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Abstract Title: Is explanation enough to assess student understanding?
Abstract: There is a strong emphasis in physics education research on the use of multiple representations to help students solve physics problems. Students who learned kinematics from the Physics Union Mathematics curriculum* answered a qualitative test question which required them to use multiple representations to explain their answer. Depending on the representation used for grading, different students showed understanding. When we looked at pairs of representations (motion diagram and graph), we found that students were often consistent but not necessarily correct. Based on the patterns in the data we argue that to fully assess student understanding we need to provide students with problems that require them to use at least three different representations to explain their answer.

*Work supported by NSF grant DRL-0733140
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Tara Bartiromo
Rutgers University
10 Seminary Place
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Phone: 908-591-5027
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
James Finley, Rutgers University; Eugenia Etkina, Rutgers University