A web repository of research literature assessment questions to promote student learning and acquisition of scientific reasoning and inquiry skills necessary for both the MCAT2015 and ASBMB certification

Henry V. Jakubowski, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University


An increasing emphasis is being placed on scientific inquiry and reasoning skills in both the new MCAT2015 and in new student learning goals and objectives developed by the ASBMB for student certification. This comes as both organizations are moving from recommending required courses to recommending acquisition of competencies and skills by students. For the new MCAT2015, students must have a diverse knowledge of concepts/ideas from the biological/ physical sciences and apply this knowledge to problem solving, assessing experimental design/methodology, and using data and statistical reasoning. An optimal approach to prepare students for this new emphasis is to have them analyze data and draw conclusions from research papers. These changes will require faculty to use more research-literature based question to assess the students' acquisition of these higher level Bloom's learning skills. To facilitate this change, I have developed a model for the creation of a web-based collection of assessment questions derived from the research literature. Model assessment questions were created using data, figures and tables derived from The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Questions are targeted to assess the broadly overlapping learning goals recently articulated by the ASBMB for programs accredited in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the learning competencies developed by the Association of American Medical Colleges for the new MCAT2015. Faculty would use, contribute to and help peer-review the proposed collection. Students would use it to gain skills in understanding and evaluating research design and findings.