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Short Author Bio(s)

Dr. Basey is a Senior Instructor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He designs curricula for and coordinates first-year general biology labs for science majors, a one-semester general biology lab for non-science majors and microbiology lab. In addition, he teaches “Methods of Teaching Biology” to upper-division undergraduates and mentors first-year graduate students teaching biology lab for the first time. Dr. Basey received an M.A. (1987) and Ph.D. (1992) from the University of Nevada, Reno, USA. His research focused on plant/herbivore interactions between beavers and quaking aspen. Dr. Basey’s current research focuses on curriculum design, methods of teaching and student learning in science labs. Anastasia Maines holds a M.A in Curriculum and Instruction and a M.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from University of Colorado Boulder. She has taught General Biology and Ecology Labs. She has developed curricula for elementary and middle school classrooms. She is currently a middle school science teacher at Pioneer Charter School in Denver, Colorado. Her research interests include effective science lab strategies, curriculum design, and ecology. Dr. Francis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at California Polytechnic State University. He earned an M.A. in 2007 and a Ph.D. in 2010 from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and spent two years as a post-doctoral fellow at the National Evolution Synthesis center (NESCent), Duke University, Durham, NC. His research interests include animal behavior, conservation biology, sensory ecology and ecological consequences of human-produced sensory stimuli, such as noise and night lighting.

Abstract

We examined how different styles of written feedback by graduate-student teaching assistants (GTAs) in college intro biology lab (USA) influenced student achievement and related the different styles to time efficiency. We quantified GTA feedback on formative lab reports and student achievement on two different types of assessments, a quiz in 2010 and a summative lab report in 2011. We evaluated the extent to which three categories of written feedback impacted student achievement (grade discrepancy between actual and ideal, short direct comments, and in-depth explanatory comments). Student achievement was best explained by both grade discrepancy and short direct comments in 2010 and grade discrepancy only in 2011. In-depth explanations were not part of the best-fit models in either year. Results also indicated that GTAs provided little encouraging feedback, most feedback was targeted and asked students to expand on explanations. Results are discussed in relation to relative time efficiency and GTA training.

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