We have a visitor from the University of Georgia with us today and tomorrow. Dr. Luanna Prevost is just completing her dissertation on the broad topic of multiple choice testing and cognition. She will be presenting a talk in 3405 EB (Dean's Conference Room) at 2:00pm tomorrow, Tuesday 7/26.
Dr. Prevost's topic is "Multiple-choice Testing and Cognition in an Introductory Biology Course". Abstract of her talk, and a brief bio, follows.
Dr. Luanna Prevost, University of Georgia
2pm, Tuesday July 26
3405 Engineering Building (Dean's Conference Room)
Multiple-choice Testing and Cognition in an Introductory Biology Course
Abstract: Multiple-choice testing is a time-saving assessment commonly used in large lecture courses. However, observations from student work in a large, non-majors introductory biology class suggested that performance on multiple-choice testing was not a good measure of student higher level thinking skills. We undertook a qualitative study to determine what cognitive steps are prompted by multiple-choice questions of different Bloom's levels? We use documented problem solving, a classic classroom assessment technique, in an organismal biology course with 230 students to qualitatively analyze student cognitive processes as they solve multiple-choice problems. Based on our preliminary observations from student DPS work, we have found that students (1) do not always approach questions at the Bloom's level predicted by the authors; (2) exhibit both high-quality and low-quality problem-solving strategies, (3) tend to approach problems either sequentially or globally; (4) sometimes arrive at the correct answer without understanding the concept and with major misconceptions about the concept. Our analysis is ongoing and will include quantitative analysis of the relationships among students' problem solving methods and their performance on course exams and assignments.
Luanna Prevost received her Bachelor’s of Science degrees in Biology and Environmental Science from Tuskegee University, and later completed a Masters Degree in Plant and Environmental Sciences at Clemson University. She is about to complete her PhD in Plant Biology at the University of Georgia. In addition to her dissertation on plant biodiversity in tropical forest fragments, she also conducts research in biology education. Her teaching as research interests include developing innovative course materials and investigating how student learning is affected by engagement and assessment methods. Luanna’s research currently focuses on understanding student cognitive processes in biology assessment. She also is collaborating with the UGA Center for Teaching and Learning to test student engagement using online forums. Luanna has received the UGA Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award in Spring 2009 and the UGA Interdisciplinary Certificate in University Teaching in Spring 2011. She has also participated in the UGA Future Faculty Program and served as teaching mentor for other graduate students at UGA.