Robin Forbes-Lorman publishes paper about science education

A paper co-written by Assistant Professor of Biology Robin Forbes-Lorman was published in the November/December 2022 issue of the Journal of College Science Teaching. The journal is published by the National Science Teaching Association.

In the paper “Interactive, Physical Course Materials as Formative Assessment Opportunities to Improve Student Learning of Molecular Structure-Function Relationships,” the authors state: “Physical and life science disciplines emphasize how basic structural units influence function, yet it is challenging for students to understand structure-function relationships, particularly at molecular scales. …

“We hypothesized that physical molecular models and interactive activities exploring the pathway would help students overcome this learning challenge.”

Their active-learning approach was successful. “Our data show that our curricular revisions resulted in improved student performance on summative assessments. Perhaps more important, our study exemplifies how the effective implementation of novel curricular materials is an ongoing process.”

They say the challenge for STEM educators is to integrate more effective formative assessments instead of solely relying on exams for curricular revisions. “The assessment strategies outlined in this study provide further evidence of the value of student-centered assessment cycles and classroom discourse that allows students to evaluate their own learning.”

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