Reflection: Standards Alignment Checkpoints: Group Pre-Lab Assessments - Section 1: Overview


Surgeon Atul Gawande, author of the The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, argues that one of the most basic organizational tools, the checklist, can improve the effectiveness of teams such as the student-led lab groups in my Biotechnology courses when performing complex tasks such as authentic laboratory investigations. I have found that when I properly align each checklist assessment question or task to a core set of standards or objectives that my students and I are simply more likely to reach these goals and objectives. 

Dr. Gawande offers the following suggestions for incorporating the use of checklists into the core practice of any team:

1. Keep it simple! My Checklist Assessments are never more than one page and never more than six questions or tasks long. Project Check’s checklist for checklists offers additional suggestions aimed at teams, but adaptable for personal use.

2. Make it useable! Dr. Gawande suggests that for a checklist to be most effective, you need to actually be able to check items off. This may sound like a no-brainer however realistic and relevant assessments should be a focus when creating checklist. 

3. Try it out and edit as necessary! There are times I simply blow it and my checklist does not assess the objective, standard, or goal in the manner I intended and I must reevaluate the questions posed. Remember that the assessment is a fluid document and should be adjusted when deemed necessary.  

  Why Checklists Work?!?
  Standards Alignment: Why Checklists Work?!?
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Checkpoints: Group Pre-Lab Assessments

Unit 4: Assessments in Biotechnology
Lesson 6 of 6

Objective: Instructors will be able to assess and reinforce the key concepts and techniques used in a lab investigation and justify why each step in the protocol is critical to the experiment.

Big Idea: Mini-conferences with lab groups as a pre-lab activity increases student productivity and engagement!

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