Biochemistry Lab Education

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Assessment > Outline of Learning Gains Assessed

For purposes of both grading and course assessment, we defined the four learning gains shown in Figure 1 (below):

  • Aims & Concepts,
  • Experimental Design,
  • Data Processing, and
  • Broader Context.

These four learning gains are further defined by eight focal areas:

  • laboratory skills,
  • broad biochemical knowledge,
  • reading/comprehending scientific articles,
  • written and oral communication,
  • group dynamics skills,
  •  investigative skills,
  • critical thinking, and
  • problem-solving skills.

Each learning gain and focal area can be evaluated by specific outcomes, and examples are given in Fig 1. Outlining learning gains — and using detailed grading rubrics based on these gains and focal areas — are important steps in assessing student performance in a newly developed curriculum.

In addition to assessing student performance via well-defined assignments, pre- and post-course tests are used to assess content gain and retention at the start of the first term, end of the first term, and end of the second term. The initial results of these studies (outlined in the other pages in the Assessment portion of this website) indicate that most students in the BioLEd curriculum demonstrate sustained learning gains in almost all topics, across the entire year.

Figure 1

Figure 1: The four learning gains assessed as part of the BioLEd curriculum.