Assessment represent an important, but difficult, part of teaching in genetics, as assessment mediate the students study behavior and academic maturation. My experience with assessment mainly relate to formative evaluation during supervision and assessment of numerous semester essays and laboratory exercises and reports, but also include supervision of bachelor, master, and PhD students. Since I am not yet responsible for an own course in genetics, and thus only provide questions as part of final exams for other courses, my experience in summative assessment remains limited to setting grades for my questions. I have also been involved in final exams for bachelor and master students both as an internal evaluator and as an external sensor.
In genetics the use of laboratory courses and semester essays represent an essential form of formative assessment. During lectures, only discussions between the students and me allow for formative assessment, and it thus becomes hard to evaluate the progress of learning for all the students. This especially because some students may be really active, whereas others may never ask a single question. The laboratory courses are designed to illustrate concepts of the lectures, but also to allow the students to interact and develop a stronger connection with me as a teacher. The same holds true for the semester essays. This connection is important for the evaluation of progress of the students, as it allow me to help and guide students that may not have obtained the needed skills. For example, in one exercise I use a genetic dataset of parentals and offspring from crossings of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) to illustrate the concept of parental assignment and why molecular genetic markers are useful in aquaculture. The students obtain data from five potential male and female parents, respectively, and from 15 offspring and I exemplify how to identify which male and female that are parents to a given offspring – solely based on genetic data. The students are then asked to complete the assignment while we are in the laboratory. During this time the students ask many questions related (and unrelated) to the concept of parental assignment. From these discussions, it becomes apparent whether the students have understood the concept and whether they need further guidance.
Supervision of theses also represents an assessment activity that enhances the connection between the student and me. For me, supervision represents the activity where I feel the closest connection between the students and me. It allows me to provide guiding and advice having the student in focus and adjust the teaching based on the skill level and personality of the student.
I look forward to obtain more experience with summative assessment. For this evaluation activity I will combine alignment theory (Biggs 1999) in order to provide a transparent teaching environment.