Analyzing student understanding of biology concepts with text analysis of essay problem responses

TitleAnalyzing student understanding of biology concepts with text analysis of essay problem responses
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2005
AuthorsMerrill, J, Urban-Lurain M, Rollins S, Merritt B
Conference NameLON-CAPA Users' Conference
Date PublishedJanuary 7
Conference LocationColumbia, SC
KeywordsBiology, concept, Concept Maps, LON-CAPA, text analysis
AbstractIt is typically impractical to assess student learning via extended response (essay) questions in large enrollment courses. In our introductory biology courses, with lecture section enrollments of 400-500, we are using LON-CAPA’s extended response question types coupled with semi-automated text analysis software tools to partially overcome this difficulty. By this means, we are able to get a more in-depth understanding of the learning of our students than can be achieved with typical multiple-choice questions. To accomplish this, we have used the “survey” page types, and we have worked carefully with the formatting of pages in order to make questions work toward our objective. In this poster we show an example of the type of question that we use, including pertinent aspects of the underlying scripts, an example of resulting data files, and samples of our analysis results.
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