BI 222
Sample Assessments



1. Questions are answered directly, without extraneous information

2. Organization of responses is clear and functional



3. Descriptions of major relationships are present and applicable

4. Relationships are stated explicitly explained clearly


Problem Solving:

5. Responses reflect an application of basic scientific concepts and vocabulary

6. Responses have sufficient specific information and detail to answer questions adequately.


Assessment 1

  1. Which evolved first, plants or animals? Explain your reasoning.

  3. Scientists are now wondering whether the frozen ocean on Europa (a moon of Jupiter) contains life. Imagine that they found a living organism. Explain how you could tell whether it was an animal.

  5. All living organisms have to do certain things to stay alive. When one-celled organisms evolved into multicellular animals, they had to change their method of doing some of these things. Describe one of these life support functions and how it is different in animals and one-celled organisms.

  7. You are hired to design a new home for an exotic fish. You are not sure whether the natural habitat of this fish is a sandy area or a rocky one. Design a simple experiment to test the animalís "habitat preference".

  9. Why is it impossible to test scientifically whether non-human animals have emotions?

  11. Pick any animal and describe its niche.


Assessment 2


  1. Choose any phylum and compare a parasite from that phylum with a free-living animal from that phylum. Describe how differences between the two species are related to the two different feeding strategies.

  3. There are over one million Arthropods already classified and there may be millions more that have not yet been discovered. Describe the traits that have made Arthropods so successful.

  5. Some Cnidarians have life cycles that include two distinctly different life forms in the same species.
    1. Compare and contrast this phenomenon with metamorphosis in some insects. (How are the two phenomena alike and different from each other.
    2. Explain how these traits are beneficial to the organisms.


  6. What are the major ecological reasons for the anatomy of a clam being different from the anatomy of the squid? Explain how the niche of each is related to the physical structure of each.

  8. Once all worms were put in the same taxonomic group. Explain why flatworms, nematodes, and annelids should actually be put in separate phyla.

  10. Pick any phylum that we have studied. What would happen to humans if that phylum of invertebrates were to suddenly disappear from the earth?


Assessment 3


  1. In what ways are reptiles better adapted than amphibians for a terrestrial lifestyle? Donít just list structures, explain their significance.

  3. Why are echinoderms considered closer to vertebrates than to insects?

  5. Describe the importance of fish shape.

  7. Some of the animals weíve looked at can reproduce sexually. Some can reproduce asexually. Some can do both. What are the advantages and disadvantages to each strategy.

  9. Explain how gas exchange (respiration) in fish differs from gas exchange (respiration) in amphibians.

  11. Why is a "starfish" not a fish?


Final Assessment


  1. In what ways do most bird skeletons differ from most mammal skeletons? Donít just list structures, explain their significance.

  3. Your book argues that reptiles and birds belong in the same taxonomic group. Do you agree or disagree. Use evidence to support your position.

  5. Pick two of the animals you saw in the dissection demo and tell how one particular organ system (digestion, respiration, etc.) was different between the two animals.

  7. All birds lay eggs, most mammals have live young. Chose one of these modes of reproduction and explain why it is best for the animals that use it.

  9. You find a skull on the ground. It has small incisor teeth, large canine teeth, and the few molars and premolars are all pointy.
    1. What (in general) did this animal eat?

    3. To what order did it belong?


  10. You see a flying animal. How can you determine whether it is a bat or a bird?


Last update: 4/18/02 by Rebecca Burton, Dept. of Biology, Alverno College