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written by Jason E. Dowd
We present insights into three unique, important avenues of assessment in the physics classroom and laboratory.

First, we examine students' performance on conceptual surveys. The goal is to better utilize the information collected when instructors administer the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) to students as a pre-test and post-test of their conceptual understanding of Newtonian mechanics. We find ambiguities in the use of the normalized gain, g, may influence comparisons among individual classes. Therefore, we propose using stratagrams, graphical summaries of the fraction of students who exhibit "Newtonian thinking," as a clearer, more informative method of assessing a single class and comparing performance among classes.

Next, we examine students' expressions of confusion when they initially encounter new material. The goal is to better understand what such confusion conveys to instructors about students' performance and engagement. We investigate the relationship between students' self-assessment of their confusion and their performance, confidence in reasoning, pre-course self-efficacy and several other measurable characteristics of engagement. We find that students' expressions of confusion are negatively related to initial performance, confidence and self-efficacy, but positively related to final performance when all factors are considered together.

Finally, we examine students' scientific reasoning abilities in the laboratory by exploring two inquiry-based curricula, each of which proposes a different degree of scaffolding. We find that students who participate in the less scaffolded laboratory activity sequences exhibit marginally stronger scientific reasoning abilities in distinct exercises throughout the semester, but exhibit no differences in the final, common exercises. Overall, we find that, although students demonstrate some enhanced scientific reasoning skills, they fail to exhibit or retain even some of the most strongly emphasized skills.
University: Harvard University
Academic Department:  Physics
Pages 258
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Applied Research
- Curriculum Development
= Laboratory
Education - Basic Research
- Assessment
= Conceptual Assessment
= Instruments
= Methods
- Communication
- Problem Solving
= Metacognition
General Physics
- Scientific Reasoning
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Thesis/Dissertation
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© 2012 Jason Edward Dowd
Type:
Ph.D.
NSF Number:
0942044
Keywords:
FCI, conceptual surveys, reasoning confidence, scientific reasoning, self-assessment, self-efficacy
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created August 10, 2012 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
August 12, 2013 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
May 3, 2012
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Record Link
AIP Format
J. Dowd, Ph.D., Harvard University, 2012, WWW Document, (http://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/9282889).
AJP/PRST-PER
J. Dowd, Interpreting Assessments of Student Learning in the Introductory Physics Classroom and Laboratory, Ph.D., Harvard University, 2012, <http://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/9282889>.
APA Format
Dowd, J. (2012, May 3). Interpreting Assessments of Student Learning in the Introductory Physics Classroom and Laboratory (Ph.D., Harvard University, 2012). Retrieved October 23, 2014, from http://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/9282889
Chicago Format
Dowd, Jason. "Interpreting Assessments of Student Learning in the Introductory Physics Classroom and Laboratory." Ph.D., Harvard University, 2012. http://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/9282889 (accessed 23 October 2014).
MLA Format
Dowd, Jason. "Interpreting Assessments of Student Learning in the Introductory Physics Classroom and Laboratory." Ph.D.. 3 May 2012. Harvard University, 2012. 23 Oct. 2014 <http://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/9282889>.
BibTeX Export Format
@phdthesis{ Author = "Jason Dowd", Title = {Interpreting Assessments of Student Learning in the Introductory Physics Classroom and Laboratory}, School = {Harvard University}, Type = {Ph.D.}, Month = {May}, Year = {2012} }
Refer Export Format

%A Jason Dowd
%T Interpreting Assessments of Student Learning in the Introductory Physics Classroom and Laboratory
%R Ph.D.
%D May 3, 2012
%P 258
%I Harvard University
%U http://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/9282889
%O Physics
%O application/pdf
%O Ph.D.

EndNote Export Format

%0 Thesis
%A Dowd, Jason
%D May 3, 2012
%T Interpreting Assessments of Student Learning in the Introductory Physics Classroom and Laboratory
%B Physics
%I Harvard University
%P 258
%8 May 3, 2012
%9 Ph.D.
%U http://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/9282889


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