Unit: Life Sciences
Program: Marine Biology (BS)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Mon Oct 06, 2014 - 9:27:02 am

1) Institutional Learning Objectives (ILOs) and Program Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

1. Student will be able to demonstrate scientific literacy by making informed, evidence-based decisions on science-related issues.

(1a. General education)

2. Student will be able to explain biological processes from molecules to eco-systems in an evolutionary context, including being able to use examples from Hawaii.

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field)

3. Student will be able to propose potential solutions to real-world problems by applying biological knowledge.

(1a. General education, 2a. Think critically and creatively)

4. Student will be able to identify gaps in knowledge and apply the scientific method to generate and test new hypotheses to fill those gaps.

(1a. General education, 1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 2b. Conduct research)

5. Student will be able to form strong biological arguments by critically evaluating scientific evidence and arguments, and applying logic and quantitative methods.

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 2b. Conduct research, 2c. Communicate and report)

6. Student will demonstrate inquisitiveness regarding, and respect for, the biological world.

(1a. General education, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 3a. Continuous learning and personal growth, 3b. Respect for people and cultures, in particular Hawaiian culture, 3c. Stewardship of the natural environment)

7. Student will strive for excellence, work ethically individually and in teams and demonstrate respect for diversity of opinions.

(3a. Continuous learning and personal growth)

8. Student will, in oral and written forms, be able to communicate clearly and professionally.

(2c. Communicate and report)

2) Your program's SLOs are published as follows. Please update as needed.

Department Website URL: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/biology/education
Student Handbook. URL, if available online:
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online:
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online:

3) Select one option:

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2014:

4) For your program, the percentage of courses that have course SLOs explicitly stated on the syllabus, a website, or other publicly available document is as follows. Please update as needed.


5) Did your program engage in any program assessment activities between June 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014? (e.g., establishing/revising outcomes, aligning the curriculum to outcomes, collecting evidence, interpreting evidence, using results, revising the assessment plan, creating surveys or tests, etc.)

No (skip to question 14)

6) For the period between June 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014: State the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goals. Include the SLOs that were targeted, if applicable.

The Department of Biology faculty created a new set of SLOs and created a corresponding curriculum map.  The Biology Curriculum Committee then assessed the SLO: "Student will in oral and written forms, be able to communicate clearly and professionally."  They focused on written communication.  

7) State the type(s) of evidence gathered to answer the assessment question and/or meet the assessment goals that were given in Question #6.

The SLOs and curriculum map were created collaboratively with the help of the Manoa Assessment Office.  To assess the selected SLO, the Curriculum Committee utilized final drafts of reiterative writing assignments from the Marine Biology Capstone Course, BIOL 404 - Advanced Topics in Marine Biology.

8) State how many persons submitted evidence that was evaluated. If applicable, please include the sampling technique used.

We reviewed writing samples from all participants (17 students) in the course for the Spring 2014 semester.

9) Who interpreted or analyzed the evidence that was collected? (Check all that apply.)

Course instructor(s)
Faculty committee
Ad hoc faculty group
Department chairperson
Persons or organization outside the university
Faculty advisor
Advisors (in student support services)
Students (graduate or undergraduate)

10) How did they evaluate, analyze, or interpret the evidence? (Check all that apply.)

Used a rubric or scoring guide
Scored exams/tests/quizzes
Used professional judgment (no rubric or scoring guide used)
Compiled survey results
Used qualitative methods on interview, focus group, open-ended response data
External organization/person analyzed data (e.g., external organization administered and scored the nursing licensing exam)

11) For the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goal(s) stated in Question #6:
Summarize the actual results.

For the following categories, the percentage stated indicates the percentage of students that met or exceeded the benchmark set by the Curriculum Committee:

  • Context and Purpose – 75%
  • Content Development – 35%
  • Genre and Disciplinary Conventions – 58%
  • Sources and Evidence – 71%
  • Control of Syntax and Mechanics – 35%

The committee decided that 75% of the students must meet or exceed the benchmark in any given area to consider the area mastered.  While the appropriate proportion of students met or exceeded the benchmark for Context and Purpose, students fell short in the other four categories. 

12) State how the program used the results or plans to use the results. Please be specific.

The Department of Biology Curriculum Committee is currently reevaluating the core curriculum to determine what improvements can be made to ensure student are stronger writers by the time they reach their capstone, BIOL 404 course. The Introduction to Biology I Laboratory (BIOL 171L) curriculum was recently revised to emphasize basic scientific writing skills.  This curriculum was implemented during Fall 2013, so it is too early to assess the effects on performance in BIOL 404.  We are confident that improvements in BIOL 171L, coupled with continued reinforcement of scientific writing skills in later laboratory courses like Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Laboratory (BIOL 265L), which is now writing intensive, will improve student writing skills and significantly impact their assessment scores in future years.

13) Beyond the results, were there additional conclusions or discoveries?
This can include insights about assessment procedures, teaching and learning, program aspects and so on.

Utilizing rubrics takes practice to ensure consistent assessment of evidence from person to person.  We found that scoring sample writing assignments together helped us to ensure consistency.

14) If the program did not engage in assessment activities, please explain.
Or, if the program did engage in assessment activities, please add any other important information here.