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2001 PERC Proceedings

Conference Information

Dates: July 25-26, 2001
Location: Rochester, NY
Theme: Research at the Interface

Proceedings Information

Editors: Karen Cummings, Scott Franklin, and Jeffrey Marx
Published: July 26, 2001

Table of Contents

Front Matter
Preface
Invited Papers (10)
Peer-reviewed Papers (21)

INVITED MANUSCRIPTS (10)

First Author Index

Otero · Kanim · Mahajan · Leonard · Gerace · George · Finkelstein · Escalada · Dukes · White-Brahmia

Invited Papers

Conceptual Development and Context: How Do They Relate?
Valerie K. Otero
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, combines results from a larger research study that focuses on both cognitive and social aspects of learning (Otero, 2001). The study was conducted in a physical science class for prospective elementary teachers. The theoretical perspective used is distributed cognition (Hutchins, 1995), in which interacting with tools and others with tools are considered a cognitive system that generates learning. According to this perspective, each element of the system contributes to the cognitive product by sharing part of the cognitive load associated with a task. Results discussed in this paper suggest that student conceptual development influences the classroom context or cognitive system. Please note that this version of the paper was redacted from the 2001 PERC Proceedings and a corrected version is available in the 2002 PERC Proceedings.

V. K. Otero, Conceptual Development and Context: How Do They Relate?, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Connecting Concepts to Problem-solving
Stephen E. Kanim
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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Traditional quantitative problems of the type commonly found at the end of chapters in physics textbooks are assigned to students in most introductory physics courses. Many students use a formula-driven approach to solve these problems that does not rely on understanding underlying physics concepts and that does little to encourage the problem-solving skills employed by experts. In this paper, we illustrate the use of “bridging exercises” as part of students’ homework in the context of electrostatics. These exercises encourage students to solve problems by starting with developed physics concepts and models.

S. E. Kanim, Connecting Concepts to Problem-solving, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Pretending not to be Alan Schoenfeld
Sanjoy Mahajan
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, recounts two historical experiments in the mathematical education field that may be of interest to physics education researchers.

S. Mahajan, Pretending not to be Alan Schoenfeld, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Questions First (Q1st): The Challenges, Benefits, Drawbacks, and Results of Asking Students Questions Prior to Formal Instruction
William J. Leonard, William J. Gerace, and Robert J. Dufresne
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, presents a research study intended to compare two different approaches to using a classroom communication system (CCS). In the end, however, this study became less about trying to pin down the effects of two different instructional styles, and much, much more about the difficulties of comparing two large sub-populations of students. Therefore, although the authors report findings regarding the comparison of the two sections and approaches, a large fraction of this talk focuses on the development of the authors' thinking regarding the hindrances to making definitive and reliable statements about their findings.

W. J. Leonard, W. J. Gerace, and R. J. Dufresne, Questions First (Q1st): The Challenges, Benefits, Drawbacks, and Results of Asking Students Questions Prior to Formal Instruction, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Problem Solving and Conceptual Understanding
William J. Gerace
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, presents a framework for thinking about knowledge and its organization that can account for known expert-novice differences in knowledge storage and problem solving behavior. The author argues that interpreting any relationship between the ability to answer qualitative and quantitative questions requires a model of cognition, and that PER should seek to develop assessments that monitor component aspects of developing expertise.

W. J. Gerace, Problem Solving and Conceptual Understanding, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Observing Students' Use of Computer-based Tools During Collision Experiments
Elizabeth George, Maan Jiang Broadstock, and Jesús Vázquez-Abad
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, the authors investigate the effects of instructional approaches in microcomputer-based laboratories and video-based labs in an undergraduate physics laboratory. Results indicate that students are able to make good use of this information in the lab, and that they respond to this added information by spending more time in lab talking about concepts. The authors also discuss their data which shows some of the difficulties students had in learning the concepts of conservation of momentum and energy.

E. George, M. J. Broadstock, and J. Vázquez-Abad, Observing Students' Use of Computer-based Tools During Collision Experiments, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Context in the Context of Physics and Learning
Noah D. Finkelstein
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, re-centers the discussion of student learning to focus on context. A theoretically-grounded understanding of context and the relation of context to student learning are developed. This work argues for a contextual constructivist model of student learning, in order to support efforts in creating and analyzing environments that support student learning in physics.

N. D. Finkelstein, Context in the Context of Physics and Learning, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

An Investigation on the Impact of Implementing Visual Quantum Mechanics on Student Learning and Student Instructor Beliefs
Lawrence T. Escalada
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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Aspects of the Visual Quantum Mechanics instructional materials have been adapted and implemented into a university physical science course for pre-service elementary education majors and various high school physics classrooms. These materials utilize a learning cycle pedagogy involving interactive, simulation computer programs and inexpensive devices to introduce basic quantum physics ideas within the context of fundamental physics concepts. A brief description of how these materials and strategies were adapted and implemented in high school classrooms will be provided. The results found on student conceptual learning and student/instructor attitudes and beliefs will also be briefly discussed.

L. T. Escalada, An Investigation on the Impact of Implementing Visual Quantum Mechanics on Student Learning and Student Instructor Beliefs, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Inductive Influence of Related Quantitative and Conceptual Problems
Philip Dukes and David E. Pritchard
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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Physics education research shows that conceptual understanding is not necessary for students to do well on standard quantitative problems in introductory physics. This study addresses a related question: is conceptual understanding sufficient or helpful for students to do well in quantitative problems?

P. Dukes and D. E. Pritchard, Inductive Influence of Related Quantitative and Conceptual Problems, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Emphasizing the Social Aspects of Learning to Foster Success of Students at Risk
Suzanne Brahmia and Eugenia Etkina
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, offers discussion about the factors that put students at risk of failure in introductory physics courses, and offers methods, that emphasize the social aspects of learning, for addressing these factors. The methods place special emphasis on the social aspects of learning then the authors share their experience in creating an effective program within the structure of a research university. The Extended Physics program at Rutgers University provides a successful alternative to the traditional introductory courses for students at risk of failure.

S. Brahmia and E. Etkina, Emphasizing the Social Aspects of Learning to Foster Success of Students at Risk, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

PEER REVIEWED MANUSCRIPTS (21)

First Author Index

Kuo · Saul · Shelby · Singh · Warnakulasooriya · Yeend · Zou · Harper · De Leone · Kanim · McCullough · Lee · May · Potter · Meltzer · Manivannan · Hodari · French · Etkina · Heller · Henderson

Peer-reviewed Papers

Instructors' Ideas about Problem Solving - Grading
H. Vincent Kuo, Kenneth Heller, Patricia Heller, Edit Yerushalmi, and Charles R. Henderson
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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The Physics Education Research Group at the University of Minnesota has developed an interview tool to investigate physics faculty views about the learning and teaching of problem solving. In the part of the interview dealing with grading, faculty members were asked to evaluate a set of five student solutions and explain their reasons for the grades that they assigned. Preliminary analysis on two of the five student solutions was done on six physics faculty members from a large research university. The results indicate that faculty members hold conflicting beliefs when grading between valuing reasoning in student solutions and wanting to give students the benefit of the doubt. This paper illustrates the hypothesis that physics faculty hold conflicting values when grading, and describes how the research university faculty resolved their conflicts.

H. V. Kuo, K. Heller, P. Heller, E. Yerushalmi, and C. R. Henderson, Instructors' Ideas about Problem Solving - Grading, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

An Activity-based Curriculum for Large Introductory Physics Classes: The SCALE-UP Project
Jeffrey Saul and Robert J. Beichner
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This article offers a description of the activities involved in the Student-Centered Activities for Large Enrollment Undergraduate Programs (SCALE-UP) Project and describes some of the successes the program has seen in classrooms over the last three years. SCALE-UP offers instructors of large introductory science classes an economical and effective alternative to the lecture/laboratory format. This program combines lecture and laboratory in an approach that uses technology and minimal lecturing to create a highly collaborative, technology-rich, hands-on, interactive learning environment. In addition to developing classroom designs and management techniques, the project involves the development, evaluation, and dissemination of curricular materials for introductory physics that support this type of learning.

J. Saul and R. J. Beichner, An Activity-based Curriculum for Large Introductory Physics Classes: The SCALE-UP Project, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

An assessment of the Andes tutor
Robert Shelby, Kay Schulze, Donald J. Treacy, Mary C. Wintersgill, Kurt VanLehn, and Anders Weinstein
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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Andes is an intelligent problem-solving tutor for classical physics. Andes allows students to solve physics problems in an environment that provides visualization, immediate feedback, procedural help, and conceptual help. This paper reports an assessment of Andes conducted during the fall semesters of 1999 and 2000 using students in a basic physics course taught at the U. S. Naval Academy. The results of the assessment highlight some strengths and weaknesses of Andes.

R. Shelby, K. Schulze, D. J. Treacy, M. C. Wintersgill, K. VanLehn, and A. Weinstein, An assessment of the Andes tutor, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Students' Conceptual Knowledge of Energy and Momentum
Chandralekha Singh and David Rosengrant
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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In this article, the authors describe their investigation of student understanding of energy and momentum concepts at the level of introductory physics by designing and administering a 25-item multiple choice test and conducting individual interviews. They find that most students have difficulty in qualitatively interpreting basic principles related to energy and momentum and in applying them in physical situations. The test development process and a summary of results are presented.

C. Singh and D. Rosengrant, Students' Conceptual Knowledge of Energy and Momentum, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Preliminary Studies on Students' Understanding of Electricity and Magnetism for the Development of a Model Dased Diagnostic Instrument
Rasil Warnakulasooriya and Lei Bao
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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The authors of this research study investigate the context dependency of students’ learning and how context issues affect students’ understanding. They argue that the development of diagnostic tools should follow from extensive qualitative research that reveals the subtle relations between contexts and the development of students' knowledge. The researchers present initial results within the framework of developing a model based diagnostic instrument for the learning and instruction of electricity and magnetism.

R. Warnakulasooriya and L. Bao, Preliminary Studies on Students' Understanding of Electricity and Magnetism for the Development of a Model Dased Diagnostic Instrument, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Student Understanding of Density: A Cross-age Investigation
R.E. Yeend, Michael E. Loverude, and Barbara L. Gonzalez
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, shares the results of a density assessment administered to 787 middle school, high school, and college students; which indicate that students harbor numerous alternate conceptions, particularly a tendency to associate mass, volume, and density with size. The authors state that these responses can be interpreted as illustrating an inability to distinguish between these related concepts.

R. Yeend, M. E. Loverude, and B. L. Gonzalez, Student Understanding of Density: A Cross-age Investigation, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

The Role of Work-energy Bar Charts as a Physical Representation in Problem Solving
Xueli Zou
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, discusses an investigation which aims to provide a research base for the design of instruction to help students develop expertise in solving work-energy problems. An energy process can be represented by verbal, pictorial, bar chart, and mathematical representations. Assessment indicates that the work-energy bar charts, as a physical representation of a work-energy process, play an important role in student problem solving: they help students 1) reason about work-energy problems conceptually first, 2) set up the generalized work-energy equation correctly and easily, and 3) make inferences and evaluate their problem solutions.

X. Zou, The Role of Work-energy Bar Charts as a Physical Representation in Problem Solving, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Assessing Problem Solving with "Diana"
Kathleen A. Harper
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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Experts and novices completed an interview task where they evaluated a student’s solution to a mechanics problem. Instructors were more likely to make specific criticisms, where the students spoke more in generalities. Additional evidence indicates that novice problem solving knowledge consists of both conscious and tacit pieces.

K. A. Harper, Assessing Problem Solving with "Diana", 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Class Size Effects in Active Learning Physics Courses
Charles De Leone, Wendell H. Potter, Catherine M. Ishikawa, Jacob Blickenstaff, and Patrick L. Hession
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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With the growth of the University of California, Davis, we have been forced to seek more space for our active learning based lower-division discussion/laboratories. Our new room holds twice as many students (48) as our existing laboratories. Since we still use the smaller rooms, students taking the one-year physics sequence have a chance to experience both the larger classroom environment and the smaller one. We took advantage of this situation to study the effect of class size on students and instructors in active learning physics courses. In this paper we report on the initial results of our study of these changes and offer some insight into the differences between larger and smaller active learning settings in physics.

C. D. Leone, W. H. Potter, C. M. Ishikawa, J. Blickenstaff, and P. L. Hession, Class Size Effects in Active Learning Physics Courses, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Connecting Concepts About Current to Quantitative Circuit Problems
Stephen E. Kanim
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, describes portions of an ongoing investigation into the relationship between conceptual knowledge and problem-solving ability in physics. To what degree do students apply conceptual knowledge to the solution of traditional examination and end-of-chapter physics problems? Are there instructional strategies that can facilitate this application? Finally, does an increased emphasis on developing conceptual understanding of the material underlying these problems have any impact on subsequent coursework? Researcher found that the addition of an explicit link between concepts and traditional problems can serve both to reinforce concepts and to improve student quantitative problem-solving performance.

S. E. Kanim, Connecting Concepts About Current to Quantitative Circuit Problems, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Differences in Male/Female Response Patterns on Alternative-format Versions of the Force Concept Inventory
Laura McCullough and David E. Meltzer
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, discusses a modified version of the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) which was created using female and daily-life contexts instead of the male and school-oriented contexts in the original. Both modified and original versions were administered to university students in an algebra-based general physics course. The researchers explain differences among responses of males and females to both versions.

L. McCullough and D. E. Meltzer, Differences in Male/Female Response Patterns on Alternative-format Versions of the Force Concept Inventory, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Graduate and Undergraduate Students' Views on Learning and Teaching Physics
Gyoungho Lee and Lei Bao
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This study describes graduate and undergraduate students’ views on learning and teaching physics. We conducted this research with thirteen junior-level graduate students and four undergraduate students using web-based surveys and interviews. The results indicate that most graduate students use themselves as ‘templates’ for good learning methods and implemented them in their teaching practice expecting that the undergraduate students could do the same. On the other hand, undergraduate students have difficulties in learning physics and they need different teaching approaches from traditional methods.

G. Lee and L. Bao, Graduate and Undergraduate Students' Views on Learning and Teaching Physics, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Self-reflection, Epistemological Beliefs, and Conceptual Gains
David May and Eugenia Etkina
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, presents research into how weekly journals written by students can begin to answer three questions related to epistemological beliefs and self-reflection: (1) How articulate are students in describing how they learn? (2) How consistently do students report particular ways of learning? (3) Are there correlations between these patterns (if they exist) and standard measures of conceptual understanding? Students' weekly written journals were analyzed for the quality of reflection on what and how they learn. The authors found that the high-gain students tended to write more than the low-gain students and showed reflection that was more epistemologically sound.

D. May and E. Etkina, Self-reflection, Epistemological Beliefs, and Conceptual Gains, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Significant Reduction in Gender Grade Disparities in a Reformed Introductory Physics Course
Wendell H. Potter, Charles De Leone, Catherine M. Ishikawa, Jacob Blickenstaff, and Patrick L. Hession
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, is a preliminary report of data from a study on the grade distribution between males and females in a traditionally structured introductory physics course for biological science majors at the University of California. In the traditional course there was a persistent and stable pattern of letter-grade distributions in which males received a disproportionate share of high grades and females received a disproportionate share of low grades. This gender disparity has been significantly reduced for the same population of students in the reformed course.

W. H. Potter, C. D. Leone, C. M. Ishikawa, J. Blickenstaff, and P. L. Hession, Significant Reduction in Gender Grade Disparities in a Reformed Introductory Physics Course, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Student Reasoning Regarding Work, Heat, and the First Law of Thermodynamics in an Introductory Physics Course
David E. Meltzer
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, shares the results of a diagnostic quiz administered over the past two years in the calculus-based introductory physics course at Iowa State University (ISU). This quiz focuses on heat, work, and the first law of thermodynamics. The written quiz responses of 653 students in three separate courses are analyzed in detail, to shed light on the path on which learning takes place.

D. E. Meltzer, Student Reasoning Regarding Work, Heat, and the First Law of Thermodynamics in an Introductory Physics Course, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Use of In-class Physics Demonstrations in Highly Interactive Format
Kandiah Manivannan and David E. Meltzer
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, demonstrates how traditional classroom demonstrations may be converted into active-learning experiences through linked multiple-choice question-and-answer sequences. Sample question sequences and worksheet materials are presented, as well as preliminary assessment data.

K. Manivannan and D. E. Meltzer, Use of In-class Physics Demonstrations in Highly Interactive Format, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

What Can We Learn from Minority-serving Institutions?
Apriel K. Hodari, Jeffrey Saul, and Beth Hufnagel
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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In this paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, the authors propose two separate projects to carefully examine these institutions for admissions, curricular, and environmental practices that could improve majority institutions’ ability to promote the success of women and minorities in physics. This paper discusses the background of the proposals, and lists key features of the proposed research.

A. K. Hodari, J. Saul, and B. Hufnagel, What Can We Learn from Minority-serving Institutions?, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Development of an Introductory Physics Problem-Solving Assessment Tool
Timothy French and Karen Cummings
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, discusses the physics education research group at Rensselaer which is working to develop an assessment tool that will measure the problem-solving ability of introductory physics students. In its final form, the tool will consists of approximately 30-40 multiple-choice questions related to a limited number of classical mechanics topics. There are currently four types of questions included in the exam: attitudinal questions, quantitative problems that require students to identify the underlying principles used in solving the problem but not an explicit solution, questions that ask students to compare posed problems in terms of solution method, and quantitative problems requiring solution. Although the assessment is still under development, we have performed preliminary validation studies on questions requiring students to identify underlying principles. Specifically, both an ANOVA and a Fisher LSD test have been preformed. These evaluations showed (at the 98% and 95% confidence level, respectively) that wrong answers on assessment questions correlate to below average performance on the problem solving portion of the final course exam.

T. French and K. Cummings, Development of an Introductory Physics Problem-Solving Assessment Tool, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Investigative Science Learning Environment: Using the processes of science and cognitive strategies to learn physics
Eugenia Etkina and Alan Van Heuvelen
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper, presented at the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, asks if reading fifteen textbook chapters, listening to one lecturer, doing prescribed labs, answering someone else's questions, and solving well-defined problems resemble in any way a five-month schedule of activities for a person in a science related field in the 21st century workplace? Several recent studies concerning the knowledge and skills needed in the workplace indicate that there is a serious mismatch between traditional physics instruction and the needs of the workplace. Therefore, in this study, the authors describe briefly an Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE) introductory physics learning system that attempts to replicate more closely the processes used in the real world of science and engineering. The authors hope that ISLE students' learning better meets the needs of the workplace. The paper describes the method, including goals of the instruction, techniques used to assess the achievement of these goals and preliminary results of this assessment from courses taught by different instructors.

E. Etkina and A. V. Heuvelen, Investigative Science Learning Environment: Using the processes of science and cognitive strategies to learn physics, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Instructors’ Beliefs and Values about Learning Problem Solving
Patricia Heller, Kenneth Heller, Charles R. Henderson, H. Vincent Kuo, and Edit Yerushalmi
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper presents preliminary hypotheses about a common core of faculty beliefs about how their students learn to solve problems in their introductory courses. Using a process of structured interviews and a concept map based analysis, we find that faculty appear to believe that students learn problem solving primarily through a process of reflective introspection (educators call this process metacognition) while they practice solving problems and getting assistance from example problem solutions.

P. Heller, K. Heller, C. R. Henderson, H. V. Kuo, and E. Yerushalmi, Instructors’ Beliefs and Values about Learning Problem Solving, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.

Instructors’ Ideas about Problem Solving – Setting Goals
Charles R. Henderson, Kenneth Heller, Patricia Heller, H. Vincent Kuo, and Edit Yerushalmi
2001 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
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This paper presents preliminary hypotheses about the relationship between faculty goals for the introductory calculus-based physics course and their beliefs about student learning of problem solving. All faculty have problem solving as a major goal for their course. There appears to be however, an instructional paradox. When discussing how students learn to solve problems in their own courses, faculty indicate that reflective-practice skills are a necessary prerequisite, and that average students enter the course with these skills. When discussing general problem solving skills, however, faculty seem to believe that similar reflective-practice skills cannot be learned in an introductory physics course, and should be a long-term goal of university education.

C. R. Henderson, K. Heller, P. Heller, H. V. Kuo, and E. Yerushalmi, Instructors’ Ideas about Problem Solving – Setting Goals, 2001 PERC Proceedings [Rochester, NY, July 25-26, 2001], edited by K. Cummings, S. Franklin, and J. Marx.