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PERC 2010 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Investigating the perceived difficulty of introductory physics problems
Abstract: We present two studies investigating factors that correlate with students' and instructors' perceptions of problem difficulty. In the first study, introductory physics students and instructors were asked to rate the difficulty of textbook-style work-energy problems. These difficulty ratings are compared and we look for correlations between the difficulty ratings and a measure of problem complexity. We find differences between students' and instructors' ratings and a correlation between instructors' ratings and problem complexity but no significant correlation between students' ratings and problem complexity. In the second study, we asked introductory physics students and instructors to rate the difficulty of textbook-style kinematics problems. Additionally, we asked students to provide ratings of their familiarity with these problems and complete solutions. We explore the relationship between difficulty ratings, problem complexity, problem familiarity, and the rate at which students solve the problems correctly. Supported in part by US National Science Foundation Grant #0816207.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Elizabeth Gire
Kansas State University
116 Cardwell Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506
Phone: 785-532-1824
and Co-Presenter(s)
N. Sanjay Rebello, Kansas State University