Conceptual Assessment in Biology Conferences

At the first Conceptual Assessment in Biology conference was organized by Karthy Garvin-Doxas and Mike Klymkowsky and funded through a supplement to theirh "Building a Basic Biology Concept Inventory" project.   It was held in March 2007 in Boulder, Colorado, and attended to begin a discussion of the “big ideas” in biology undergraduate education was discussed within the context of effective mechanisms for assessing conceptual understanding in biology (i.e., concept inventories).

A summary of the meeting has been published in Life Sciences Eduction

Background:  To facilitate discuss and collaboration between groups working in the area of conceptual assessment in the biological sciences, we organized an NSF-funded meeting in March of 2007 on this topic.  Full meeting reports and papers from individual attendees are available below, as pdfs.   Comments and suggestions: email us

Recent posts:

Michael, Modell, McFarland, & Cliff.  Assessming conceptual understanding in physiology as a discipline: a "big ideas" approach.  working draft (do not cite)

Meeting reports:

Contribute more by adding to and editing the wikipedia pages on concept inventories and scientific misconceptions.

Submitted papers (in alphabetical order of first author's last names):


CAB II (on January 3-6, 2008 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds near Monterey, CA) was continues this work and further the conversation on how this knowledge of the “big ideas” and effective assessment tools can be used to transform teaching and learning in undergraduate biology. Specifically, the primary purpose of this conference will be to answer the following questions:

  • What are the “big ideas” in biology and how is a “big idea” defined and assessed?
  • What assessment tools, including concept inventories, are available to help us assess student understanding of the big ideas in biology?
  • How can or should these tools be used to inform and improve teaching/learning in biology?
  • What are the best methods for use and dissemination of these tools?

submitted papers: click here! © all rights reserved
posted 13 June 2007