Change the structure of BIOL 180 exams and lectures

Change the structure of BIOL 180 exams and lectures

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Petition to
BIOL 180 students

Why this petition matters

Started by Cloris Zhang

So far there are many voices about BIOL180, especially after exam 2. This petition is to count how many of us think there are some big issues regarding the course. I am listing some problems I noticed but feel free to mention other problems you want to talk. If there are, indeed, many people that are not satisfied with the structure, we can report to bio department and probably change the format or curve of the course.



Please SIGN if you feel there are problems with the course IN ANY ASPECT and DO NOT SIGN if you are not enrolled in BIOL180 2021 Autumn.



Exam 2 contains 5 pages of questions and the answer key is 25 pages. Although answer key has about 3 answer examples for each question, it's still an unreasonable amount for reading and writing, especially for non-native  English speakers. (Actually, the reading and writing amount is far more than SAT essay.) I notice that many of my classmates, including my group, are running out of time not because they get stuck in which question but they could not finish reading. This exam should be testing on our ability to use the knowledge we learned instead of our reading ability.

Lecture and Reading Questions

We do pre-lecture reading questions everyday, which is okay. However, the pre-reading quiz is counted towards GPA, not based on effort as most UW classes, which means that we should learn the content on our own before lecture and then go to lecture the next day to listen to the professor teaching the same knowledge. It’s such a waste of time. The structure should be improved.

Score Releasing Date

Exam 2 scores are released on Nov.8; the last date for changing a grade into S/NS option is Nov.16. There is only one week gap and this is not enough for other issues that may change student’s decision ( e.g, regrading or petition like this. Exam 1 regarding takes 2 more weeks.) Whether S/NS or keeping a gpa is essential to most students and they should get a reasonable estimate gpa before the deadline. Besides, registration has already begun so S/NS or not is so important as BIOL 180 is a prerequisite for many courses and majors. Since we took the exam two weeks ago, there should be more time left for us to make the decisions.


The grading on free response question are blur. My group members discussed and wrote the answer we all agreed but received completely different scores. The policy that we can only regrade one question is also strange: what if there are indeed many questions that are graded mistakenly?

Science Should Not Be Competitive

This is what Dr. Theobald said during the first class to illustrate that we don’t have a fixed curve or average gpa. This does not mean that the competition of the exam should be changed to the ability to read. Giving many easy problems and seldom people could finish it on time is worse than giving hard problems that need to be carefully thought.


There are many ways to solve the problem, for example, change the exam format to multiple choice to avoid grading problems; give an opportunity to drop the lowest exam; change the pre-lecture reading question to effort-base, etc. We can discuss these later and what we should do now, I think, is to count how many students are not satisfied with the course. The bio department faculty are able to help us if the problems are serious. So PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION if you think the course should be changed. THANKS!

73 have signed. Let’s get to 100!