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Abstract Title: Effects of Belief Bias on Student Reasoning From Data Tables
Abstract: This study explores both students' ability to make valid inferences from data tables and the effect of students' prior beliefs on that ability.  Over 300 introductory physics students participated in one of two conditions.  In both conditions, the data filling the tables was identical; however, in the first condition, the tables were presented within a familiar physical context, well-known to elicit incorrect prior beliefs in many students.  In the second, the tables were presented in a generic context. We found that students in the familiar physical context condition were significantly more likely to draw invalid conclusions than students in the generic context condition. Closer analysis revealed that, when provided with a physical context, students tended to look at the data less, relying in part on their prior knowledge to draw their conclusions.  Interestingly, students in the physical context condition indicated a higher confidence in their responses, despite their lower accuracy.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Abigail Bogdan
The Ohio State University
Department of Physics
191 West Woodruff Ave
Columbus, OH 43210
and Co-Presenter(s)
Andrew F. Heckler, The Ohio State University