Use of a Knowledge Survey in Microbiology, The

Favazzo, Lacey
Knowledge surveys are exams that ask students to answer questions in terms of their confidence in their ability to respond rather than to actually formulate an answer. They allow a wide variety of material to be tested quickly and easily, without the use of extensive in class time and effort. The benefits to students and instructors are numerous and include improvements in class organization, communication, learning techniques, clarity of expectations, and can serve as valuable study tools. The goal of this study was to determine the usefulness of knowledge studies within the Department of Microbiology and to ascertain if there was a correlation between confidence and correctness on a knowledge survey. A knowledge survey was compiled of questions dealing with material encountered in the program and classified according to Bloom's taxonomy. This knowledge survey was administered to general microbiology students as a pre-test and a post test in the spring and fall semesters of 2011. Students were asked to both answer questions and to rank their confidence. Data indicate that there is a positive correlation between correctness and confidence. They also show that such a knowledge survey can be useful department wide, and that continued effort and research would be beneficial.
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