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Abstract Title: Development of an Estimation Skills Diagnostic
Abstract: The ability to accurately estimate physical quantities is an invaluable skill for scientists and engineers. The development of estimation skills has become an explicit learning goal in the first-year physics course for engineering students at UBC. In order to establish a baseline and look for possible gains in skill level, we have developed a 10-question multiple-choice assessment designed to probe student ability and confidence in estimating physical quantities such as mass, size, and time. Student interviews were used to establish question validity and open-ended written versions were used to seed multiple-choice responses. The diagnostic was administered as a pre-test and post-test and given to a set of experts to establish its discriminatory power. The results showed a statistically significant difference between students and experts, but no overall student gains. This poster will give an analysis of the results and share some observations based on student interviews.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Andrew Macdonald
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia
6224 Agricultural Road Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
Vancouver, Phone: (604) 822-5244
and Co-Presenter(s)
Co-author: S. A. Burke
1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia
2. Department of Chemistry, University of British Columbia

Co-author: C. E. Heiner
1. Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative, University of British Columbia
2. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia

Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster