Assessing Learning in Ethnobotany

SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany proposes to serve four program learning outcomes through three course level outcomes. The course serves learning outcomes in general education, the Micronesian studies program, and the Agriculture and Natural Resources program.

PLO SC/SS 115 CLO
GE 3.4 Define and explain scientific concepts, principles, and theories of a field of science. 1. Identify local plants, their reproductive strategies, and morphology.
GE 4.2 Demonstrate knowledge of the cultural issues of a person’s own culture and other cultures.

MSP 2 Demonstrate proficiency in the geographical, historical, and cultural literacy of the Micronesian region.
2. Communicate and describe the cultural use of local plants for healing, as food, as raw materials, and in traditional social contexts.
ANR 2 Demonstrate basic competencies in the management of land resources and food production. 3. Demonstrate basic field work competencies related to management of culturally useful plant resources and foods.

CLO 1

Identify local plants, their reproductive strategies, and morphology.

The twenty-four students (12 female, 12 male) who completed the course engaged in a number of activities in support of this learning outcome. Reproductive strategies were also communicated via student presentations. Morphology was supported by a vegetative and floral morphology walk along with a fruit type identification exercise. Identification of local plants permeated every outing, field trip, and hike.

Nephrolepis hirsutula

Twenty-two of the twenty-four students attended the field final examination exercise. One student was excused for medical reasons, one student did not attend the final for reasons which were never determined.

The final examination involved a walk on campus and required the students to identify twenty-one local plants. The students had to identify the plants by Latin binomial, local name, and provide a specific cultural use for the plant. The students had a list of 83 Latin binomials for plants found on and around the Paies, Palikir, campus to assist with the Latin name identification. An online flora for the campus was also available.

Performance on Latin name, local name, and local use sections of the final exam

Collectively, the 22 students who took the field final examination made 352 correct Latin binomial identifications out of 462 possible identifications for a 76% success rate, down slightly term-on-term. Rain shifted the route of the final. The plants that appeared on the final were a more challenging and difficult list of plants than in prior terms.

Flora review practice in Schoology


CLO 2

Communicate and describe the cultural use of local plants for healing, as food, as raw materials, and in traditional social contexts.

Norton made a landscape of an island and volcano using uht and uht idihd

Students engaged in presentations on healing plants, plants as food, plants used for material culture.

For the twenty-one plants on the final examination, the 22students were collectively able to cite 410 uses out of 462 possible uses, a success rate of 89%. This was up slightly against past performance.

CLO 3

Demonstrate basic field work competencies related to management of culturally useful plant resources and foods.

Students tended to a banana tree collection and engaged in maintaining ethnobotanical plant collections on campus.

Students engaging in field work competencies related to the management of food crops

The students worked with bananas from production on the land to the kitchen to the table as seen in the banana island presentation image above. The collection also provided a living banana herbarium and assisted in teaching students the diversity of bananas.

Performance on the final examination across multiple terms

Over time performance on the final examination had been generally improving. The current format dates back to spring 2009, although in 2011 and 2012 additional questions were added to the final examination. Since spring 2013 the format of the final examination has remained essentially the same. The addition of plants to the campus and to the final has made the final more challenging with each term. This term the number of plants to be identified increased to twenty-one plants.

Long term final examination success rates

From 2002 to 2005 the course had a course content oriented final examination. From 2005 to 2008 the course ended with a final essay examination (not included above). As noted above, spring term 2009 the course shifted to using the present format of naming plants and explaining their uses in a field final practical examination.

In the spring 2009 final there were twelve plants on the final and a list of only 20 Latin binomials. By the spring of 2010 the number of plants to be identified increased to 16 plants of a possible 26 plants on the Latin name list. The averages seen in the spring and fall of 2010 are in part a function of the ethnobotanical garden having been a small collection of 26 plants in one corner of the campus at this time. The list of plants for students to know has grown to 86 since then, up three since last term.

Spring 2016 the final examination expanded to include 20 plants and a list of 72 Latin names. Each term the number of plants listed in the Latin names list has increased, this term 86 plants were on the list, up three from fall 2018. The number of plants on the Latin names list is also the number of plants the students are attempting to learn during the term. Some students already know the local names of their plants, but many students are unfamiliar with the name in their language of plants around them.

Part of the increase in the number of plants is due to the intentional evolution of the campus and environs as a living herbarium.

Reporting Learning Outcome Achievement via Schoology Mastery Data

Course student learning outcomes were mapped to activities, presentations, hikes, and assignments in Schoology Institutional during the term. Mastery settings were set at 70% with at least five demonstrations of the outcome at that level or higher for mastery. Based on these settings, the following data was reported into Nuventive Improve/TracDat:

CLO 1: Identify local plants, their reproductive strategies, and morphology.
24 (12 females; 12 males ) out of 24 students (100%) successfully completed this CSLO.

CLO 2: Communicate and describe the cultural use of local plants for healing, as food, as raw materials, and in traditional social contexts.
24 (12 females; 12 males ) out of 24 students (100%) successfully completed this CSLO.

CLO 3: Demonstrate basic field work competencies related to management of culturally useful plant resources and foods.
11 (5 females; 6 males ) out of 24 students (46%) successfully completed this CSLO.

Final examination notes
Prior to the fall of 2018 the final examination ended at the FSM-China Friendship Center. Fall 2018 the final ended at maintenance, which proved sub-optimal as there was nowhere for the students to sit and rewrite their papers. Most of the students were left at a single table, others were scattered around on random surfaces. This was a one-off experiment which had the nice touch of making Piper methysticum the final plant on the examination. The loss of writing space, however, proved  problematic.


This spring rain bands forced the final to focus on plants alongside the buildings and covered walkways. The final ended at the dining hall. The dining hall staff permitted the students to rewrite in the dining hall. The end location was a good choice, how to end other finals there or at A101 remains a challenge to be solved. Perhaps the final should meet in the west and walk to the east.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Box and whisker plots in Google Sheets

Setting up a boxplot chart in Google Sheets with multiple boxplots on a single chart

Creating histograms with Google Sheets