Laboratory Assignments

Complete "lab reports" are a common form of assessment for lab courses. Such assignments require a student to attend to all facets of a lab report. At times, focusing students' attention on specific component skills may best facilitate learning. The list below includes variations on the traditional lab report: tasks designed to focus students' attention on specific mental processes involved in laboratory work, such as planning the procedure, understanding the procedure, making plausible hypotheses by means of analysis, recording observations in useful formats, and convincing audiences that the work is worthwhile and/or the results are sufficiently accurate and important.

Two common formats for laboratory assignments are individual assignments and team assignments.

Ideas for Learning Tasks (i.e., Assignments) that Support Assessment

  • Write a complete technical or scientific report,
  • Write only specific sections of a technical report, such as only the abstract or only the literature review
  • Write a plan for materials & methods
  • Persuade an audience that the procedure is appropriate for the purpose, possibly orally
  • Conduct analysis to predict the outcome of the experiment (submit before experimentation)
  • Submit annotated lab notes or field notes
  • Write a research proposal (and submit before beginning experimentation)

Making Scoring/Grading Useful for Assessment