Assessment of Course

Assessment of your research course or module (i.e., what worked, what didn’t (logistically or pedagogically); barriers; potential improvements; expansions) can consider short-term, medium-term, and long-term outcomes. Models for understanding the efficacy of course-based research suggest that improvement in short-term outcomes can lead to improvement in medium-term outcomes, which subsequently can lead to improvement in long-term outcomes (see Figure 4 in Corwin et al. 2015).

Examples of Short-term outcomes

  • Increased analytical skills
  • Increased content knowledge
  • Increased experimental design skills
  • Increased communication skills
  • Increased collaboration skills

Examples of Medium-term outcomes

  • Increased motivation in science
  • Increased self-efficacy
  • Increased tolerance to obstacles
  • Increased performance in next biology course

Examples of Long-term outcomes

  • Student persistence in biology major
  • Student 4-year and 5-year graduation rate
  • Student pursuit of graduate or professional degree


Things to consider when designing your assessment plan:

  • writing objectives for your module or course will direct your assessment,
  • timing of assessments: consider pre- and post-tests to see learning gains
  • consider alumni surveys to follow long-term effects
  • using third party administration to protect anonymity of responder
  • type of assessment tools for different information (tests, surveys, focus groups)


Corwin, LA, MJ Graham, and EL Dolan. 2015. Modeling Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences: An Agenda for Future Research and Evaluation. CBE-Life Sciences Education 14:1-13.