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Longer term impacts of transformed courses on student conceptual understanding of E&M Documents

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Longer term impacts of transformed courses on student conceptual understanding of E&M 

written by Steven J. Pollock and Stephanie V. Chasteen

We have measured upper-division physics majors' performance using two research-based conceptual instruments in E&M, the BEMA and the CUE (Colorado Upper Division Electrostatics assessment.) The BEMA has been given pre/post in freshman E&M (Physics II) courses, and the BEMA and CUE have been given pre/post in several upper-division E&M courses. Some of these data extend over 10 semesters. We used PER-based techniques to transform the introductory and upper-division courses starting in Fall 2004 and 2007, respectively. Our longitudinal data allow us to measure "fade" on BEMA performance between freshman and junior year. We investigate the effects of curricula on students by comparing juniors who were enrolled in traditional vs. transformed physics as freshmen, as well as those who were enrolled in traditional or transformed upper-division E&M I, using both BEMA and CUE measures. We find that while freshman reforms significantly impact BEMA scores, junior-level reforms affect CUE but not BEMA outcomes.

Published November 11, 2009
Last Modified October 11, 2009

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