[FUN_Mail] Major field test (for Neuroscience)

Keller, Lani C. Prof. via FUN_Mail fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org
Mon Oct 13 12:29:06 EDT 2014

I just wanted to bring to people's attention that a similar competency
test has been developed for genetics and used successfully. It may be
worth checking this out as you think about developing one for
neuroscience. I have included two links to publications that discuss the
development of such an exam along with using the exam in classrooms.

Here is the abstract for development of the
Here is an updated paper describing the use of the test:


Lani C. Keller
Assistant Professor
Quinnipiac University
Department of Biological Sciences
Buckman Center: BC123A
275 Mount Carmel Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518
Office: 203.582.8994

On 10/13/14 12:13 PM, "William Grisham via FUN_Mail"
<fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org> wrote:

>Dear Divya,
>I am fairly confident that no such standardized instrument exists for
>testing students' knowledge of neuroscience. While I was at NSF, I talked
>to some PIs about creating one, but they ultimately backed off of the
>That being said, if one would team-up with someone really skilled in test
>construction, they might be able to get a grant from NSF's Division of
>Undergraduate Education IUSE program to develop such an instrument.
>just testing knowledge, I think that such an instrument should also tap
>critical thinking skills that we are hopefully instilling in our students.
>The need to evaluate the efficacy of neuroscience courses as well as
>programs is clear, particularly as these programs are growing and serving
>ever larger segments of the STEM students/community. Thus the need to
>develop an appropriate testing instrument is clear.
>William (Bill) Grisham, Ph.D.
>Adjunct Professor
>Department of Psychology, UCLA
>1285 Franz Hall
>PO Box 951563
>Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563
>(310) 825-7990
>Dr.billgrisham at gmail.com
>On Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 5:28 PM, Divya Sitaraman via FUN_Mail <
>fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org> wrote:
>> Dear FUN folks,
>> I am an Asst Professor in Behavioral Neuroscience at University of San
>> Diego and am truly excited to be a part of the FUN community. The
>> Behavioral Neuroscience major was started in our school in 2012 and in
>> order to gauge how we are doing we would like to conduct a Major Field
>> (or something like it) for our graduating seniors in Spring 2014.
>> It will be anonymous and the idea is to present students with
>> questions and test their understanding of the field. We have been
>> around for something standardized but haven't been able to find
>> concrete yet.
>> I was interested in hearing your experiences regarding 2 major issues
>> we have been talking about:
>> a) How to test students knowledge of Neuroscience?
>> b) Are there any tests out there that will meet this purpose?
>> Thanks and I look forward to your responses,
>> Divya Sitaraman
>> Assistant Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience
>> University of San Diego
>> Visiting Scientist
>> Janelia Research Campus at HHMI
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