Unit: Life Sciences
Program: Marine Biology (BS)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Wed Nov 18, 2020 - 3:38:43 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 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) Please review, add, replace, or delete the existing curriculum map.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2020:

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 November 1, 2018 and October 31, 2020?

No (skip to question 17)

7) What best describes the program-level learning assessment activities that took place for the period November 1, 2018 and October 31, 2020? (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)
Investigate other pressing issue related to student learning achievement for the program (explain in question 8)

8) Briefly explain the assessment activities that took place since November 2018.

We used a standardized rubric to assess oral communication presentation in Marine Biology capstone course BIOL 404 (SLO 5a: oral communication).

We used a written lab assignment with a standardized rubric to assess SLOs 2, 3, and 5b (written communication).

Three SLOs (2:Demonstrate Scientific Literacy, 3:Apply the Scientific Method, and 5:Communicate in Writing) were assessed using writing assignments from a 100-level laboratory course (BIOL 171L) using an in-house rubric developed by core teaching faculty that ranks achievement on a four point scale (4 = mastery). 

One component of SLO 3, Hypothesis Development, was assessed using writing assignments from a 200-level laboratory course (BIOL 265L) using the same rubric.


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.

BIOL 404, SLO 5a:  113 Marine Biology BS (all students over six semesters)

BIOL 171, SLO 2, 3, 5b: 12 Marine Biology BS (random sample of all MB majors in 1 class)

BIOL 265, SLOs 2, 3, 5B: 12 Marine Biology BS (random sample of all MB majors in 1 class)

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 from the evaluation, analysis, interpretation of evidence (checked in question 12). For example, report the percentage of students who achieved each SLO.

For BIOL 404, the assessment committee chose two benchmarks for oral communication:  2.4/4 (to match the writing assessment benchmark value), and 3.0 to match the faculty impression that students’ oral communication skills were stronger overall than written communication.  100% of students over six semesters exceeded both benchmarks for oral communication (minimum score = 3.2).

Assessed in the 100-level course, in which the SLO’s were first introduced to students, 1/12 of students in the sample met our benchmark of 2.4 on SLO 2: Demonstrate Scientific Literacy, and 1/12 of students met that benchmark on SLO 5: Communicate in Writing. No students in the sample met the benchmark of 2.4 on SLO 3: Apply the Scientific Method, but the average score for that SLO was slightly above the introductory ranking on our rubric (average score = 1.26) as were the average scores for SLO 2 (average score = 1.5) and SLO 5 (average score = 1.37).

Because Hypothesis Development was a component of our SLO 3 that had been identified in the previous round of assessment as one requiring additional focus, it was individually assessed in this round in BIOL 265L. Mid-semester at this level, 1/6 of students in the sample exceeded the benchmark of 2.4 (average score = 1.79).  


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 its findings/results.

Oral communication in BIOL 404: the positive results of oral communication performance were communicated to the faculty.

Since the 100-level and 200-level assessments were both conducted on mid-semester assignments, assessment results will be used to guide instruction on final lab reports for in the current semester. Assessment results will be shared with all lab instructors, revised guidelines and examples for satisfactory work will be provided and reviewed with students, and a supplementary round of revision and instructor feedback will be added to the sequence of assignments of the same type. A research project proposal peer-review workshop will be held in BIOL 265L to cooperatively continue improvement on the Hypothesis Development component of SLO 3.

Use of the in-house rubric will be extended to additional courses at the 200- and 300-level across the curriculum as a component of the regular summative assessment contributing to student course grades. This will reinforce focus of both students and instructors on progress towards the specific learning objectives, and provide students with direct feedback through a more explicit scaffolding within and across courses.


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 committee determined that Marine Biology students are successfully meeting SLO 5 (oral communication) and we will continue with the existing scaffolding of oral communication skills within the major. We will also share our insights with other programs withing the School of Life Sciences to assist them with achieving and measuring student success. 

Review of the assessment results with scorers and members of a faculty assessment committee brought to light a discrepancy between the instructions on some 100-level laboratory report assignments and the criteria on the in-house rubric to be used across courses for assessment of scientific writing in regard to the number of alternative hypotheses to be provided as demonstration of mastery in applying the scientific method. This will be remedied in future rounds of assessment through revision of the assignment instructions.



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