Unit: Life Sciences
Program: Marine Biology (BS)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Wed Nov 14, 2018 - 8:57:46 pm

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

1. Student will be able to explain biological processes from molecules to ecosystems in an evolutionary context, including being able to use examples from Hawaii.

(1a. General education, 1b. Specialized study in an academic field)

2. Student will be able to demonstrate scientific literacy by critically evaluating scientific evidence, identifying gaps in knowledge, and applying strong evidence-based biological arguments to real-world problems.

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

3. Student will be able to apply the scientific method to generate new hypotheses, formulate experimental approaches and outline potential outcomes, applying appropriate logical and quantitative methods.

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

4. Student will work individually and in teams in an ethical manner, and demonstrate respect for diversity of viewpoints

(1a. General education, 3a. Continuous learning and personal growth, 3b. Respect for people and cultures, in particular Hawaiian culture)

5. Student will, in oral and written forms, be able to communicate biological information clearly and professionally.

(1a. General education, 2c. Communicate and report)

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

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) Please review, add, replace, or delete the existing curriculum map.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2018:

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) Does the program have learning achievement results for its program SLOs? (Example of achievement results: "80% of students met expectations on SLO 1.")(check one):

Yes, on some(1-50%) of the program SLOs
Yes, on most(51-99%) of the program SLOs
Yes, on all(100%) of the program SLOs

6) Did your program engage in any program learning assessment activities between June 1, 2015 and October 31, 2018?

No (skip to question 17)

7) What best describes the program-level learning assessment activities that took place for the period June 1, 2015 to October 31, 2018? (Check all that apply.)

Create/modify/discuss program learning assessment procedures (e.g., SLOs, curriculum map, mechanism to collect student work, rubric, survey)
Collect/evaluate student work/performance to determine SLO achievement
Collect/analyze student self-reports of SLO achievement via surveys, interviews, or focus groups
Use assessment results to make programmatic decisions (e.g., change course content or pedagogy, design new course, hiring)
No (skip to question 17)
Investigate other pressing issue related to student learning achievement for the program (explain in question 7)

8) Briefly explain the assessment activities that took place.

The curriculum for the Biology BS changed in fall 2018, and a group of core course instructors met with the Biology Curriculum Committee to create a new curriculum map.  The same group reevaluated the SLOs and determined SLO4 (Student will demonstrate inquisitiveness regarding, and respect for, the biological world.) was not actually a goal of the program.  

The department also assessed three SLOs (2, 3, and 5) using writing assignments from a 100 and a 300-level course using an in-house rubric developed by core teaching faculty.  


9) What types of evidence did the program use as part of the assessment activities checked in question 7? (Check all that apply.)

Artistic exhibition/performance
Assignment/exam/paper completed as part of regular coursework and used for program-level assessment
Capstone work product (e.g., written project or non-thesis paper)
Exam created by an external organization (e.g., professional association for licensure)
Exit exam created by the program
IRB approval of research
Oral performance (oral defense, oral presentation, conference presentation)
Portfolio of student work
Publication or grant proposal
Qualifying exam or comprehensive exam for program-level assessment in addition to individual student evaluation (graduate level only)
Supervisor or employer evaluation of student performance outside the classroom (internship, clinical, practicum)
Thesis or dissertation used for program-level assessment in addition to individual student evaluation
Alumni survey that contains self-reports of SLO achievement
Employer meetings/discussions/survey/interview of student SLO achievement
Interviews or focus groups that contain self-reports of SLO achievement
Student reflective writing assignment (essay, journal entry, self-assessment) on their SLO achievement.
Student surveys that contain self-reports of SLO achievement
Assessment-related such as assessment plan, SLOs, curriculum map, etc.
Program or course materials (syllabi, assignments, requirements, etc.)
Other 1:
Other 2:

10) State the number of students (or persons) who submitted evidence that was evaluated. If applicable, please include the sampling technique used.

60 papers were randomly chosen from lab reports in BIOL 171L (30 papers) and BIOL 375L (30 papers).

11) 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)

12) 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)

13) Summarize the results of the assessment activities checked in question 7. For example, report the percentage of students who achieved each SLO.

In the 30 assignments we evaluated in the 300-level course, which crossed multiple majors, students did not meet our benchmark of 2.4 on any of the three SLOs (2.35, 2.04, and 2.33 for SLO 2, 3, and 5, respectively).

Students in the Marine Biology BS (N=8)  did not meet the benchmark expectations (2.4) for the three SLOs we assessed.  Average scores were 2.26, 2.09, and 2.29 for SLOs 2, 3, and 5, respectively.

14) What best describes how the program used the results? (Check all that apply.)

Assessment procedure changes (SLOs, curriculum map, rubrics, evidence collected, sampling, communications with faculty, etc.)
Course changes (course content, pedagogy, courses offered, new course, pre-requisites, requirements)
Personnel or resource allocation changes
Program policy changes (e.g., admissions requirements, student probation policies, common course evaluation form)
Students' out-of-course experience changes (advising, co-curricular experiences, program website, program handbook, brown-bag lunches, workshops)
Celebration of student success!
Results indicated no action needed because students met expectations
Use is pending (typical reasons: insufficient number of students in population, evidence not evaluated or interpreted yet, faculty discussions continue)

15) Please briefly describe how the program used the results.

PLO 3, which students struggled the most with, will be reinforced throughout the curriculum by (1) developing mini-workshops on the scientific method and hypothesis testing that will be adopted in 200-, 300, and 400-level classes, and (2) providing additional iterative writing assignments focusing on scientific methods in a 200-level required course (BIOL 275L) to reinforce these skills.  In addition, we will align writing instruction across the entire curriculum to ensure appropriate scaffolding.

The in-house rubric will be used in multiple classes across the curriculum.  This will both improve value of rubric overall by making it easier to use and more generally applicable to undergraduate science writing, and will help students in our curriculum have a better understanding of faculty expectations.


16) Beyond the results, were there additional conclusions or discoveries? This can include insights about assessment procedures, teaching and learning, and great achievements regarding program assessment in this reporting period.

The courses we assessed serve more than one major, so our sampling protocol (which was random with respect to major) limited our ability to examine performance within individual majors.  Future assessment activities will focus directly on students in the major, which will increase our sample size requirements.

17) If the program did not engage in assessment activities, please justify.