Quality in Undergraduate Education Georgia State University
A Projet by the Education Trust & the National  Association of System Heads (NASH) in Association with Georgia State University

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BIOLOGY PERFORMANCE DESCRIPTORS

Performance descriptors developed at the 1999 Reno meetings with Virginia and Sheryl from GPC.
Barbara Baumstark, Georgia State University
Virginia Michelich, Georgia Perimeter College
Sheryl Shanholtzer, Georgia Perimeter College

PAPERS

Level 14
  • The paper shows that the student has a clear understanding of the topic.
  • The paper shows that the student has logically interpreted the data.
  • The paper shows the relevance of the topic to the course.
  • The paper presentation is clear with minimal grammatical errors.
  • The paper shows appropriate use of current resources with correct citations.
  • The paper demonstrates the student's ability to synthesize information derived from several sources.
Level 16


In addition to the above:
  • The paper shows the ability to evaluate the validity of the sources cited and the limitation of  the studies presented.
  • The paper includes primary sources.
  • The paper demonstrates that the student is able to make intellectual connections amongrelated ideas.


PERFORMANCE DESCRIPTORS


EXAMS

Level 14
  • The exam shows that the student recalls an appropriate body of knowledge.
  • The exam shows that the student recognizes and uses appropriate terminology.
  • The exam shows that the student understands and applies concepts.
  • The exam shows that the student can describe the steps of a process and compare and/or contrast two or more processes.
  • The exam shows that the student is able to qualitatively and quantitatively analyze data and is able to solve problems.
Level 16

In addition to the above:
  • The exam shows that the students can compare and contrast alternative hypotheses/models  to explain scientific phenomena.
  • The exam shows that the student has the ability to analyze complex data.
  • The exam shows that the student can apply concepts from mathematics, chemistry and physics to solve biological problems.

PERFORMANCE DESCRIPTORS


LAB REPORTS

Level 14
  • The lab report is clear, concise, logical, and grammatically correct.
  • The lab reports shows that the student selects appropriate background information to introduce the problem, develop a hypothesis, and make a testable prediction.
  • The lab report shows that the student clearly explains and describes the processes and materials necessary to conduct the experiment in a way that enables replication.
  • The lab report shows that the student summarizes results in the text and supports those results with appropriate tables, graphs, and/or figures.
  • The lab report shows that the student analyzes results in light of the stated hypothesis.
Level 16

In addition to the above:
  • The lab report shows that the student discusses the significance of the findings and the limitations of the evidence.
  • The lab report shows that the student poses additional questions/problems based on the findings.

August 1999