Reflection: Data Analysis Summative Assessment: Biomes Unit Test - Section 3: The Test Itself


One interesting thing I noticed when looking over student scores was an odd disparity on questions 15 and 16:


15. __D__ Which of the following biomes would most likely have the most seasonal variation in temperature?

A. Tropical Rainforest     B. Savannah              

C. Chaparral              D. Temperate Grassland (Prairie)


16. __C__ Which of the following biomes would most likely have the most seasonal variation in precipitation?

A. Tropical Rainforest     B. Tundra 

C. Chaparral              D. Temperate Deciduous Forest


Almost all students answered question 15 correctly, understanding that the Savannah and the Tropical Rainforest were in the tropics and had very little seasonal variation in temperature.  Although there is seasonal variation in temperature in the chaparral, students know that chaparral usually occurs at subtropical latitudes and so would have less variation than biomes in temperate zones, and so correctly chose temperate grassland (prairie) as having the most seasonal variation in temperature.  Looking back, I feel I made a big point of emphasizing that temperate zones have more seasonal variation because I stressed that "Polar regions are always cold" and "Tropical regions are always warm".  Clearly this stuck with them on this question.


In contrast, I thought that students would do as well on question 16 (and perhaps better) because it directly relates to the Los Angeles Climatograph lesson.  The climatographs they made during that lesson could be used as resources for this test and clearly show distinct wet and dry seasons.  I figured this question would be easy because we had done so much work on the chaparral, and seeing as how students live through the relatively wet winters and bone-dry summers of Los Angeles, I thought they had enough personal experience to answer this as well. 

In the end, perhaps students just didn't think it through well enough, perhaps I didn't stress that Tundra is quite dry at almost all points of the year, or perhaps my emphasis on "temperate" meaning temperature variation was carried over to precipitation in their minds as well.  Whatever the reason, the majority of students answered this question incorrectly which left me wondering just how effective the climatograph lesson was in deepening students' understanding of their local climate.



  But... we took all that time to make a climatograph and you botched the easy question?
  Data Analysis: But... we took all that time to make a climatograph and you botched the easy question?
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Summative Assessment: Biomes Unit Test

Unit 5: Biomes
Lesson 7 of 7

Objective: Students will demonstrate their knowledge of the content in the biomes unit by completing a test consisting of several multuple choice questions and a short essay.

Big Idea: The information we've learned so far allows us to make an educated statement about biomes.

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