Senior Bio test lacks value

Madelyn Yale feels the required Biology final does not test students’ skills.

Madelyn Yale|Marlin Chronicle

It’s that time of year again—students cram in hours of last minute studying and wind up getting brain numb in attempts to memorize as much information as possible.

Studying every waking second becomes the normal routine for the next few days hoping to get the ideal grade. 

End-of-the-year testing, or in other words, standardized testing, has been a point of controversy for quite some time. 

Through the years, students and staff have found themselves questioning the importance of benchmark testing and its significance for not only student progress, but also as an assessment for quality assurance.

Virginia Wesleyan University’s Biology department requires its graduating Biology students to take a two-hour long exam requiring students to answer questions to the best of their ability. 

The hope with giving the test is to quantify data amongst the different subtopics within the field of Biology in order to get a better understanding of which sub-departments need more support in teaching students. 

These efforts may have been innocent initially and geared towards allocating more support in order to improve future students’ scores. However, this exam is a serious disservice to the graduating classes who receive no benefits from this current testing method. 

In my opinion, it would be more beneficial to replace the senior lecture-based test with a laboratory skill test. 

Amongst the array of available 200-400 level classes required for Biology majors to complete, a majority of them demand an enrollment for a laboratory session in addition to the lecture times. 

This section of laboratory time is an allotted time within the semester for students to learn and practice technical and psychomotor skills under the guidance of the professor.

With that being said, these valuable skills, necessary for future employment, are not made a priority at VWU and instead act as an accessory to the course. 

Students interested in pursuing a Biology career need to be able to demonstrate their strong laboratory skills, making it just as important as proving that they have listened during lecture periods via standardized testing. 

Laboratory positions typically require applicants to submit a curriculum vitae (CV) which normally provides a detailed overview of the applicants academic research and professional experiences. 

Converting to a hands-on lab assessment would provide an opportunity for credible advisors, such as VWU science professors, to speak on the students’ strengths within the laboratory setting.

This would provide not only feedback, but support when finding employment positions that best fit the students strengths. 

All in all, there is untapped potential in hands-on laboratory testing that could not only benefit the staff for quality assurance, but better prepare graduating Biology students for their careers in the field.

Madelyn Yale is a senior majoring in Biology. She enjoys going to the beach and spending her free time with friends. Madelyn can be reached at mgyale@vwu.

By Madelyn Yale