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Assessment and Active Learning Strategies for Introductory Geology Courses
Educational research findings suggest that instructors can foster the growth of thinking skills and promote science literacy by incorporating active learning strategies into the classroom. This paper describes a variety of such strategies that may be adopted in introductory geology courses to encourage the development of higher-order thinking skills, and provides directions for implementing these techniques in the classroom. It discusses six hierarchical levels of student learning and links them to examples of appropriate assessment tools that were used successfully in several sections of a general education Earth Science course taught by two instructors at the University of Akron. These teaching strategies have been evaluated qualitatively using peer reviews, student written evaluations and semistructured student interviews; and quantitatively by measuring improvements in student retention, exam scores, and scores on a logical thinking assessment instrument.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Graduate / Professional
Type of resource:
  • Text:
    • Journal article
  • Educational theory and practice
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geology
Technical requirements:
Adobe Acrobat reader
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
We encourage the reuse and dissemination of the material on this site for educational, noncommercial purposes as long as attribution is retained.
DLESE Catalog ID: EVAL-TLKT-000-000-000-118
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT)
Journal of Geoscience Education (JGE)

Contributor: David A. McConnell
Department of Geology
University of Akron

Contributor: David N. Steer
Department of Geology
University of Akron

Contributor: Kathie D. Owens
Department of Curricular and Instructional Studies
University of Akron College of Education