Participants in each of the lab skills breakout groups were asked about how laboratory skills could be assessed in either a hands-on or virtual experience.  A compilation of the activities that could be assessed in labs is below.  The lists are not comprehensive and reflect the focus of the discussions during the meeting.

Examples of activities that can be assessed in each skill/science practice category:

Planning & Delivering Investigations

  • Describing lab set-up
  • Making predictions
  • Making choices regarding next steps
  • Writing experimental procedures
  • Collecting data from videos or simulations
  • Identifying mistakes and errors (e.g. using a "blooper reel")
  • Considering the impact of changes in the procedures

Analyzing & Interpreting Data

  • Processing raw data
  • Describing data analysis
  • Presenting results (graphs, spectra, etc.)
  • Intepreting results
  • Identifying sources of error
  • Writing results section of lab report

Designing Solutions

  • Comparing different sets of results
  • Preparing conclusions section of lab report
  • Preparing future work section of lab report

Obtaining, Evaluating, & Communicating Information

  • Using digital lab notebooks
  • Preparing summary sheets
  • Preparing lab reports
  • Giving oral presentations

Examples of assessment methods:

  • Prelab assignments
  • Documentation (e.g. lab notebooks)
  • Post lab assignments
    • Questions
    • Lab reports
    • Presentations
  • Virtual lab practicals using
    • Images
    • Videos
    • Simulations
  • Oral Exams

Who can help?

When appropriate, Teaching Assistants (TAs) or Learning Assistants (LAs) can provide formative and summative assessments. Group work may also be used to help streamline assessment.

Disclaimer: This event was designed to explore key questions regarding laboratory experiences and curricula. The opinions or views expressed in these discussions do not necessarily reflect the current statements and guidelines of the American Chemical Society, the views or opinions of ACS’s management or its members, or plans for renewed or revised policies. Chemistry departments seeking ACS Approval must continue to follow the ACS Guidelines for Bachelor’s Degree Programs as stipulated by the Committee on Professional Training, including those for laboratory instruction once their campuses resume face-to-face instruction without social distancing.