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American Journal of Physics
written by David E. Meltzer
There have been many investigations into the factors that underlie variations in individual student performance in college physics courses. Numerous studies report a positive correlation between students' mathematical skills and their exam grades in college physics. However, few studies have examined students' learning gain resulting from physics instruction, particularly with regard to qualitative, conceptual understanding. We report on the results of our investigation into some of the factors, including mathematical skill, that might be associated with variations in students' ability to achieve conceptual learning gains in a physics course that employs interactive-engagement methods. It was found that students' normalized learning gains are not significantly correlated with their pretest scores on a physics concept test. In contrast, in three of the four sample populations studied it was found that there is a significant correlation between normalized learning gain and students' preinstruction mathematics skill. In two of the samples, both males and females independently exhibited the correlation between learning gain and mathematics skill. These results suggest that students' initial level of physics concept knowledge might be largely unrelated to their ability to make learning gains in an interactive-engagement course; students' preinstruction algebra skills might be associated with their facility at acquiring physics conceptual knowledge in such a course; and between-class differences in normalized learning gain may reflect not only differences in instructional method, but student population differences ("hidden variables") as well.
American Journal of Physics: Volume 70, Issue 12, Pages 1259-1268
Subjects ADS Supplements Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Assessment
- Student Characteristics
= Ability
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
- Reference Material
= Research study
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Researchers
- Educators
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© 2002 American Journal of Physics
Additional information is available.
Accession Number:
7462639
DOI:
10.1119/1.1514215
Keywords:
educational courses, mathematics, physics, teaching
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created July 13, 2005 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
September 27, 2007 by Rebecca Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
December 1, 2002
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Record Link
AIP Format
D. Meltzer, Am. J. Phys. 70 (12), 1259 (2002), WWW Document, (http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1514215).
AJP/PRST-PER
D. Meltzer, The relationship between mathematics preparation and conceptual learning gains in physics: A possible "hidden variable" in diagnostic pretest scores, Am. J. Phys. 70 (12), 1259 (2002), <http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1514215>.
APA Format
Meltzer, D. (2002, December 1). The relationship between mathematics preparation and conceptual learning gains in physics: A possible "hidden variable" in diagnostic pretest scores. Am. J. Phys., 70(12), 1259-1268. Retrieved November 24, 2014, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1514215
Chicago Format
Meltzer, David. "The relationship between mathematics preparation and conceptual learning gains in physics: A possible "hidden variable" in diagnostic pretest scores." Am. J. Phys. 70, no. 12, (December 1, 2002): 1259-1268, http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1514215 (accessed 24 November 2014).
MLA Format
Meltzer, David. "The relationship between mathematics preparation and conceptual learning gains in physics: A possible "hidden variable" in diagnostic pretest scores." Am. J. Phys. 70.12 (2002): 1259-1268. 24 Nov. 2014 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1514215>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "David Meltzer", Title = {The relationship between mathematics preparation and conceptual learning gains in physics: A possible "hidden variable" in diagnostic pretest scores}, Journal = {Am. J. Phys.}, Volume = {70}, Number = {12}, Pages = {1259-1268}, Month = {December}, Year = {2002} }
Refer Export Format

%A David Meltzer
%T The relationship between mathematics preparation and conceptual learning gains in physics: A possible "hidden variable" in diagnostic pretest scores
%J Am. J. Phys.
%V 70
%N 12
%D December 1, 2002
%P 1259-1268
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1514215
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article
%A Meltzer, David
%D December 1, 2002
%T The relationship between mathematics preparation and conceptual learning gains in physics: A possible "hidden variable" in diagnostic pretest scores
%J Am. J. Phys.
%V 70
%N 12
%P 1259-1268
%8 December 1, 2002
%M 7462639
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1514215


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