6

Objective: Students will be able to demonstrate mastery of the learning goals and objectives which serve as the foundation of our course of study in the Biotechnology pathway.

Big Idea: Demonstrating mastery in biotechnology requires an assessment that measures both theoretical and practical knowledge.

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