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PERC 2010 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Who becomes a physics major? The role of students' beliefs about physics and learning physics
Abstract: Efforts to address the "hidden curriculum" within introductory physics courses aim – in part – to move students towards more expert-like beliefs about physics and learning physics. In this poster, we examine the correlation between students' beliefs upon entering college and their likelihood to continue on to become a physics major. Since 2004, we have collected CLASS survey and self-reported level-of-interest responses from students in the first-term, introductory calculus-based physics course (N>2500). Here, we conduct a retrospective analysis of students' incoming CLASS scores and level of interest, comparing those students who go on to become physics majors with those who do not. We find the incoming CLASS scores and reported interest of these future physics majors to be significantly higher than the class average, indicating that these students enter their first college course already having quite expert-like beliefs. The comparative differences are much smaller for grades, SAT score, and university predicted-GPA.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Katherine Perkins
University of Colorado
UCB 390
Boulder, CO 80309
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Mindy Gratny, University of Colorado