Texas A&M University - Department of Biology - Herbarium
Field Systematic Botany

Testing - Spring 1996

Examination I All material covered through 6 February 100
Examination II All material covered through 26 March 100
Final All material covered through 25 April100
Key/Sight Identification Quizes 150
Plant Collection150

Hour examinations will involve standard exam questions (essay, short answer, multiple choice, etc.) AND questions of a "laboratory practical" nature that require responses relating to specimens, structures, and other materials used in lab analysis and demonstration. All examinations are comprehensive in coverage. They may include key quizes and sight identification.

Key quizes involve the identification of an unknown plant through the use of a botanical key (usually Monique Reed's Key to the Angiosperm Flora of Brazos and Surrounding Counties in combination with Correll and Johnston's Manual for the Vascular Plants of Texas). Most will be administered in the field after spring break (week of 11 March). Grading is based on the number of couplets completed correctly.

Sight identification involves the identification of an unknown plant without the use of a botanical key. You will be responsible for all material dissected in the laboratory, those herbarium specimens that are designated for sight identification responsibility, and common species of the local spring flora. Names to be provided are those associated with the ranks of Class, subclass, Family, Genus, and, in some cases, Species.

We try keeping the testing process flexible and relatively simple to insure that it does not impact our progress through through the material. Time invested in testing can diminish through the semester if initial results clearly indicate that the class is fully 'engaged'. Also, to enhance the link between learning and testing, tests are typically constructed to query for 'bits' of information - key characters, term definiations - that are required to 'sort' through complex patterns of variation, either as a mental process or through the use of a taxonomic key. Thus, a multiple choice/short answer format, similar that that used in Botany 201, is often employed. The following exemplars (from Botany 201, Spring 1995) provide good review:

Last updated: 15 November1995