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Hazelwood, Donna [1].

Writing-to-Learn: An Informal Assessment Tool in Botany.

Writing-to-learn has been introduced in a general education/majors botany course. Implementation and utilization on a daily basis allowed for an informal assessment of and feedback on student learning and enhanced participation in writing across the curriculum. Before implementation, problems included a lack of student attention, understanding, awareness of the process of learning, making connections, and an absence of authentic assessment of the opportunities for students to learn. The goals were to assess student learning informally at each course meeting, respond to student questions or misunderstandings, connect to and modify teaching and increase student participation in and awareness of the learning process. For writing-to-learn exercises, students were asked specific questions, to identify main points, to make connections with previous material, or to ask questions, or to identify where the material was not clear. The assignments, worth one point, were graded. Because of the immediate nature of writing-to-learn, these assignments could not be made up and they also served as a means of recording attendance. Comments on the writing-to-learn exercises allowed for immediate feedback to the students. At the beginning of the next session, responses to misunderstandings or questions from students provided a framework for connecting students to their learning. The incorporation of assessment in the form of writing-to-learn more closely aligned course goals and content with student learning and outcomes. Students responded favorably on assessment instruments and many reported that writing-to-learn was a valuable aid to remembering content and making connections and understanding processes. Finally, several students reported becoming more involved.

1 - Dakota State University, College of Arts and Sciences, Science Center, Madison, South Dakota, 57042

teaching of botany
informal assessment.

Presentation Type: Paper
Session: 9-6
Location: Superior A (Cliff Lodge)
Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2004
Time: 10:30 AM
Abstract ID:788

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