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Questions from our survey!

TUnE-Bio Faculty Survey

 

 

 
 
 

Start of Block: Consent Form

 

Consent Introduction and Informed Consent: Transforming Assessment, Feedback, and Grading in Undergraduate Biology Education (Instructor Survey).

 

 

This survey is part of a research project being conducted by Sarah Cavanagh, Ph.D., who is the Senior Associate Director for Teaching and Learning in the Center for Faculty Excellence at Simmons University, in conjunction with Michele Lemons, Ph.D., Professor of Biology and Director of the Center for Neuroscience at Assumption University.

 

 

You are invited to take a survey that we are conducting on current teaching practices in introductory biology classes in college.

 

 

If you participate, you will answer some questions about your background, such as your age, gender, how long you have been teaching, where you teach, etc.

 

 

You will also be asked about how you choose to measure student learning (e.g., tests and quizzes, homework assignments), how you provide verbal feedback to students about their work, and how you grade.

 

 

You may decide not to participate or stop participating at any time.

 

 

If there are any questions you do not feel comfortable answering, you may skip them. Your decision to participate, not participate, or to withdraw at any time from this study will in no way affect your standing with Simmons University.

 

 

The survey should take you about 10 minutes to complete. All your responses will be recorded anonymously. All information stored electronically is password protected. The results of the research will be reported as a collection of responses.

 

 

If you have questions about the research, please contact the principal investigator Sarah

 

Cavanagh at cavanags@simmons.edu.

 

 

If you have questions about your rights as a human subject, you may also contact the Human Protections Administrator in the Office of Sponsored Programs at Simmons University at irbprotocols@simmons.edu.

 

 

Four randomly chosen people who complete this survey will receive a $200 Amazon gift card. Be sure to enter your email address in the google form linked at the end of the survey if you would like to be considered in this drawing.

 

 

 

Completion of the survey implies your consent to participate. Thank you for participating in this survey.

 

End of Block: Consent Form

 

 
 
 

Start of Block: Inclusion Criteria

 

Q1

Do you teach introductory biology at the undergraduate level in the United States?

 

We define introductory biology as initial biology courses typically taken by science majors in their first year or two of study, specifically the lecture section.

 

 

 

  • Yes (1)
  • No (2)

 

Skip To: End of Survey If Do you teach introductory biology at the undergraduate level in the United States? We define intr... = No

 
  Text Box: Skip To: End of Survey If Do you teach introductory biology at the undergraduate level in the United States? We define intr... = No
 

End of Block: Inclusion Criteria

 

 
 
 

Start of Block: Biology Background


Q2 How many years have you been teaching introductory undergraduate biology courses (early level, introductory biology courses), specifically the lecture component? (Please enter a number).

 

 

 

 

 

Q3 Are your introductory biology courses team-taught?

  • Yes (1)
  • No (2)

 

 

 

Q4 Who makes decisions about each of the elements listed below for your introductory biology courses, specifically the lecture component? (If aspects of the syllabus like accessibility statements or office hours are mandated by the university but the content of the readings and assignments are up to you, that would be considered you making the decisions).

 

 

 

Self (1)

Shared w/ co- instuctor (2)

Team/Department (3)

Someone else (4)

Syllabi (1)

o

o

o

o

Assessments (exams, quizzes, assignments) (2)

o

o

o

o

Content of individual class sessions (3)

o

o

o

o

 

 

Page Break

 

Q5 Pre-COVID, in which modality did you primarily teach? Check all that apply.

▢    Online (all asynchronous) (1)

▢    Online (all synchronous, like "Zoom teaching") (2)

▢    Online (blend of asynchronous and synchronous) (3)

▢    In-person / "face to face" (4)

▢    Hybrid/blended/converged (some combination of the above) (5)


▢    Other (describe) (6)

 

 

 

Q6 While much is uncertain about the future, when we emerge from the pandemic to whatever our "new normal" is, in which modality do you expect to primarily teach? Check all that apply.

▢    Online (all asynchronous) (1)

▢    Online (all synchronous, like "Zoom teaching") (2)

▢    Online (both asynchronous and synchronous) (3)

▢    In-person / "face to face" (4)

▢    Hybrid/blended/converged (some combination of the above) (5)

 

 
 

▢    Other (describe) (6)

 

 

 

Q7 Approximately how many students are in one section of your early level, undergraduate, introductory biology classes, specifically the lecture section? Please enter a number.

 

(We define an introductory level biology as one that a science major would typically take in their first year.)

 

 

 

End of Block: Biology Background

 

 
 
 

Start of Block: Current Grading Practices

 

Lecture In answering the below questions, please consider only the lecture portion (not laboratory sections) of early level, introductory biology courses that you teach.

 

 

 

Q8 How often do students receive grades in your introductory biology courses,

specifically the lecture section? Select the single best answer.

 

  • Throughout the semester on various units of work (e.g., frequent quizzing, homeworks, but can also include larger assessments like midterms and finals) (1)
  • Only 2-4 times during the semester (e.g., midterm and final, or several exams) (2)
  • Only at the end of the semester (3)
  • Students do not receive grades in my course/at my institution (4)

 

 

Q9 In these introductory biology courses (excluding the lab section), what type of assessments (i.e., opportunities to demonstrate learning) do you use? Check all that apply.

▢    Exams (1)

▢    Quizzes (2)

▢    Papers (3)

▢    Short-answer worksheets or homework assignments (4)

▢    Projects (5)

▢    Presentations (6)

▢    Case studies (7)

▢    Clicker questions (8)


▢    Other (specify): (9)

 

 

 

Q10 If you give exams and/or quizzes in your introductory biology lecture, what type of questions do you use? Check all that apply.

▢     Multiple-choice, fill-in-blank, matching, true/false (1)

▢    Short answer (~1 paragraph) (2)

▢    Longer essay (3)


▢    Other (specify): (4)

 

 

Q11 Do you have opportunities to give feedback to students in your introductory biology lecture? (e.g., comments, narratives, annotations on student work – something more substantive than a numerical score)? Check all that apply.

 

▢    I give feedback on short answers/essays (few sentences -> a paragraph response) (1)

▢    I give feedback on papers (2)

▢    I give feedback on semi-structured assignments (anything that is not a short answer, essay, or paper) (3)

 

▢    I don't give feedback on some of my assessments (e.g., quizzes, exams) because they are primarily objective (multiple choice) (4)

 

▢    I don't give feedback on some of my assessments (e.g., quizzes, exams, papers) because they are graded by TAs (5)

 

▢    Students in my courses do not receive feedback other than numerical scores because assessments are primarily objective (multiple choice) (6)

 

▢    Students in my courses do not receive feedback other than numerical scores because they are graded by TAs (7)

 

 

 

Q12 Who grades your assessments in your introductory biology lecture? Check all that apply.

 

▢    Automated (e.g., scantron, learning management system like Blackboard or Canvas) (1)

▢    Self (by hand) (2)

▢    TAs/Graders/Other Assistants (3)

▢    Co-Instructor (4)

 

 

Q13 In your introductory biology lecture, do you (or a TA, or a co-instructor) review exam or quiz answers in class after the assessment is graded and returned? Reviewing could include class time, a video, an annotated answer key, or a written explanation.

  • Yes (1)
  • No (2)
  • Sometimes (3)

 

 

 

Q14 Do you adjust students scores in a way that might qualify as "grading on a curve" or "scaling grades" in your introductory biology lecture?

  • Yes (1)
  • No (2)
  • Sometimes (3)

 

 

 

Q15 In your introductory biology lecture, other than grading on a curve or scaling grades, do you adjust grades in another way? For instance, adding points, dropping questions, offering extra credit of various sorts?

  • Yes (1)
  • No (2)
  • Sometimes (3)

 

End of Block: Current Grading Practices

 

 
 
 

Start of Block: Change and Barriers

 

Q16 Overall, how satisfied are you with the following aspects of your teaching practices in your introductory biology lecture? You might consider how much time and effort it takes, how effective it is, or how well matched to your learning goals it is? We are looking for a global level of satisfaction.

Extremely dissatisfied (1)

Somewhat dissatisfied (2)

Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied (3)

 

Somewhat satisfied (4)

 

Extremely satisfied (5)

Your assessments (exams, quizzes, assignments) (6)

 

o

 

o

 

o

 

o

 

o

Your feedback (written or oral

-

communication to students about progress beyond a letter/number grade) (7)

 

o

 

o

 

o

 

o

 

o

Your grading practices (8)

o

o

o

o

o

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

Q17 Critics of traditional grading have made several claims. Rate the extent to which you agree with these statements about traditional assessment & grading in undergraduate biology education. By “traditional” we mean exams or quizzes that form the majority of the end- semester grade for the lecture section of a course.

0 (not at

all) (0)

 

1 (1)

2

(slightly) (2)

 

3 (3)

4 (quite

a bit) (4)

 

5 (5)

6

(extremely) (6)

Receiving low grades on assessments reduces student motivation and self- efficacy. (5)

 

o

 

o

 

o

 

o

 

o

 

o

 

o

Traditional grading is biased toward students with certain identities (e.g., white students, heterosexual students, students from well- resourced secondary education backgrounds) and thus exacerbates existing inequalities along lines of race, gender, class, and other social identities. (2)

 

 

 

 

 

o

 

 

 

 

 

o

 

 

 

 

 

o

 

 

 

 

 

o

 

 

 

 

 

o

 

 

 

 

 

o

 

 

 

 

 

o

By setting up a system of rewards and punishments, traditional grading

 

o

 

o

 

o

 

o

 

o

 

o

 

o

 

encourages acts of academic dishonesty as students attempt to "game" the system. (7)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional grading pits students against each other as they compete for a perceived limited number of "As". (8)

 

o

 

o

 

o

 

o

 

o

 

o

 

o

Grading discourages student autonomy and creativity as they want to avoid taking risks and being wrong - they are focused on being right rather than learning well. (9)

 

 

o

 

 

o

 

 

o

 

 

o

 

 

o

 

 

o

 

 

o

Traditional grading within STEM fields like biology can support a "weed-out" culture that discourages students from further study in the field. (10)

 

 

o

 

 

o

 

 

o

 

 

o

 

 

o

 

 

o

 

 

o

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

Q18 Some scholars have proposed alternatives to traditional grading. For instance, some of these approaches have been referred to as: ungrading, mastery grading, specifications grading. These approaches can involves elements such as feedback without numerical grades, student-graded portfolios, and repeated submissions of assignments until mastery of the learning objectives has been reached.

 

 

In general, how aware are you of these sorts of alternative approaches to grading?

  • 0 (not at all) (0)
  • 1 (1)
  • 2 (Slightly) (2)
  • 3 (3)
  • 4 (Quite a bit) (4)
  • 5 (5)
  • 5 (Extremely) (6)

 

 

 

Q19 If you have used or currently use these practices or some elements of them *in your introductory biology classes*, describe your experience. What have you tried, and did you find it to be successful?

 

 

If you have not tried these practices, please skip this question.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q20 If you have NOT tried these alternative grading practices, or if you have tried alternative grading practices to a limited extent, or if you have tried them and stopped using them, which of the reasons below contribute to your decision-making? Please check ALL that apply.

▢    Unaware of other options (1)

▢    No time to explore options (2)

▢    No time to plan options (e.g., restructure course, reworking syllabus, etc.) (3)

▢    Options too time-consuming to implement, grade (4)

▢    Articulation agreements require traditional grades (5)

▢    Students need exposure to style of high stakes entrance exams (e.g. MCAT, GRE, DAT, etc.) (6)

 

▢    Students need to prepare for rigorous expectations of graduate programs/post- graduate work (7)

▢    Classes are too big (8)

▢     Lack of departmental or administrative support (9)

▢    My position’s lack of security makes me wary of experimentation (10)

▢    My students expect traditional assessments (11)

▢    I think traditional grading helps students learn better than nontraditional approaches (12)

▢    My students resist nontraditional approaches (13)

▢    N/A - I use alternative grading approaches (15)


▢    Other (describe in box) (14)

 

Q21 Which are your TOP THREE reasons for not trying alternative grading methods or doing so to a limited extent? PLEASE CHOOSE THREE.

▢    Unaware of other options (1)

▢    No time to explore options (2)

▢    No time to plan options (e.g., restructure course, reworking syllabus, etc.) (3)

▢    Options too time-consuming to implement, grade (4)

▢    Articulation agreements require traditional grades (5)

▢    Students need exposure to style of high stakes entrance exams (e.g. MCAT, GRE, DAT, etc.) (6)

 

▢    Students need to prepare for rigorous expectations of graduate programs/post- graduate work (7)

▢    Classes are too big (8)

▢     Lack of departmental or administrative support (9)

▢    My position’s lack of security makes me wary of experimentation (10)

▢    My students expect traditional assessments (11)

▢    I think traditional grading helps students learn better than nontraditional approaches (12)

▢    My students resist nontraditional approaches (13)

▢    N/A - I use nontraditional grading methods (15)


▢    Other (describe in box) (14)

 

Q22 Which of these statements MOST closely fits your current position on grading?

  • I am uninterested in options other than traditional grading. (1)
  • I am interested in options other than traditional grading, but I’m unaware of what those options may be or how they work. (2)

 

  • I am aware of and interested in these options, but I do not use them because of some of the barriers I selected in the previous questions. (5)

 

  • I use a blend of traditional numerical grades and alternative grading practices (e.g., specifications, mastery, ungrading). (8)

 

  • I currently use alternative grading practices (e.g., ungrading, specifications grading, mastery grading). (7)
  • Other (describe in box) (6)

 

 
 
 

 

End of Block: Change and Barriers

 

 
 
 

Start of Block: Demographics

 

Q23 In which state do you currently reside?

 

▼ Alabama (1) ... I do not reside in the United States (53)

 
  Text Box: ▼ Alabama (1) ... I do not reside in the United States (53)
 

 

 

What type of institution do you teach at?

 

(If you teach at multiple institutions as contingent faculty, choose the one where you most often teach introductory undergraduate biology courses).

  • Community college (1)
  • Historically Black college or university (5)
  • Liberal arts college or university (3)
  • Research university (4)
  • State college/university or comprehensive regional university (2)
  • Technical or professional college (9)
  • Tribal college (8)
  • Other (6)                                                                                                      

 

 

Q25 Please select the categories that best describe your race/ethnicity. (You may select more than one if applicable).

 

▢    American Indian or Alaska Native: origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintains tribal affiliation or

community attachment (1)

 

▢    Asian: origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea,

Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam (2)

 

▢    Black or African American: origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa (3)

 

▢    Hispanic or Latino: a person of Cuban, Mexican, Chicano, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race (4)

 

▢    Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands (5)

 

▢    White: origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa (6)

▢    Other (7)                                                                                                      

▢    I prefer not to answer (8)

 

 

 

Q26 What is your gender?

  • Male (1)
  • Female (2)
  • Non binary (3)
  • I prefer to self describe (4)

 

  • I prefer not to answer (5)

 

 

 

 

Q27 Are you transgender?

  • Yes (1)
  • No (2)
  • I prefer not to answer (3)

 

 

 

Q28 Do you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, or asexual?

  • Yes (1)
  • No (2)
  • Other response (3)                                                                                                       
  • I prefer not to answer (4)

 

 
 
 

 

 

Q31 What is your age?

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

Q29 Are you a person with a disability? This may include a physical or mental impairment or medical condition that substantially limits life activity, or a history of such an impairment or medical condition.

  • Yes, I have a physical disability, or have a history/record of having one (1)
  • Yes, I have a mental disability or neurodiversity, or have a history/record of having one (2)

 

  • Yes, I have both a mental and physical disability, or have a history/record of having them (3)
  • No, I do not have a disability, or a history/record of having one (4)
  • I prefer not to answer (5)

 

 

 

Q30 Describe the nature of your teaching position at your institution.

  • Trainee (e.g., graduate student, postdoc) (1)
  • Contingent faculty, part-time (2)
  • Contingent faculty, full-time (3)
  • Full-time, non-tenure-track faculty (e.g., Professor of Practice, Lecturer, Teaching Professor, etc.) (4)
  • Tenure track faculty (5)
  • Tenured faculty (6)
  • Other (7)                                                                                                      

 

End of Block: Demographics

 

 
 
 

Start of Block: Prescreening for Interview Option

 

Q40

Thank you for responding to this survey!

 

WOULD YOU LIKE TO PARTICIPATE IN ANOTHER STUDY? This research team is also

 

conducting 45-60 minute Zoom interviews to dive into questions about teaching and grading in a bit more depth, in which all participants will receive a $40 Amazon gift card. If you are interested, you can find a (three minute) prescreening for the study here. (Clicking on the link will open the prescreening survey in a new tab, so you won't lose access to this page).

 

 

Thank you so much for your wonderful responses! To enter into the drawing for a $200 gift card, please click next to be directed to a place to enter your name and institutional email address (separate from this survey website).

 

 

 

 

 

End of Block: Prescreening for Interview Option

 

 
 


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