CIRCLE is working on the following projects in collaboration with the Biology Department:

Introductory Biology and Cell Biology Knowledge Inventories

Can we develop a reliable and valid assessment tool to measure student learning of core concepts in: (1) the introductory biology sequence and (2) upper-level cell biology?

We are developing inventories of biology knowledge based on the learning objectives for each of our introductory courses. We are using the knowledge inventories as assessment tools to track changes in student learning gains as we make curricular innovations in the introductory sequence.

Additionally, we are in the process of developing and validating a knowledge inventory for cell biology. For this inventory, we have adopted a multiple true/false format to determine mixed models of accurate knowledge and misconceptions that students might hold for a single concept.

Active Learning in Introductory Biology and Cell Biology

Do active-learning pedagogies in biology improve student learning of core concepts and engagement in class compared to traditional approaches to teaching biology?

We are evaluating the active-learning innovations by comparing previous iterations of the course, which was taught mostly in lecture style, with the newer course that integrates more active-learning strategies into the lectures.

Increased Structure in Introductory Biology

In close collaboration with faculty teaching the introductory sequence, we have developed curricular materials aimed to increase structural support for the courses. These materials include development of weekly online quizzes, study guides, and refinement of course syllabi. Increased structure will support student learning by clearly defining expectations for learning in the introductory sequence.


Elise Walck-Shannon (Biology, CIRCLE)
April Bednarski (Biology)
Kathy Weston-Hafer (Biology)
Barbara Kunkel (Biology)
Anton Weisstein (Biology, Truman State University)
Gina Frey (CIRCLE, Chemistry)
Mark McDaniel (CIRCLE, Psychological & Brain Sciences)
Erin Solomon (CIRCLE)


This project is supported by the Transformational Initiative for Education in STEM (TIES).