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Relationship of Scientific Reasoning to Solving Different Physics Problem Types Documents

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Relationship of Scientific Reasoning to Solving Different Physics Problem Types 

written by Carol Fabby and Kathleen M. Koenig

In recent years researchers have compared scientific reasoning abilities of students in introductory physics courses with gains in conceptual learning. This research suggests students with more formal reasoning patterns are more proficient learners. However, little has been done to investigate how scientific reasoning abilities relate to ability to solve problems based on the application of simple algorithms and those which depend on conceptual understanding. In this pilot study we compare student scientific reasoning abilities, as measured by Lawson's Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning, to student ability to correctly solve both problem types on a final examination. Results indicate that students with higher reasoning abilities perform equally well on both problem types while students of average and lower reasoning abilities struggle in solving problems that depend on conceptual understanding. This suggests that students with average and lower reasoning abilities may depend more readily on memorization of simple procedures to solve problems.

Published February 1, 2014
Last Modified January 31, 2014

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