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1.  Cloning the Professor, an Alternative to Ineffective Teaching in a Large Course 
CBE Life Sciences Education  2009;8(3):252-263.
Pedagogical strategies have been experimentally applied in large-enrollment biology courses in an attempt to amplify what teachers do best in effecting deep learning, thus more closely approximating a one-on-one interaction with students. Carefully orchestrated in-class formative assessments were conducted to provide frequent, high-quality feedback that allows students to accurately diagnose the current state of their understanding of fundamental biological concepts and make specific plans to remedy any deficiencies. Teachers can also assume responsibility to guide out-of-class study among classmates by promoting Elaborative Questioning, an inquiry exchange that permits misconceptions to be identified and corrected and that promotes long-lasting metacognitive and analytical thinking skills. Data are presented that demonstrate the positive impact of these innovations on student performance and affect.
doi:10.1187/cbe.09-01-0006
PMCID: PMC2736028  PMID: 19723819
2.  Rethinking Exams and Letter Grades: How Much Can Teachers Delegate to Students? 
CBE— Life Sciences Education  2006;5(3):270-280.
In this article we report a 3-yr study of a large-enrollment Cell Biology course focused on developing student skill in scientific reasoning and data interpretation. Specifically, the study tested the hypothesis that converting the role of exams from summative grading devices to formative tools would increase student success in acquiring those skills. Traditional midterm examinations were replaced by weekly assessments administered under test-like conditions and followed immediately by extensive self, peer, and instructor feedback. Course grades were criterion based and derived using data from the final exam. To alleviate anxiety associated with a single grading instrument, students were given the option of informing the grading process with evidence from weekly assessments. A comparative analysis was conducted to determine the impact of these design changes on both performance and measures of student affect. Results at the end of each year were used to inform modifications to the course in subsequent years. Significant improvements in student performance and attitudes were observed as refinements were implemented. The findings from this study emphasized the importance of prolonging student opportunity and motivation to improve by delaying grade decisions, providing frequent and immediate performance feedback, and designing that feedback to be maximally formative and minimally punitive.
doi:10.1187/cbe.05-11-0123
PMCID: PMC1618686  PMID: 17012219

Results 1-2 (2)