ASSESSMENT OF THE MULTI-YEAR POST-KATRINA BIOTHRUST 21 INITIATIVE, A WORK IN PROGRESS
Xavier University of Louisiana (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Page: 1975 (abstract only)
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:For over 30 years, Xavier University of Louisiana (XU) has been a national leader in placing its graduates into medical, dental, and graduate schools. In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated 80% of the city of New Orleans, including the flooding of Xavier’s entire campus. By January 2006, the campus was sufficiently repaired so that students and faculty could return only to face even more challenges inside the classroom with much greater % of underperforming students. To address these problems, XU’s Biology department received multi-year funding through Louisiana’s Post-Katrina Support Fund Initiative, Primarily Education Subprogram, Biothrust 21 Project (PK SFI). The main goals of PKSFI are (a) to rebound from the negative impact caused by Hurricane Katrina and (b) to achieve a new level of excellence in the nationally renowned curriculum in Biology and thereby become a greater asset to the bioscience industry in Louisiana by producing a better prepared 21st century workforce. A multi-pronged approach centered on tighter coordination of two required freshmen Biology courses (taken by hundreds of students/year), increased use of technology, early intervention for at-risk students and enhanced tutoring and advising are being used to accomplish these goals. Planning, implementation, and revision of PKSFI activities are guided by the data and the use of appropriate assessment techniques such as the H-ITT Clickers and Statistical methodology. For example, the class grade point average (GPA) for each section of General Biology I, fall and spring semesters, was computed for academic years for 11 years, from Fall 2000 to spring 2011. We fitted a locally weighted scatterplot smoother (LOESS) to a scatterplot of the GPAs. The resulting curve clearly and dramatically shows the desired trend of an increase in class GPAs following implementation of P-K SFI. The H-ITT Clicker usage is allowing the students and the instructors to obtain an instant feedback on each question with respect to distribution of the responses, time taken to answer the question etc. More recently, another highly sensitive tool, that of OpScan6 –LXR Test assembly is being incorporated for more detailed analysis and tracking of student performance. Together, these assessment techniques are resulting in the evaluation of the PKSFI program and in providing the framework for further studies.
Keywords: Biology Teaching, Biology Learning, General Biology, Statistical Methodology.