Teaching and Assessing a Competency Based Science Curriculum

Return to search results | New search

Title of Abstract: Teaching and Assessing a Competency Based Science Curriculum

Name of Author: Michael Gaines
Author Company or Institution: University of Miami
Author Title: Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: General Biology
Course Levels: Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.)
Keywords: Case Studies, Intro Biology, Assessment, Critical Thinking, Problem-based Learning

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Jane L. Indorf, University of Miami S. Barry Issenberg, University of Miami Alex J. Mechaber, University of Miami

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: At UM we have two goals: 1) to develop case studies based on the SFFP competencies that teach and assess student mastery of these competencies; and 2) to integrate modules designed at NEXUS partner institutions into our Program for Integrated Science and Math (PRISM).

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: PRISM is a science curriculum for undergraduates who are specifically interested in pursuing a research career. Courses are taught at an advanced level with a focus on integration of the sciences. Students get early exposure to research by taking enriched laboratory sections with authentic research experiences. Case studies, being piloted in PRISM, are written by UM science and medical school faculty, who have developed a unique collaboration in advancing undergraduate life science curricula. The case studies present real world situations through narratives. As students read through the story, they answer associated questions drawing upon cross-disciplinary knowledge and an integrative understanding of scientific concepts.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: All case studies are tightly aligned to PRISM course objectives and are designed to cover the SFFP competencies. We use student performance on case studies and their feedback on surveys to gauge student mastery of the competencies. Students are assessed pre- and post-case study to evaluate their effectiveness.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: The major impact is that more students will follow a STEM career pathway. The impact oon faculty will be a change in teaching methodology to more active learning.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Time constraints have proven to be a major barrier for implementing case studies in two ways. First, faculty have many commitments leaving them with limited time to develop and revise case studies. Second, students have difficulty completing the modules during allotted class time.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: We have published two papers and given over ten presentations at universities and national meetings.

Acknowledgements: We acknowledge the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for their generous support.