Assessing the graphing abilities of biology undergrads - a collaborative research study
GraphSmarts is a performance-based assessment tool being developed by SimBio as part of a multi-institutional NSF-funded research project examining graphing construction and interpretation skills of biology undergraduates. Students are given GraphSmarts scenarios selected from a range of topics taught in general biology courses (see below) and create graphs and answer free-response questions. The graphs and questions are algorithmically scored based on graphing conventions to identify trouble spots.
Student scores on the GraphSmarts scenarios are the average of nine graphing practices, including variable relevance, graph type, axis conventions, and data variability. After a class completes an assessment, we send a report to instructors including an overall score, a score for each graphing competency, and the percentage of students who made mistakes. This data identifies where students are confused and helps SimBio design evidence-based materials to better teach graph construction.
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Explore GraphSmarts scenarios:
- Gardner, S.M., Suazo-Flores, E., Maruca, S., Abraham J.K., Karippadath, A., Meir, E. 2021. Biology Undergraduate Students’ Graphing Practice in Digital Versus Pen and Paper Graphing Environments. J Sci Educ Technol
The first publication from a large multi-institution effort to develop performance-based assessments of graphing ability among biology students, this paper compares the results from the SimBio-written digital graphing assessment to a pen and paper assessment.
This material is based upon work partially supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1726180 and 2111150. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.