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Abstract

Evaluation of student learning is of paramount importance to the educational community and allows reflection on program successes and weaknesses; however, best practices are hotly debated. This project designed and implemented an assessment system in which an identical, mixed-format assessment was given to all levels of students in the Georgia Gwinnett College biology program at the start of the semester for academic years 2014-15, 2015-16 and Fall of 2016. The assessment contained multiple choice and free-response questions, and evaluated lab reports from core courses in the biology program. This system allows for longitudinal assessment of students, provides quick results for timely action, and can allow analysis of interesting demographic questions. We found student achievement on program goals was lower than previously assessed and student performance on multiple choice questions was higher than free-response questions. There was a modest, but temporary, gain in performance on the ability to effectively communicate science. Additionally, males outperformed their female counterparts and Hispanics underperformed their non-Hispanic peers.

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