Assessing university biology students’ critical thinking skills resulting from team-based learning with case studies in the classroom



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Research was conducted to measure the effectiveness of new course assessments to increase post-semester exam scores and critical thinking abilities of undergraduate students enrolled in a large lecture Principles of Biology course. New complex problem scenarios were designed to reinforce biological topics studied with Team-Based Learning (TBL) and to promote development of higher order thinking skills. The new problem scenarios were introduced in unit exams following a unit of study with TBL. Research results showed significant increases in student post-semester test scores for specific TBL-aligned questions when compared to previous semester student scores. This result validated the hypothesis that student content knowledge scores would increase due to new TBL-aligned problem scenario assessments. Comparisons between students’ successive problem scenario scores showed significant differences. Comparisons of student scores with different science backgrounds were not significant for post-test scores and problem scenario essays.



Introductory biology, Critical thinking, Assessment, Team-based learning, Case studies