January 30, 2020
Division of Biology Seminar speaker to present 'Investigating Student Buy-In Toward and Utilization of Formative Assessments'
Brian Couch, associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, will present "Investigating Student Buy-In Toward and Utilization of Formative Assessments" as part of the Division of Biology Seminar Series at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, in 221 Ackert Hall.
Couch's research seeks to understand and improve science education, with a particular focus on undergraduate biology. In his seminar, he will particularly focus on formative assessments, or FA, which are an important way to improve student learning and persistence in STEM courses. While the use of FAs — e.g., Just-in-Time Teaching, Peer Instruction — has increased in recent years, it has also been accompanied by challenges such as students resisting them or using them in ways that may undermine learning. Student buy-in and utilization thus represent critical factors that potentially limit the adoption and efficacy of FAs. Couch's research group has conducted mixed-methods investigations to understand how instructor-based activity characteristics influence student perceptions and behaviors related to FA activities. He will present findings from open-ended interviews highlighting how students perceive specific activity characteristics — e.g., content, grading policy — to affect their FA engagement. Furthermore, he will show results from the closed-ended Formative Assessment Buy-in and Utilization Survey, or FABUS, demonstrating quantitative connections between student buy-in, utilization and performance. Finally, Couch will share suggestions about how FABUS can be used by instructors to monitor and improve their FA implementation to help students succeed.