REAL-TIME ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT PROGRESS IN THE LAB: THE ISOSTASY MODEL EXAMPLE
We compare student performance of a laboratory exercise (1) backed by a web-based spreadsheet and model, and (2) a similar exercise without the web-based component. The exercise provides an introduction to the scientific method and geology presented through plate tectonics. It is presented in the context of a Physical Geology lab; however, the exercise is adaptable for other courses. The control of isostasy upon the configuration of continental crust, oceanic crust, and the mantle is a challenging concept for many students in introductory geology courses. In our exercise, students determine the densities of wood and rock hand samples and input these values to isostasy model in the web-based component. Student groups can compare their results with groups in the same class or other concurrent classes conducting the same exercise. The instructor can monitor progress and model results in real-time, as well as adjust the model for a group to highlight certain concepts or correct a misunderstanding. We will present our exercise, the accompanying summative assessment used to gauge student performance with the two versions of the exercise, and our analysis.