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Molecular & Cellular Biology: Undergraduate Programs

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Pre- and Post-Assessment of Undergraduate Majors

The Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology is currently developing a pre/post-assessment, focused on departmental content objectives, for its undergraduate majors. The computer-based pretest will be administered to incoming students at the time of their first advising meeting and a directly comparable post-test will be administered at the time of the student’s degree check for graduation, after nearly all coursework has been completed.

The assessment will focus on the core content objectives for the Molecular and Cellular Biology major and will be developed by a committee of MCB faculty who teach the core courses for the major (MCB 181R/L, MCB 304, MCB 305) using a variety of sources. The exam will be piloted on student volunteers in Summer 2010 for readability, time required, validity of test questions, and general usability issues; administration of the exam will begin during Fall 2010. Benchmark setting and a second round of question validation will take place in Spring or Summer 2011, once a large enough number of students take the assessment.

Results on this assessment will inform curricular decisions and will be used as an independent source of information, outside of the context of any particular class, about how well the curriculum supports the desired content objectives. Results will be reported annually to the Department Head/Associate Department Head, in combination with assessment results obtained from in-class tests administered in MCB 181, MCB 304, and MCB 305.

Content to be included on the Molecular and Cellular Biology pre/post assessment includes:
·         Structure and function of cells
·         Growth and development of cells, tissues, and organisms
·         Principles of inheritance of traits and evolution
·         Chemical reactions and synthetic pathways in the cell
·         Chemical signaling within and between cells
·         DNA/RNA: replication and translation
·         Gene expression and regulation
·         Molecular and cellular responses to the environment
·         Scientific approaches and techniques used in molecular and cellular biology
·         Molecular and cellular mechanisms of human disease


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