A Professional Development Activity to Help Teaching Assistants Work as a Team to Assess Lab Reports in a General Chemistry Course

Shirly Avargil, Mitchell R.M. Bruce, Susan A. Klemmer, Alice E. Bruce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Graduate student teaching assistants (TAs) are often responsible for assessing student work, such as laboratory reports, and it is important that the same student effort be assessed similarly across TAs. Prior exercises with TAs showed a wide range of scoring among a team of TAs assessing the same lab report. A three-hour Professional Development (PD) activity spread over three weeks was conducted with TAs in a general chemistry course to gain skill in the assessment of lab reports within the context of working as a group. In week 1, TAs individually assessed an identical, redacted lab report. In week 2, TAs discussed their scoring of the first lab report, and then assessed and discussed selected portions of additional lab reports. During week 3, TAs assessed another redacted lab report. Results show a modest narrowing in TAs’ scoring from week 1 to week 3, which suggests this activity could be employed as part of a strategy to develop “community” standards among TAs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-545
Number of pages10
JournalIsrael Journal of Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


We thank the lab instructors who participated in this study and have been engaged in numerous discussions about scoring of lab work. This material is also based upon work supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation under grant No. 0962805. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or the University of Maine.

FundersFunder number
National Science Foundation0962805
Directorate for Education and Human Resources
University of Maine
National Science Foundation


    • Assessment of Laboratory Reports
    • Graduate Teaching Assistants
    • Professional Development
    • Professional Learning


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