Engaging learning and addressing over-assessment in the Science laboratory: solving a pervasive problem

Bree, Ronan T., Dunne, Karen, Brereton, Bernadette, Gallagher, Gerry and Dallat, John (2014) Engaging learning and addressing over-assessment in the Science laboratory: solving a pervasive problem. ISSN 2009-3160


This small-scale, mixed-method research study aimed to improve the learning experience; ; for students in laboratory practical sessions. A sub-group of undergraduate Science; ; students performed the Biochemistry practical component using a range of innovative; ; integrated approaches over one semester, which included a reduction in the number of; ; laboratory reports performed and the introduction of a suite of in-class formative; ; assessments. Group-work and self-assessment activities were combined with a distinctive; ; incremental grading system designed to encourage feedback uptake. The outcomes of the; ; intervention were assessed using data collected by two mixed-method approaches in an; ; ethically approved manner: an online questionnaire and comparative focus groups.; ; Quantitative analysis of grades obtained from laboratory reports over the semester; ; demonstrated improvement in quality via uptake of feedback. Qualitative data obtained; ; from the questionnaire/focus groups was thematically analysed and triangulated. Results; ; showed the students engaged with, and implemented feedback, developed self-assessment; ; reflections on their work prior to submission and improved the quality of their laboratory; ; reports and theoretical understanding throughout this intervention. This study recommends; ; implementing the feedback approach, incremental marking system and the self-assessment; ; forms in teaching curricula. Together, they encourage the development of lifelong skills,; ; such as self-reflection and an always-improving attitude in students.

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