2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 22
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


OWENS, Katharine, Department of Curricular and Instructional Studies, Univ of Akron, Akron, OH 44325-4205, MCCONNELL, David A., Department of Geology, Univ of Akron, Akron, OH 44325-4101, STEER, David, Department of Geology, Univ of Akron, Akron, OH 44325, VAN HORN, Stephen, Geology, Muskingum College, 163 Stormont St, New Concord, OH 43762, KNOTT, Jeffrey, Department of Geological Sciences, California State Univ, Fullerton, P.O. Box 6850, Fullerton, CA 92834, BOROWSKI, Walter, Department of Earth Sciences, Eastern Kentucky Univ, 521 Lancaster Ave, Richmond, KY 40475, MCGREW, Heidi, Department of Geology, Univ of Dayton, Dayton, OH 45469, DICK, Jeffrey, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Youngstown State Univ, Youngstown, OH 44555, GREER, Lisa, Geology Department, Washington and Lee Univ, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA 24450 and MALONE, Michele, Department of Geology, Western Washington Univ, Bellingham, WA 98225, kowens@uakron.edu

Conceptests are questions that focus on one key concept and are used for formative assessment consistent with an instructor’s major learning goals for a lesson. When coupled with student interaction through peer instruction, the daily use of conceptests provides instructors with a rapid method to assess student understanding of geoscience concepts with minimal changes to the instructional environment. These questions have a multiple-choice format featuring one correct answer and reasonable distracter answers that reflect student misconceptions. The integration of these questions into introductory geoscience classes can provide instructors an opportunity to easily introduce many of the principles of effective teaching that have been recognized as enhancing student learning.

Instructors teaching several different introductory geology courses at a variety of institutions used a similar suite of conceptest questions. These questions have been used in large introductory general education earth science courses for non-majors at open enrollment institutions, smaller physical geology classes suitable for majors at private colleges, and in both lecture and laboratory settings. Analysis reveals that the use of conceptests can result in increased attendance, improved student satisfaction, and enhanced student achievement. Over 300 of these questions are available in an on-line database for geoscience instructors.