Laboratory Notes for BIO 1016 & 3001

© 11 February 2013, John H. Wahlert


Rubrics for grading components of laboratory in BIO 1016 and BIO 3001

     Grading rubric for Practical Exams (1 is top performance)
Component123
Taxon identification Identifies taxon correctly. Identifies larger group to which taxon belongs but not specific taxon. Misidentifies taxon and group to which it belongs.
Structure and function Explains function in relation to structure with clear scientific terms. Explains function in relation to structure unclearly. Cannot identify function.
Taxon definition Identifies unique characters that define the taxonomic group. Identifies characters belonging to the group but present at a higher taxonomic leve.l Misidentifies defining characters of the taxon.
Phylogenetic diagram Draws phylogenetic diagram of taxa being considered and places defining characters at appropriate nodes of diagram. Draws phylogenetic diagram of taxa being considered but does not place defining characters at appropriate levels. Draws a phylogenetic diagram of taxa being considered but mixes up defining characters.
Identification of previously unseen specimens Uses knowledge gained in laboratory to place taxon in a group studied; explains choice. Uses knowledge gained in laboratory but misidentifies features of unknown. Guesses and has no explanation for choice.
ExperimentsCorrectly identifies outcome of experiment and control used to eliminate other explanations. Explains principles of the process. Incorrectly identifies outcome of experiment but explains control and principles correctly. Cannot identify experimental outcome or give reasons for it.

     Grading rubric for Laboratory Quizzes (1 is top performance)
Component123
Questions on procedures Explains the setup and procedure of the laboratory exercise. Has an incomplete concept of setup and procedure of the laboratory exercise. Demonstrates unfamiliarity with the laboratory exercise.
Questions on observations Describes results or characters clearly using scientific terminology. Describes results or characters in a vague way that does not use scientific terminology. Is simply muddled and does not understand the laboratory exercise.
Questions on hypotheses Relates hypotheses to results using scientific terminology. Relates hypotheses to results but does not use correct terminology. Does not frame a hypothesis relevant to the laboratory exercise.

     Grading rubric for “Mystery Spore” Report (1 is top performance)
Component123
Title The title is descriptive of the project (a subtitle may add information). The title is a partial description of the project. The title is unrelated to the project completed, e.g., “Laboratory Report.”
Abstract The abstract briefly and adequately describes the experiment, results, and reasons (data) supporting the conclusion. The abstract omits key information or is so long as to be a report in itself. The abstract does not describe the experiment and the evidence for the conclusions reached.
Introduction Describes the problem presented, use of laboratory observations for comparisons, and hypothesizes possible outcomes and supposes results that would support one or another hypothesis. Describes the problem presented, hypothesizes possible outcomes but omits results that would support one or another hypothesis. Describes the problem presented but omits hypothesis or includes information that belongs in other sections.
Materials and Methods Materials and methods are described in a way that the experiment is repeatable by others. Setup and function of controls. Materials and methods are described but there are omissions. Materials and methods are muddled together with results.
Results Results are written in a clear format with dates of observations; tables may be used, if appropriate. Labeled illustrations, redrawn from the originals, may be included, or you can refer by date to the original lab drawings, which must be appended. Photographs may supplement the drawings but they are not a replacement for the drawings. The outcomes of the controls are described. Results are presented in a clear format, but there are observations omitted, e.g., the controls. Labels on illustrations are incomplete and illustrations are not referred to in the text. Original, dated drawings are omitted and photographs are substituted. Results are jumbled with little attention to dates of observations. Labels on illustrations are incomplete. Illustrations are not referred to in text. Original dated drawings are omitted. Data are not added to ongoing phylogenetic analysis.
Original Laboratory Drawings Original drawings, made from direct observations, are attached to the end of the report. Each drawing is labeled with the date of observation. Drawings include details that support hypotheses of identification. Structures are identified and labeled. Original drawings, made from direct observations, are attached to the back of the report. Drawings omit detail but structures are properly labeled. Original drawings, made from direct observations, are not attached to the back of the report, or photographs are given instead of drawings. Labels are insufficient to identify structures.
Discussion The discussion uses evidence stated in the results to identify the mystery organism and to rule out other taxa (=5 Kingdoms, Phyla/Divisons, etc., as appropriate). If comparative tables are included, the content must be described in the text and reference to the table noted. . Data are used in the phylogenetic analysis. A phylogenetic tree is presented with derived characters labeled on its stem and branches.Citations are made to outside sources of information, and they are listed at the end of the report. The discussion demonstrates knowledge of the biology of organisms, including comparison to life cycles of similar organisms. The discussion uses some of the results but does not clearly rule out other possible groups to which the mystery organism may belong. Tables of data are presented but not described clarely. Data are appropriately added to the ongoing phylogenetic analysis. Phylogenetic tree is omitted. Demonstration of biological knowledge is weak. The identification is supported by the phylogenetic analysis. The discussion wanders and does not clearly identify the group to which the mystery organism belongs and it does not rule out other possible taxa. There is no clear presentation of biological knowledge. The results of the phylogenetic analysis are omitted.
Conclusion The conclusion repeats the identification and summarizes the evidence supporting it. It explains how the method used is appropriate for identifying any new organism.The conclusion incompletely summarizes the evidence supporting identification. It makes no further generalization.The conclusion names the group to which the mystery organism belongs and gives no supporting evidence. It makes no further generalization.
Citations Concepts and descriptions from outside sources (print and web) are appropriately cited so that (1) credit is given where due (authors, institutions) and (2) others can easily locate the sources used (publisher, web link).Concepts and descriptions from outside sources (print and web) are cited unclearly so that they would be hard for another person to find them.There are no citations of sources used.

     Grading rubric for Oral Class Presentations (1 is top performance)
Component123
Participation Members of team participate equally. One member of team does most of presentation. Team members are uncoordinated.
Clarity Team members use scientific terminology to propose and describe characters. Team members use scientific terminology but are unsure of how to describe characters. Team members do not use scientific terminology and fail to identify characters useful in grouping organisms.
Effectiveness in leading the class Team members are responsive to suggestions made by students in class and guide an interactive and productive discussion. Team members are bossy and do not listen to other classmates suggestions. Team members are led by the class.

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Last updated 3 January 2017 jhw