A Longitudinal Study of the Impact of Curriculum on Conceptual Understanding in E&M Documents
Steven J. Pollock
We have collected extensive data on upper-division Electricity and Magnetism (E&M) student performance at CU Boulder since we introduced the University of Washington's Tutorials in Introductory Physics in 2004 as part of our freshman curriculum. In the earliest semesters, all upper-division students had themselves taken a non-Tutorial introductory Physics, providing a baseline at this upper-division level surprisingly close to post-scores in our reformed introductory course. More recently, the population in the upper-division is mixed with respect to freshman experience, with over half having been taught with Tutorials as freshmen. We track those students and find that on average, their individual BEMA scores do not change significantly over time. However, we do find a significantly stronger performance at the upper division level for students who went through Tutorials compared to those who had other introductory experiences, and stronger scores still for students who taught in the introductory sequence as Learning Assistants, indicating a long-term positive impact of Tutorials on conceptual understanding.
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Published November 12, 2007
Last Modified December 1, 2010
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