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Student effort expectations and their learning in first-year introductory physics: A case study in Thailand
written by Umporn Wutchana and Narumon Emarat
The Maryland Physics Expectations (MPEX) survey was designed to probe students' expectations about their understanding of the process of learning physics and the structure of physics knowledge--cognitive expectations. This survey was administered to first-year university students in Thailand in the first semester of an introductory calculus-based physics course during academic years 2007 and 2008, to assess their expectations at the beginning of the course. The precourse MPEX results were compared and correlated with two separate measures of student learning: (1) individual students' normalized gains from pre and post Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation (FMCE) results, which measure students' conceptual understanding, and (2) student's scores on the final exam, which measure their more general problem-solving ability. The results showed a significant positive correlation between their overall MPEX score and five of the six MPEX cluster scores, with their normalized learning gains on the FMCE for both academic years. The results also showed significant positive correlations between student MPEX scores and their final exam scores for the overall MPEX score and all MPEX cluster scores except for the effort cluster. We interviewed two groups of five students each, one group with small favorable scores on the precourse MPEX effort cluster and one with high favorable scores on the precourse MPEX effort cluster, to see how the students' learning efforts compared with their MPEX results. We concluded from the interviews that what the students think or expect about the MPEX effort involved in learning physics does not match what they actually do.
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research: Volume 7, Issue 1, Pages 010111
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