Alternative Assessment Ideas for Forensic Science: Fundamentals and Investigations

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Example 1 Capstone Activity 3 “How Reliable is the Evidence?” Students are provided with advice on how to conduct a debate, what information to research along with a debate strategy form found on the Instructor’s Resource CD (IRCD).

Example 2 Activity 9-2 "Should Medical Marijuana be Legalized?" Debate procedure and strategies are provided. An alternative debate on the topic of drugs is whether or not high school athletic teams should be given a routine drug test.


If possible, try to locate someone in forensic science or in the police department who would mentor a student. This might entail the student spending a day or more with the person to learn firsthand about what really happens on the job. Information can be displayed or presented in a variety of formats including posters, brochures, Power Point Presentations, videos, or oral presentations.

Example 1 Activity 16-4 "Vehicle Identification." Ask a student to observe how accident reconstruction is done using skid marks, vehicle identification marks to study the cause and effect of accidents.

Example 2 Activity 6-3 "Studying Latent and Plastic Fingerprints." Ask a student to observe how police or CSI are able to lift a latent print and enter the print into the computer based data base.

Example 3 Capstone Activity 8 "Mock Crime Scene Development and Processing." Students work with a crime scene investigator to help set up mock crime scenes for processing.


Example 1 Act 7-? on IRCD "Design and Build a Human DNA: Kinesthetic Learning Activity" (Lisa, what is the file number on the IRCD ?). Instead of providing students with the directions for this activity, challenge the students to construct a Human DNA simulated molecule.

Example 2 Chapter 6 Fingerprinting, End of Chapter Review # 20. Design a technique to produce plastic fingerprint impressions.

Example 3 Chapter 1 Observation, End of Chapter Review Design a crime scene including multiple forms of evidence.

Example 4 Activity 11-2 "Mini-Projects for Forensic Entomology," # 8. Design a rearing chamber for Blowflies that will be kept at a constant temperature to obtain control data for Accumulated Degree Hours calculations.

Example 5 Activity 11-3 "Observation of Living or Preserved Blowfly," Further Study #1. Design a technique to view the spiracle slits of Blowfly larvae under a stereomicroscope.


Encourage students to propose, design and create their own forms of alternative assessments. Provide students with time needed to develop their ideas before providing them with suggestions.

These are only a few examples found in Forensic Science: Fundamentals and Investigations that describe the many ways that student learning can be assessed using varying formats designed to:

  • Improve student comprehension and retention

  • Provide differential assessments for heterogeneously grouped classes

  • Encourage on-going and frequent assessments so that the teaching can be modified to enhance student performance

  • Show case those “hidden” talents of students

  • Motivate and inspire students to do better

  • Make learning fun and exciting

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