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American Journal of Physics
written by Ngoc-Loan Nguyen and David E. Meltzer
We report the results of an investigation into physics students' understanding of vector addition, magnitude, and direction for problems presented in graphical form. A seven-item quiz, including free-response problems, was administered in all introductory general physics courses during the 2000/2001 academic year at Iowa State. Responses were obtained from 2031 students during the first week of class. We found that more than one quarter of students beginning their second semester of study in the calculus-based physics course, and more than half of those beginning the second semester of the algebra-based sequence, were unable to carry out two-dimensional vector addition. Although the total scores on the seven-item quiz were somewhat better for students in their second semester of physics in comparison to students in their first semester, many students retained significant conceptual difficulties regarding vector methods that are heavily employed throughout the physics curriculum.
American Journal of Physics: Volume 71, Issue 6, Pages 630-638
Subjects ADS Supplements Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Assessment
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
- Reference Material
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© 2003 American Journal of Physics
Additional information is available.
DOI:
10.1119/1.1571831
Keywords:
calculus, physics, teaching, vectors
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created July 13, 2005 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
September 27, 2007 by Rebecca Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
June 1, 2003
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Record Link
AIP Format
N. Nguyen and D. Meltzer, Am. J. Phys. 71 (6), 630 (2003), WWW Document, (http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1571831).
AJP/PRST-PER
N. Nguyen and D. Meltzer, Initial understanding of vector concepts among students in introductory physics courses, Am. J. Phys. 71 (6), 630 (2003), <http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1571831>.
APA Format
Nguyen, N., & Meltzer, D. (2003, June 1). Initial understanding of vector concepts among students in introductory physics courses. Am. J. Phys., 71(6), 630-638. Retrieved October 31, 2014, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1571831
Chicago Format
Nguyen, Ngoc-Loan, and David Meltzer. "Initial understanding of vector concepts among students in introductory physics courses." Am. J. Phys. 71, no. 6, (June 1, 2003): 630-638, http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1571831 (accessed 31 October 2014).
MLA Format
Nguyen, Ngoc-Loan, and David Meltzer. "Initial understanding of vector concepts among students in introductory physics courses." Am. J. Phys. 71.6 (2003): 630-638. 31 Oct. 2014 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1571831>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Ngoc-Loan Nguyen and David Meltzer", Title = {Initial understanding of vector concepts among students in introductory physics courses}, Journal = {Am. J. Phys.}, Volume = {71}, Number = {6}, Pages = {630-638}, Month = {June}, Year = {2003} }
Refer Export Format

%A Ngoc-Loan Nguyen
%A David Meltzer
%T Initial understanding of vector concepts among students in introductory physics courses
%J Am. J. Phys.
%V 71
%N 6
%D June 1, 2003
%P 630-638
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1571831
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article
%A Nguyen, Ngoc-Loan
%A Meltzer, David
%D June 1, 2003
%T Initial understanding of vector concepts among students in introductory physics courses
%J Am. J. Phys.
%V 71
%N 6
%P 630-638
%8 June 1, 2003
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1571831


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