Practical examinations in science laboratory classes: Fossils from the past or assessment tools of the future?

Stefan G. Huth

Abstract


Practical examinations in science laboratory classes have gone in and out of fashion over the decades. The recent focus on graduate skills has revived interest in this assessment instrument. However, it is clear that in the current context of large laboratory classes, great diversity in student background and interests and very limited time and resources the role and format of practical examination needs to be re-examined.
In this ideas exchange I will present a brief overview of different models, some in use at our institution and some described in the literature, in order to discuss their value, suitability and potential in laboratory education. In particular, I would like to explore in this group how the academic requirement for rigorous summative assessment might be reconciled with a positive student experience.

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