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PERC 2009 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Categorization of Problems to Assess and Improve Student Proficiency as Teacher and Learner
Abstract: The ability to categorize problems is a measure of expertise in a domain. In order to help students learn effectively, instructors and teaching assistants (TAs) should have pedagogical content knowledge. They must be aware of the prior knowledge of students, consider the difficulty of the problems from students' perspective and design instruction that builds on what students already know. In this targeted poster, we discuss the response of graduate students enrolled in a TA training course to categorization tasks in which they were asked to group problems first from their own perspective, and later from the perspective of introductory physics students.  A majority of the graduate students performed an expert-like categorization of physics problems. However, when asked to categorize from the perspective of introductory students', most students expressed dismay, claiming that either the task was either impossible or pointless. We will discuss how categorization can be a useful tool for scaffolding and improving pedagogical content knowledge of instructors.
Abstract Type: Targeted Poster
Targeted Session: Negotiating Meaning: The Role of Assessment Rubrics and Diagnostic Guidelines

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Chandralekha Singh
University of Pittsburgh