Students confuse molecular processes concerning synthesis of macromolecules, particularly DNA, RNA and proteins. I have the students make separate lists of terms they need to know AND clues as to how to keep them separate.The students come to the board and generate the list - they pass a marker to another student to keep adding to the list. We review as a group and determine if all the terms are lined up correctly. This semester I decided to increase the use of contrasting between the processes based on our lists. While applying one process I would ask them to think about why it is not the other processes, what clues do we see, which terms fit etc.
I assessed one simple prompt on a test which asks which process is shown in the picture. The answer is RNA synthesis or transcription. In sp 15 with an n = 39, 62% provided the correct answer while in fall 15 with an n = 54, 67% provided the correct answer. I am certain this not significant but it is nice to see a bit of an improvement. My objective, however was to determine if contrasting back and forth hindered learning, it appears it did not.
HI Bronwen, This is intersting. Even if we don't see large percentage changes, it is good to still assess what we are doing and compare results. Thanks, Olga
This is a good strategy. It is just as important to be able to look at information and determine why it ISN'T right as it is to determine why something is correct. It's a very important skill for Multiple Choice questions :)
What I like about this is that you are paralleling Bloom's Taxonomy. By adding compare/contrast to the students' tasks, you are taking them into the realm of higher order thinking skills. Well done!