Sample Syllabi & Exams; AP Biology Concordance; ELSI Discussions
Here are some sample syllabi and exams that we have created as examples and/or used in our classes.
- Sample syllabus for first half of year-long introductory biology semester focusing on molecules, cells, and organisms.
- Sample syllabi for second half of year-long introductory biology semester focusing on organisms, populations, and ecological systems.
We have developed a couple different ways to discuss the ELSI (ethical, legal, social implications) readings. We set aside one day to discuss the ELSI readings from 3-4 chapters combined. Teachers can use these PPT files as guides on how to engage students in ELSI discussions.
AP Biology Concordance (download Excel File)
The ICB approach to assessment
Rather than just asking students to provide answers to questions, we want them to support their answers with data. They are asked to provide evidence in the form of data to answer a question and then to justify the choice of that figure/table/image. Therefore, we provide figures from the text but more figures than they will need for any given test. The figures, tables and images are placed in a “data gallery.” Some questions will ask about a particular piece of data, in which case the image is placed below the question, outside the data gallery. To assess their core competencies in data interpretation, we sometimes use figures they’ve never seen before and ask questions based on the new data.
We provide teachers with sample exams that can be used as a guide to building your own assessment or you may use these as a test bank. You may need to rearrange images and questions depending upon the order of presentation in your course and some questions may not apply if you don’t cover particular sections in the text. You could convert these questions to multiple choice format by breaking a question into subparts, with each subpart a new multiple choice question. The data gallery could be used as the basis for the multiple choices, or you could construct your text choices, which could include a list of possible justifications based on the correct data.
Some sample questions have figure numbers and partial legends to put the figure into context for the student. You can use those or edit them out.
We give take home exams, so these samples are longer than exams given in class. As such, you are encouraged to consider our sample exams a test bank from which you can choose a subset of questions. You can reduce the size of the data galleries or keep them the same length. In addition, you can ask the Integrating Question and the Review Questions from the chapters, which we sometimes do, often in slightly modified form to suit our goal for a particular question.
The Data Galleries do not contain every figure from the text, but should contain at least the ones necessary to answer the questions. You can add more, of course, or eliminate ones as you construct your own assessments. All of these questions and images could be imported into an automated grading platform to expedite your assessment.
Sample Exams and Answer Keys
Chapters 1 - 15
- Sample exam #1, test bank, and data galleries for Unit 1, Chapters 1-3: Information in Molecules and Cells
- Key to Chapters 1-3 sample exam #1
- Sample exam #2, test bank, and data galleries for Unit 2, Chapters 4-6: Evolution in Molecules and Cells and Unit 3, Chapter 7 (Molecular Structure and Function)
- Sample exam #3, test bank, and data galleries for Unit 3, Chapters 8-9: Cells in Molecules and Cells and Unit 4, Chapters 10-11: Homeostasis in Molecules and Cells
- Key to Chapters 8-11 sample exam #3
- Sample exam #4, test bank, and data galleries for Unit 4, Chapter 12: Homeostasis in Molecules and Cells and Unit 5, Chapters 13-15: Emergent Properties in Molecules and Cells
- Key to Chapters 12 - 15 sample exam #4
Chapters 16 - 30
- Sample exam, test bank, and data galleries for Unit 6, Chapters 16-18: Information in Populations and Ecological Systems
- Key to Chapters 16-18 sample exam
- Sample exam, test bank, and data galleries for Unit 7, Chapters 19-21: Evolution in Populations and Ecological Systems
- Key to Chapters 19-21 sample exam
- Sample exam, test bank, and data galleries for Unit 8, Chapters 22-24: Cells in Populations and Ecological Systems
- Key to Chapters 22-24 sample exam
- Sample exam, test bank, and data galleries for Unit 9, Chapters 25-27: Emergent Properties in Populations and Ecological Systems
- Key to Chapters 25-27 sample exam
- Sample exam, test bank, and data galleries for Unit 10, Chapters 28-30: Homeostasis in Populations and Ecological Systems
- Key to Chapters 28-30 sample exam