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2009 PERC Proceedings

Conference Information

Dates: July 29-30, 2009
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Theme: Physics Education Research across Paradigms

Proceedings Information

Editors: Mel Sabella, Chandralekha Singh, and Charles Henderson
Published: November 11, 2009
AIP URL: AIP Conference Proceedings 1179
Info: Single book; 336 pages; 8.5 X 11 inches, double column
ISBN: 978-0-7354-0720-6
ISSN (Print): 0094-243X
ISSN (Online): 1551-7616

The theme of the 2009 Physics Education Research (PER) Conference was Physics Education Research across Paradigms. PER utilizes diverse traditions and frameworks to study learning: cognitive constructs, social and cultural dynamics and neural processes. As a whole PER has not been exclusive in its commitment to a single paradigm or methodology. Four leading researchers who conduct learning research from different perspectives were invited to present their work and interact with the PER community. This was an opportunity for the PER community to examine and discuss the variety of traditions and frameworks relevant to the study of student learning of physics.

Readership: Physics education researchers (faculty, post-doctoral students, and graduate/undergraduate students); researchers in fields close to Physics Education, such as cognitive science, chemistry education, biology education; physics faculty at undergraduate levels; high school physics teachers

Table of Contents

Front Matter
Invited Papers (16)
Peer-reviewed Papers (61)
Back Matter

INVITED MANUSCRIPTS (16)

First Author Index

Ambrose · Chasteen · diSessa · Dunbar · Manogue · Yerushalmi · Mason · Meltzer · Otero · Posner · Pritchard · Barrantes · Pawl · Sfard · Singh ·

Invited Papers

Learning about Student Learning in Intermediate Mechanics: Using Research to Improve Instruction
Bradley S. Ambrose
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 3-6, doi:10.1063/1.3266748
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Ongoing research in physics education has demonstrated that physics majors often do not develop a working knowledge of basic concepts in mechanics, even after standard instruction in upper-level mechanics courses. A central goal of this work has been to explore the ways in which students make—or do not make—appropriate connections between physics concepts and the more sophisticated mathematics (e.g., differential equations, vector calculus) that they are expected to use. Many of the difficulties that students typically encounter suggest deeply-seated alternate conceptions, while others suggest the presence of loosely or spontaneously connected intuitions. Analysis of results from pretests (ungraded quizzes), written exams, and informal classroom observations are presented to illustrate specific examples of naïve intuitions and related difficulties exhibited by the students. Also presented are examples of instructional strategies that appear to be effective in addressing these difficulties.

B. S. Ambrose, Learning about Student Learning in Intermediate Mechanics: Using Research to Improve Instruction, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 3-6 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266748.

A Research-Based Approach to Assessing Student Learning Issues in Upper-Division Electricity & Magnetism
Stephanie V. Chasteen and Steven J. Pollock
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 7-10, doi:10.1063/1.3266759
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As part of our efforts to systematically improve our junior-level Electricity & Magnetism I (Electro- and Magneto-Statics) course, we have developed a conceptual instrument, the CUE (Colorado Upper-division Electrostatics) diagnostic. Two central goals of this tool are: to assess impacts of transformed curricula, and to systematically identify and document student learning difficulties. We find persistent issues involving students' ability to conceptually approach and visualize E&M, to accurately communicate that understanding, and to appropriately identify and apply upper-level problem-solving strategies. Our work underlines the need for further research on the nature of student learning—and appropriate instructional interventions -at the upper division.

S. V. Chasteen and S. J. Pollock, A Research-Based Approach to Assessing Student Learning Issues in Upper-Division Electricity & Magnetism, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 7-10 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266759.

The Construction of Causal Schemes: A Cognitive Analysis with a Dialectical Point
Andrea A. diSessa
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 11-14, doi:10.1063/1.3266692
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This paper sketches a careful analysis of an exceptional classroom event where students develop, without explicit instruction, a model equivalent to Newton’s thermal law as a composition of intuitive knowledge elements. Lessons about how social (cultural, discursive, situated, etc.) and cognitive perspectives may interact are put forward.

A. A. diSessa, The Construction of Causal Schemes: A Cognitive Analysis with a Dialectical Point, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 11-14 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266692.

The Biology of Physics: What the Brain Reveals about Our Understanding of the Physical World
Kevin Niall Dunbar
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 15-18, doi:10.1063/1.3266703
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Fundamental concepts in physics such as Newtonian mechanics are surprisingly difficult to learn and discover. Over the past decade we have used an educational neuroscience approach to science education to investigate the different ways that scientific concepts are invoked or activated in different contexts. In particular, we have sought to determine how networks of brain regions that are highly sensitive to the context in which they are used are involved in the use of scientific concepts. We have found that some physics concepts that are highly tuned to perception are often inhibited in experts (with increased activations in error detection and inhibitory networks of the prefrontal cortex). Other concepts, such as those involved in perceptual causality, can activate highly diverse brain regions depending on task instructions. For example, when students are shown movies of balls colliding, we find increased activation in the right parietal lobe, yet when the students see the exact same movies and are told that these are positively charged particles repulsing we find increased activations in the temporal lobe that is consistent with the students retrieving semantic information. We also see similar changes in activation patterns in students learning about phase shifts in chemistry classes. A key component of both students and scientists’ discourse and reasoning is analogical thinking. Our recent fMRI work indicates that categorization is a key component of this type of reasoning that helps bind superficially different concepts together in the service of reasoning about the causes of unexpected findings. Taken together, these results are allowing us to make insights into the contextually relevant networks of knowledge that are activated during learning. This work is allowing us to propose why some educational interventions are more successful than others and why certain types of educational interventions are appropriate for some contexts, but not others.

K. N. Dunbar, The Biology of Physics: What the Brain Reveals about Our Understanding of the Physical World, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 15-18 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266703.

Cognitive Development at the Middle-Division Level
Corinne A. Manogue and Elizabeth Gire
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 19-22, doi:10.1063/1.3266714
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One of the primary goals, as students transition from the lower-division to upper-division courses is to facilitate the cognitive development needed for work as a physicist. The Paradigms in Physics curriculum (junior-level courses developed at Oregon State University) addresses this goal by coaching students to coordinate different modes of reasoning, highlighting common techniques and concepts across physics topics, and setting course expectations to be more aligned with the professional culture of physicists. This poster will highlight some of the specific ways in which we address these cognitive changes in the context of classical mechanics and E&M.

C. A. Manogue and E. Gire, Cognitive Development at the Middle-Division Level, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 19-22 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266714.

Self-Diagnosis, Scaffolding and Transfer in a More Conventional Introductory Physics Problem
Edit Yerushalmi, Andrew J. Mason, Elisheva Cohen, and Chandralekha Singh
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 23-26, doi:10.1063/1.3266725
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Previously we discussed how well students in an introductory physics course diagnosed their mistakes on a quiz problem with different levels of scaffolding support. In that case, the problem they self-diagnosed was unusually difficult. We also discussed issues related to transfer, particularly the fact that the transfer problem in the midterm that corresponded to the self-diagnosed problem was a far transfer problem. Here, we discuss a related intervention in which we repeated the study methodology with the same students in the same intervention groups, using a new quiz problem which was more typical for these students and a near transfer problem. We discuss how these changes affected students' ability to self-diagnose and transfer from the self-diagnosed quiz problem to a transfer problem on the midterm exam.

E. Yerushalmi, A. J. Mason, E. Cohen, and C. Singh, Self-Diagnosis, Scaffolding and Transfer in a More Conventional Introductory Physics Problem, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 23-26 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266725.

Self-Diagnosis, Scaffolding and Transfer: A Tale of Two Problems
Andrew J. Mason, Elisheva Cohen, Chandralekha Singh, and Edit Yerushalmi
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 27-30, doi:10.1063/1.3266736
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Helping students learn from their own mistakes can help them develop habits of mind while learning physics content. Based upon cognitive apprenticeship model, we asked students to self-diagnose their mistakes and learn from reflecting on their problem solution. Varying levels of scaffolding support were provided to students in different groups to diagnose their errors on two context-rich problems that students originally solved in recitation quizzes. Here, we discuss students' cognitive engagement in the two self-diagnosis activities and transfer tasks with different scaffolds.

A. J. Mason, E. Cohen, C. Singh, and E. Yerushalmi, Self-Diagnosis, Scaffolding and Transfer: A Tale of Two Problems, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 27-30 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266736.

Observations of General Learning Patterns in an Upper-Level Thermal Physics Course
David E. Meltzer
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 31-34, doi:10.1063/1.3266745
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I discuss some observations from using interactive-engagement instructional methods in an upper-level thermal physics course over a two-year period. From the standpoint of the subject matter knowledge of the upper-level students, there was a striking persistence of common learning difficulties previously observed in students enrolled in the introductory course, accompanied, however, by some notable contrasts between the groups. More broadly, I comment on comparisons and contrasts regarding general pedagogical issues among different student sub-populations, for example: differences in the receptivity of lower- and upper-level students to diagrammatic representations; varying receptivity to tutorial-style instructional approach within the upper-level population; and contrasting approaches to learning among physics and engineering sub-populations in the upper-level course with regard to use of symbolic notation, mathematical equations, and readiness to employ verbal explanations.

D. E. Meltzer, Observations of General Learning Patterns in an Upper-Level Thermal Physics Course, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 31-34 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266745.

Evolution of Theoretical Perspectives in My Research
Valerie K. Otero
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 35-38, doi:10.1063/1.3266746
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Over the past 10 years I have been using socio-cultural theoretical perspectives to understand how people learn physics in a highly interactive, inquiry-based physics course such as Physics and Everyday Thinking. As a result of using various perspectives (e.g. Distributed Cognition and Vygotsky's Theory of Concept Formation), my understanding of how these perspectives can be useful for investigating students' learning processes has changed. In this paper, I illustrate changes in my thinking about the role of socio-cultural perspectives in understanding physics learning and describe elements of my thinking that have remained fairly stable. Finally, I will discuss pitfalls in the use of certain perspectives and discuss areas that need attention in theoretical development for PER.

V. K. Otero, Evolution of Theoretical Perspectives in My Research, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 35-38 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266746.

Bridging Cognitive And Neural Aspects Of Classroom Learning
Michael I. Posner
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 39-42, doi:10.1063/1.3266747
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A major achievement of the first twenty years of neuroimaging is to reveal the brain networks that underlie fundamental aspects of attention, memory and expertise. We examine some principles underlying the activation of these networks. These networks represent key constraints for the design of teaching. Individual differences in these networks reflect a combination of genes and experiences. While acquiring expertise is easier for some than others the importance of effort in its acquisition is a basic principle. Networks are strengthened through exercise, but maintaining interest that produces sustained attention is key to making exercises successful. The state of the brain prior to learning may also represent an important constraint on successful learning and some interventions designed to investigate the role of attention state in learning are discussed. Teaching remains a creative act between instructor and student, but an understanding of brain mechanisms might improve opportunity for success for both participants.

M. I. Posner, Bridging Cognitive And Neural Aspects Of Classroom Learning, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 39-42 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266747.

What Else (Besides the Syllabus) Should Students Learn in Introductory Physics?
David E. Pritchard, Analia Barrantes, and Brian R. Belland
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 43-46, doi:10.1063/1.3266749
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We have surveyed what various groups of instructors and students think students should learn in introductory physics. We started with a Delphi Study based on interviews with experts, then developed orthogonal responses to “what should we teach non-physics majors besides the current syllabus topics?” AAPT attendees, atomic researchers, and PERC08 attendees were asked for their selections. All instructors rated “sense-making of the answer” very highly and expert problem solving highly. PERers favored epistemology over problem solving, and atomic researchers “physics comes from a few principles.” Students at three colleges had preferences anti-aligned with their teachers, preferring more modern topics, and the relationship of physics to everyday life and also to society (the only choice with instructor agreement), but not problem solving or sense-making. Conclusion #1: we must show students how old physics is relevant to their world. Conclusion #2: significant course reform must start by reaching consensus on what to teach and how to hold students' interest (then discuss techniques to teach it).

D. E. Pritchard, A. Barrantes, and B. R. Belland, What Else (Besides the Syllabus) Should Students Learn in Introductory Physics?, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 43-46 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266749.

What do Seniors Remember from Freshman Physics?
Analia Barrantes, Andrew Pawl, and David E. Pritchard
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 47-50, doi:10.1063/1.3266751
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We have given a group of 56 MIT seniors who took mechanics as freshmen a written test similar to the final exam they took in their freshman course, plus the Mechanics Baseline Test (MBT) and Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey (C-LASS) standard instruments. Students in majors unrelated to physics scored 60% lower on the written analytic part of the final than they did as freshmen. The mean score of all students on conceptual multiple choice questions included on the final also declined by about 60% relative to the scores of freshmen. The mean score of all participants on the MBT was insignificantly changed from the posttest taken as freshmen. More specifically, however, the students’ performance on 9 of the 26 MBT items (with 6 of the 9 involving graphical kinematics) represents a gain over their freshman pretest score (a normalized gain of about 70%, double the gain achieved in the freshman course alone), while their performance on the remaining 17 questions is best characterized as a loss of approximately 50% of the material learned in the freshman course. Attitudinal survey results indicate that almost half the seniors feel the specific mechanics course content is unlikely to be useful to them, a significant majority (75-85%) feel that physics does teach valuable skills, and an overwhelming majority believe that mechanics should remain a required course at MIT.

A. Barrantes, A. Pawl, and D. E. Pritchard, What do Seniors Remember from Freshman Physics?, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 47-50 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266751.

Modeling Applied to Problem Solving
Andrew Pawl, Analia Barrantes, and David E. Pritchard
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 51-54, doi:10.1063/1.3266752
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We describe a modeling approach to help students learn expert problem solving. Models are used to present and hierarchically organize the syllabus content and apply it to problem solving, but students do not develop and validate their own Models through guided discovery. Instead, students classify problems under the appropriate instructor-generated Model by selecting a system to consider and describing the interactions that are relevant to that system. We believe that this explicit System, Interactions and Model (S.I.M.) problem modeling strategy represents a key simplification and clarification of the widely disseminated modeling approach originated by Hestenes and collaborators. Our narrower focus allows modeling physics to be integrated into (as opposed to replacing) a typical introductory college mechanics course, while preserving the emphasis on understanding systems and interactions that is the essence of modeling. We have employed the approach in a three-week review course for MIT freshmen who received a D in the fall mechanics course with very encouraging results.

A. Pawl, A. Barrantes, and D. E. Pritchard, Modeling Applied to Problem Solving, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 51-54 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266752.

Moving Between Discourses: From Learning-As-Acquisition to Learning-As-Participation
Anna Sfard
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 55-58, doi:10.1063/1.3266753
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In this paper I address the question of how to talk about learning so as to be able to cope with at least some of the longstanding quandaries and to arrive at new insights. After a very brief historical review, I concentrate on two basic metaphors for learning in which current educational research seems to be grounded: the metaphors of learning-as-acquisition and of learning-as-participation. After stating the importance of both of these approaches and arguing that researches should be adjusting their leading metaphors to the questions they ask, I present my own choice: a brand of participationist discourse which is grounded in the vision of thinking as a form of communication and of physics and mathematics as types of discourses. The usefulness of the proposed way of talking about learning is then illustrated with the help of empirical materials taken from my recent study on a 7th grade class just introduced to negative numbers.

A. Sfard, Moving Between Discourses: From Learning-As-Acquisition to Learning-As-Participation, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 55-58 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266753.

Rethinking Tools for Training Teaching Assistants
Chandralekha Singh
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 59-62, doi:10.1063/1.3266754
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The ability to categorize problems is a measure of expertise in a domain. In order to help students learn effectively, instructors and teaching assistants (TAs) should have pedagogical content knowledge. They must be aware of the prior knowledge of students they are teaching, consider the difficulty of the problems from students' perspective and design instruction that builds on what students already know. Here, we discuss the response of graduate students enrolled in a TA training course to categorization tasks in which they were asked to group problems based upon similarity of solution first from their own perspective, and later from the perspective of introductory physics students. Many graduate students performed an expert-like categorization of introductory physics problems. However, when asked to categorize the same problems from the perspective of introductory students, many graduate students expressed dismay, claiming that the task was impossible, pointless and had no relevance to their TA duties. We will discuss how categorization can be a useful tool for scaffolding and improving pedagogical content knowledge of teaching assistants and instructors.

C. Singh, Rethinking Tools for Training Teaching Assistants, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 59-62 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266754.

Cognitive Issues in Learning Advanced Physics: An Example from Quantum Mechanics
Chandralekha Singh and Guangtian Zhu
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 63-66, doi:10.1063/1.3266755
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We are investigating cognitive issues in learning quantum mechanics in order to develop effective teaching and learning tools. The analysis of cognitive issues is particularly important for bridging the gap between the quantitative and conceptual aspects of quantum mechanics and for ensuring that the learning tools help students build a robust knowledge structure. We discuss the cognitive aspects of quantum mechanics that are similar or different from those of introductory physics and their implications for developing strategies to help students develop a good grasp of quantum mechanics.

C. Singh and G. Zhu, Cognitive Issues in Learning Advanced Physics: An Example from Quantum Mechanics, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 63-66 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266755.

PEER REVIEWED MANUSCRIPTS (61)

First Author Index

Alhadlaq · Allen · Antimirova · Baily · Barniol · Bartiromo · Bartley · Black · Blue · Brewe · Chasteen · Chini · Coletta · Dancy · Demaree · Ding · Docktor · Dubson · Etkina · Goldhaber · Gray · Guelman · Harlow · Hawkins · Henderson · Iverson · Kohl · Kost · Lasry · Lin · Loverude · Martinuk · Mason · Mateycik · Mayhew · McBride · Murphy · Nakamura · Nguyen · Perkins · Podolefsky · Pollock · Rebello · Rosenblatt · Rosengrant · Sadaghiani · Safadi · Sawtelle · Schuster · Shekoyan · Singh · Smith · Spike · Turpen · Wagner · Warren · Winters · Wittmann · Wutchana · Zhu

Peer-reviewed Papers

Measuring Students’ Beliefs about Physics in Saudi Arabia
Hisham Alhadlaq, Fahad Alshaya, Saleh Alabdulkareem, Katherine K. Perkins, Wendy K. Adams, and Carl E. Wieman
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 69-72, doi:10.1063/1.3266756
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Over the last decade, science education researchers in the US have studied students' beliefs about science and learning science and measured how these beliefs change in response to classroom instruction in science. In this paper, we present an Arabic version of the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey (CLASS) which was developed to measure students' beliefs about physics at King Saud University (KSU) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. We describe the translation process, which included review by four experts in physics and science education and ten student interviews to ensure that the statements remained valid after translation. We have administered the Arabic CLASS to over 300 students in introductory physics courses at KSU's men's and women's campuses. We present a summary of students' beliefs about physics at KSU and compare these results to similar students in the US.

H. Alhadlaq, F. Alshaya, S. Alabdulkareem, K. K. Perkins, W. K. Adams, and C. E. Wieman, Measuring Students’ Beliefs about Physics in Saudi Arabia, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 69-72 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266756.

The "RIPL" Effect on Learning Gains in Lecture
Patricia Allen and John Cockman
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 73-76, doi:10.1063/1.3266757
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The main goal of the Redesigned Introductory Physics Lab (RIPL) project at Appalachian State is to improve student performance and attitudes in the algebra-based sequence. Modifications of the student lab experience were examined in terms of their impact on performance in the lecture portion, independent of the lecture instructor’s pedagogical approach. Preliminary results for one lecture section, based on Modeling Instruction, indicate a large positive difference in all course measures for students in the redesigned lab compared to those in the more traditional lab offered by the department. On the other hand, FCI and other diagnostic scores show little difference between the two groups. While these measures indicate a discrepancy in the redesigned lab impact, an item-by-item analysis of the diagnostics reveals a rich story, one that can be used to improve both lecture and lab activities. In this paper, we examine some of the factors that strongly affect student performance, as well as the implications for the redesign process.

P. Allen and J. Cockman, The "RIPL" Effect on Learning Gains in Lecture, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 73-76 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266757.

The Effect of Classroom Diversity on Conceptual Learning in Physics
Tetyana Antimirova, Andie Noack, and Marina Milner-Bolotin
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 77-80, doi:10.1063/1.3266758
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Hundreds of students are required to take introductory physics each year at our mid-size Canadian university. These students enter the course with diverse educational histories and demographic characteristics that reflect the diversity of the large, metropolitan city that the university is located in. In this project, we investigate how students’ demographic and educational diversity is related to their conceptual learning in introductory university physics. Students’ learning outcomes in introductory sciences courses often impact their later learning in undergraduate science degree programs. As expected, we found that the completion of a senior high school physics course is positively related to students' conceptual understanding of physics. The unexpected result was that gender remained a predictor of the students' conceptual understanding, even when the completion of high school physics was accounted for. Interestingly, other demographic characteristics, such as students’ mother tongue and country of birth, seem not to matter. The results suggest that the impact of completing high school physics may extend far beyond the first year and that the gender gap continues to persist in SMET disciplines.

T. Antimirova, A. Noack, and M. Milner-Bolotin, The Effect of Classroom Diversity on Conceptual Learning in Physics, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 77-80 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266758.

Quantum Interpretations in Modern Physics Instruction
Charles Baily and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 81-84, doi:10.1063/1.3266760
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Just as expert physicists vary in their personal stances on interpretation in quantum mechanics, instructors hold different views on teaching interpretations of quantum phenomena in introductory modern physics courses. There has been relatively little research in the physics education community on the variation in instructional approaches with respect to quantum interpretation, and how instructional choices impact student thinking. We compare two modern physics courses taught at the University of Colorado with similar learning environments, but where the instructors held different views on how to teach students about interpretations of quantum processes. We find significant differences in how students from these two courses responded to a survey on their beliefs about quantum mechanics; findings also suggest that instructors who choose to address student ontologies should do so across a range of topics.

C. Baily and N. D. Finkelstein, Quantum Interpretations in Modern Physics Instruction, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 81-84 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266760.

Investigation of Students’ Preconceptions and Difficulties with the Vector Direction Concept at a Mexican University
Pablo Barniol and Genaro Zavala
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 85-88, doi:10.1063/1.3266761
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In this paper, we investigate common preconceptions that Mexican university students have with the concept of direction of a vector. Students entering a large private Mexican university were tested before receiving instruction related to vectors in an introductory physics class. In the first part we present students’ difficulties with the direction concept of a vector due to the use of two conventions in the Mexican system. The common convention of direction in the American system conflicts with a convention of this property as it is composed of two separate properties: direction as the line of action and sense as which of the two ways the vector points along that line. Both conventions are regularly used in the Mexican educational system and students use one or the other without doing it explicitly. In the second part, based on the work of Nguyen and Meltzer, we designed problems in which students are asked for direction of a vector without indicating any particular convention, and problems in which students are asked for direction of a vector indicating the line of action convention. We analyze preconceptions of direction in the first type of problems (investigating in depth the ones detected by Nguyen and Meltzer), and preconceptions of direction and sense in the second type of problems. At the end we compare responses of students in the two types of problems.

P. Barniol and G. Zavala, Investigation of Students’ Preconceptions and Difficulties with the Vector Direction Concept at a Mexican University, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 85-88 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266761.

Implementing Reform: Teachers’ Beliefs about Students and the Curriculum
Tara Bartiromo and Eugenia Etkina
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 89-92, doi:10.1063/1.3266762
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This paper presents findings on how consistent teachers’ perceptions of their students, their own role in the classroom, and the reformed curriculum are with the actual implementation of the reformed curriculum in the classroom. This study shows that the five participating teachers were consistent with their perceptions and their actual behavior in the classroom. The teachers who were engaged in designing the curriculum demonstrated consistent reformed teaching views and behaviors. The degree to which the teachers viewed the curriculum as useful to them and their students was an indicator of how reformed their teaching was as measured by the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP). Finally, it was determined that faithful implementation of a curriculum can mean faithfully implementing the theoretical foundation of the curriculum materials during instruction instead of implementing every component or lesson of the reformed curriculum. The work was supported by NSF DRL-0733140.

T. Bartiromo and E. Etkina, Implementing Reform: Teachers’ Beliefs about Students and the Curriculum, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 89-92 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266762.

Promoting Children’s Understanding and Interest in Science Through Informal Science Education
Jessica Bartley, Laurel Mayhew, and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 93-96, doi:10.1063/1.3266763
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We present results from the University of Colorado's Partnership for Informal Science Education in the Community (PISEC) in which university participants work in afterschool programs on inquiry-based activities with primary school children from populations typically under represented in science. This university-community partnership is designed to positively impact youth, university students, and the institutions that support them while improving children’s attitudes towards and understanding of science. Children worked through circuit activities adapted from the Physics and Everyday Thinking (PET) curriculum and demonstrated increased understanding of content area as well as favorable beliefs about science.

J. Bartley, L. Mayhew, and N. D. Finkelstein, Promoting Children’s Understanding and Interest in Science Through Informal Science Education, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 93-96 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266763.

Procedural Resource Creation in Intermediate Mechanics
Katrina E. Black and Michael C. Wittmann
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 97-100, doi:10.1063/1.3290980
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A problem in resource theory is describing the creation of new, high-level resources. We model resource creation by analyzing four student groups separating variables during a group quiz on air resistance. We assess each group’s fluency and two observables: use of overt (such as divide, subtract, equals) and covert (such as moving, bringing, or pulling over) mathematical language and use of accompanying gestures (such as circling, grabbing, or sliding). For each group, the type of language and gesture used corresponds to how easily they carry out separation of variables. We create resource graphs for each group to organize our observations and use these graphs to model the creation of the procedural resource Separate Variables.

K. E. Black and M. C. Wittmann, Procedural Resource Creation in Intermediate Mechanics, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 97-100 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3290980.

Student Perceptions of an Introductory Laboratory Course
Jennifer Blue and Joshua Jacob
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 101-104, doi:10.1063/1.3266687
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We surveyed students taking an introductory university physics laboratory course over the summer. These students are science majors, but not physics majors. Eighteen students were interviewed, asked what they thought the purpose of the laboratory course was. Student perceptions of the purpose of the laboratory course and about what they liked and did not like about the course will be shared. These student responses lead to implications for instruction and implications for improving communication among faculty, teaching assistants, and students.

J. Blue and J. Jacob, Student Perceptions of an Introductory Laboratory Course, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 101-104 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266687.

Investigating Student Communities with Network Analysis of Interactions in a Physics Learning Center
Eric Brewe, Laird H. Kramer, and George O'Brien
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 105-108, doi:10.1063/1.3266688
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We describe our initial efforts at implementing social network analysis to visualize and quantify student interactions in Florida International University's Physics Learning Center. Developing a sense of community among students is one of the three pillars of an overall reform effort to increase participation in physics, and the sciences more broadly, at FIU. Our implementation of a research and learning community, embedded within a course reform effort, has led to increased recruitment and retention of physics majors. Finn and Rock [1997] link the academic and social integration of students to increased rates of retention. To identify these interactions, we have initiated an investigation that utilizes social network analysis to identify primary community participants. Community interactions are then characterized through the network's density and connectivity, shedding light on learning communities and participation. Preliminary results, further research questions, and future directions utilizing social network analysis are presented.

E. Brewe, L. H. Kramer, and G. O'Brien, Investigating Student Communities with Network Analysis of Interactions in a Physics Learning Center, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 105-108 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266688.

Tapping into Juniors’ Understanding of E&M: The Colorado Upper-Division Electrostatics (CUE) Diagnostic
Stephanie V. Chasteen and Steven J. Pollock
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 109-112, doi:10.1063/1.3266689
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As part of an effort to systematically improve our junior-level E&M I course, we are developing a tool to assess student learning of E&M concepts at the upper-division. Along with a faculty working group, we established a list of learning goals for the course that, with student observations and interviews, served as a guide in creating the Colorado Upper-Division Electrostatics (CUE) assessment. The result is a 17-question open-ended post-test (with an optional 7-question pre-test) diagnostic, and accompanying grading rubric. We present the preliminary validation of the instrument and rubric, plus results from 226 students in 4 semesters at the University of Colorado, and 4 additional universities.

S. V. Chasteen and S. J. Pollock, Tapping into Juniors’ Understanding of E&M: The Colorado Upper-Division Electrostatics (CUE) Diagnostic, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 109-112 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266689.

Does the Teaching/Learning Interview Provide an Accurate Snapshot of Classroom Learning?
Jacquelyn J. Chini, Adrian Carmichael, N. Sanjay Rebello, and Sadhana Puntambekar
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 113-116, doi:10.1063/1.3266690
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The teaching/learning interview has been used to investigate student learning. The aim of the teaching/learning interview is to model a natural learning environment while allowing more direct access to a student’s or group’s thinking and reasoning. The interview typically involves one to four students working with a researcher/interviewer while being audio and video recorded. It has previously been reported [1] that the data collected in a teaching/learning interview is richer in detail than data collected in an actual classroom. We investigated the possibility that there were also other differences between these formats. We used the same instructional materials as well as pre-, mid- and post-tests in a teaching/learning interview and in a classroom laboratory setting. We will describe how the data collected in these two settings compare.

J. J. Chini, A. Carmichael, N. S. Rebello, and S. Puntambekar, Does the Teaching/Learning Interview Provide an Accurate Snapshot of Classroom Learning?, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 113-116 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266690.

Addressing Barriers to Conceptual Understanding in IE Physics Classes
Vincent P. Coletta and Jeffery A. Phillips
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 117-120, doi:10.1063/1.3266691
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We report on the Thinking in Physics project, which helps students who demonstrate weak scientific reasoning skills, as measured by low pre-instruction scores on the Lawson Test of Scientific Reasoning Ability. Without special help, such students are unlikely to achieve a good conceptual understanding of introductory mechanics. Student participants have demonstrated post-instruction improvement on the Lawson test and significantly higher normalized FCI gains than would have been predicted on the basis of pre-instruction Lawson scores.

V. P. Coletta and J. A. Phillips, Addressing Barriers to Conceptual Understanding in IE Physics Classes, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 117-120 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266691.

Pedagogical Practices of Physics Faculty in the USA
Melissa H. Dancy and Charles R. Henderson
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 121-124, doi:10.1063/1.3266693
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During the Fall of 2008 a web survey, designed to collect information about pedagogical knowledge and practices, was completed by a representative sample of 722 physics faculty across the United States. This paper presents results partial results from the survey. Specific teaching practices reported to be used by faculty are summarized. These self-reports indicate that the majority of physics teaching is not consistent with many results supported by educational research, such as the use of instruction that promotes active learning. Reasons why faculty do not use more researchbased practices are explored.

M. H. Dancy and C. R. Henderson, Pedagogical Practices of Physics Faculty in the USA, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 121-124 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266693.

Promoting productive communities of practice: An instructor’s perspective
Dedra Demaree and Sissi L. Li
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 125-128, doi:10.1063/1.3266694
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At Oregon State University, we are reforming our large-enrollment introductory calculus-based physics sequence. We are integrating course goals and materials borrowed from ISLE (Investigative Science Learning Environment) which promotes student practice of processes of authentic scientists, and Peer Instruction which helps them engage in these practices. To help our students be able to justify their own knowledge, and develop ownership of that knowledge the instructor works to develop a productive community of practice [1] enabling students to participate in social interactions and make meaning of their experiences to build a shared repertoire of knowledge. This paper reports on strategies the instructor uses, challenges faced, and present evidence of both successes and failures in terms of achieving this aim.

D. Demaree and S. L. Li, Promoting productive communities of practice: An instructor’s perspective, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 125-128 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266694.

Using Conceptual Scaffolding to Foster Effective Problem Solving
Lin Ding, Neville W. Reay, Albert Lee, and Lei Bao
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 129-132, doi:10.1063/1.3266695
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Traditional end-of-chapter problems often are localized, requiring formulas only within a single chapter. Students frequently can solve these problems by performing “plug-and-chug” without recognizing underlying concepts. We designed open-ended problems that require a synthesis of concepts that are broadly separated in the teaching time line, militating against students’ blindly invoking locally introduced formulas. Each problem was encapsulated into a sequence with two preceding conceptually-based multiple-choice questions. These conceptual questions address the same underlying concepts as the subsequent problem, providing students with guided conceptual scaffolding. When solving the problem, students were explicitly advised to search for underlying connections based on the conceptual questions. Both small-scale interviews and a large-scale written test were conducted to investigate the effects of guided conceptual scaffolding on student problem solving. Specifically, student performance on the open-ended problems was compared between those who received scaffolding and those who did not. A further analysis of whether the conceptual scaffolding was equivalent to mere cueing also was conducted.

L. Ding, N. W. Reay, A. Lee, and L. Bao, Using Conceptual Scaffolding to Foster Effective Problem Solving, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 129-132 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266695.

Assessment of Student Problem Solving Processes
Jennifer Docktor and Kenneth Heller
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 133-136, doi:10.1063/1.3266696
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Problem solving is a complex process important both in itself and as a tool for learning physics. Currently there is no standard way to measure problem solving that is independent of physics topic, pedagogy, and problem characteristics. At Minnesota we have been developing a rubric to evaluate students’ written solutions to physics problems that is easy to use and reasonably valid and reliable. The rubric identifies five general problem-solving processes and defines the criteria to attain a score in each: useful description, physics approach, specific application of physics, math procedures, and logical progression. An important test of the instrument is to check whether these categories as represented in students’ written solutions correspond to processes students engage in during problem solving. Eight problem-solving interviews were conducted with students enrolled in an introductory university physics course to compare what students write down during problem solving with what they say they were thinking about as determined by their interview statements.

J. Docktor and K. Heller, Assessment of Student Problem Solving Processes, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 133-136 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266696.

Faculty Disagreement about the Teaching of Quantum Mechanics
Michael Dubson, Steve Goldhaber, Steven J. Pollock, and Katherine K. Perkins
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 137-140, doi:10.1063/1.3266697
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To guide research-based transformation of upper-division physics classes, it is useful to identify learning goals that are broadly supported by the faculty. Our efforts to transform our junior-level E&M course have revealed a broad faculty consensus on the content of the course, if not the pedagogical approach. In contrast, we find a range of opinions on both the content and the pedagogy in junior-level QM. We surveyed 27 faculty about their approaches to teaching QM, and reviewed 20 quantum textbooks. Although there is broad agreement on the list and order of topics (Schrödinger equation to matrix methods and spin), we find substantial disagreement in several pedagogical aspects, including (1) the importance of presenting QM on an axiomatic basis (i.e. the postulates); (2) the treatment of measurement in QM (in particular, the collapse of the wave function); and (3) the physical interpretation of the wave function (matter wave vs. information wave vs. something else).

M. Dubson, S. Goldhaber, S. J. Pollock, and K. K. Perkins, Faculty Disagreement about the Teaching of Quantum Mechanics, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 137-140 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266697.

Searching for “Preparation for Future Learning” in Physics
Eugenia Etkina, Michael Gentile, Anna Karelina, Maria Ruibal-Villasenor, and Gregory Suran
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 141-144, doi:10.1063/1.3266698
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“Preparation for future learning” is a term describing a new approach to transfer. In addition to focusing on learning environments that help students better apply developed knowledge in new situations; education researchers are searching for educational interventions that better prepare students to learn new information. The pioneering studies in this field were conducted by J. Branford and D. Schwartz in psychology and mathematics, specifically in the area of statistics. They found that students who engaged in innovation before being exposed to new material, learned better. We attempted to replicate their experiments in the field of physics, specifically in the area of conductivity. Using two experimental conditions and one control, we compared student learning of thermal and electrical conductivity from a written text. We present the results of groups’ performance on seven qualitative questions after their learning in this area.

E. Etkina, M. Gentile, A. Karelina, M. Ruibal-Villasenor, and G. Suran, Searching for “Preparation for Future Learning” in Physics, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 141-144 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266698.

Transforming Upper-Division Quantum Mechanics: Learning Goals and Assessment
Steve Goldhaber, Steven J. Pollock, Michael Dubson, Paul Beale, and Katherine K. Perkins
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 145-148, doi:10.1063/1.3266699
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In order to help students overcome documented difficulties learning quantum mechanics (QM) concepts, we have transformed our upper-division QM I course using principles of learning theory and active engagement. Key components of this process include establishing learning goals and developing a valid, reliable conceptual assessment tool to measure the extent to which students achieve these learning goals. The course learning goals were developed with broad faculty input, and serve as the basis for the design of the course assessment tool. The development of the assessment tool has included significant faculty input and feedback, twenty-one student interviews, a review of PER literature, and administration of the survey to two semesters of QM I students as well as to a cohort of graduate students. Here, we discuss this ongoing development process and present initial findings from our QM class for the past two semesters.

S. Goldhaber, S. J. Pollock, M. Dubson, P. Beale, and K. K. Perkins, Transforming Upper-Division Quantum Mechanics: Learning Goals and Assessment, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 145-148 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266699.

Analysis of Former Learning Assistants’ Views on Cooperative Learning
Kara E. Gray and Valerie K. Otero
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 149-152, doi:10.1063/1.3266700
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The University of Colorado Learning Assistant (LA) program integrates a weekly education seminar, meetings with science faculty to review content, and a semester-long teaching experience that hires undergraduates to work with groups of students in university science courses. Following this three–pronged learning experience, some of the LAs continue into the teacher certification program. While previous research has shown that this model has more than doubled the number of science and math majors graduating with a teaching certification, the question remains whether these teachers are better prepared to teach. The analysis presented here addresses this question by comparing the views of former LAs to the views of comparable teachers on the issue of cooperative learning. Interviews were conducted with ten middle school and high school science teachers throughout their first year of teaching. Results suggest differences in former LAs views toward group work and their purposes for using group work.

K. E. Gray and V. K. Otero, Analysis of Former Learning Assistants’ Views on Cooperative Learning, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 149-152 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266700.

The Influence of Tablet PCs on Students’ Use of Multiple Representations in Lab Reports
Clarisa Bercovich Guelman, Charles De Leone, and Edward Price
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 153-156, doi:10.1063/1.3266701
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This study examined how different tools influenced students’ use of representations in the Physics laboratory. In one section of a lab course, every student had a Tablet PC that served as a digital-ink based lab notebook. Students could seamlessly create hand-drawn graphics and equations, and write lab reports on the same computer used for data acquisition, simulation, and analysis. In another lab section, students used traditional printed lab guides, kept paper notebooks, and then wrote lab reports on regular laptops. Analysis of the lab reports showed differences between the sections’ use of multiple representations, including an increased use of diagrams and equations by the Tablet users.

C. B. Guelman, C. D. Leone, and E. Price, The Influence of Tablet PCs on Students’ Use of Multiple Representations in Lab Reports, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 153-156 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266701.

Positioning Ideas: Creating and Relating Physics Identities Through Video Analysis
Danielle Harlow and Lauren Swanson
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 157-160, doi:10.1063/1.3266702
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Prior research has documented that analyzing video of children learning science aids pre-service teachers in developing physics knowledge and deepens their understanding of the learning process. Research on video analysis in teacher education suggests that the primary value of such tasks comes not from watching the video, but from the subsequent discussions. We questioned whether similar advantages would be evident when participants watched and analyzed video clips via online threaded discussions. We found that participants used the video clips as a mediating tool to position their own current ideas about physics topics with respect to their prior understandings as well as to ideas articulated by the students in the video clips. We discuss the study findings and affordances and limitations of online discussion formats.

D. Harlow and L. Swanson, Positioning Ideas: Creating and Relating Physics Identities Through Video Analysis, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 157-160 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266702.

Students’ Consistency of Graphical Vector Addition Method on 2-D Vector Addition Tasks
Jeffrey M. Hawkins, John R. Thompson, and Michael C. Wittmann
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 161-164, doi:10.1063/1.3266704
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In a series of ten two-dimensional graphical vector addition questions with varying visual representations, most students stuck to a single solution method, be it correct or incorrect. Changes to the visual representation include placing vectors on a grid, making the vectors arrangements symmetric, varying the separation between vectors, and reversing the direction of either vector. We discuss the questions asked of students and their responses, emphasizing the results of one student who did change solution methods during an interview.

J. M. Hawkins, J. R. Thompson, and M. C. Wittmann, Students’ Consistency of Graphical Vector Addition Method on 2-D Vector Addition Tasks, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 161-164 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266704.

The Impact of Physics Education Research on the Teaching of Introductory Quantitative Physics
Charles R. Henderson and Melissa H. Dancy
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 165-168, doi:10.1063/1.3266705
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During the Fall of 2008 a web survey, designed to collect information about pedagogical knowledge and practices, was completed by a representative sample of 722 physics faculty across the United States (a 50.3% response rate). This paper presents results of one part of the survey where faculty were asked to rate their level of knowledge and use of 24 Research-Based Instructional Strategies (RBIS) that are applicable to an introductory quantitative physics course. Almost all faculty (87.1%) indicated familiarity with one or more RBIS and approximately half of faculty (48.1%) say that they currently use at least one RBIS. Results also indicate that faculty rarely use RBIS as recommended by the developer, but instead commonly make significant modifications.

C. R. Henderson and M. H. Dancy, The Impact of Physics Education Research on the Teaching of Introductory Quantitative Physics, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 165-168 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266705.

Undergraduate Physics Course Innovations and Their Impact on Student Learning
Heidi L. Iverson, Derek Briggs, Maria Ruiz-Primo, Robert Talbot, and Lorrie A. Shepard
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 169-172, doi:10.1063/1.3266706
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This paper presents results of an NSF project in which the goal is to provide a synthesis of research on instructional innovations that have been implemented in undergraduate courses in physics. The research questions guiding the project are: What constitutes the range of principal course innovations that are being implemented in undergraduate physics courses? What are the effects of these course innovations on student learning? The paper describes: (1) the literature search procedures used to gather over 400 innovation-related journal articles, (2) the procedures followed to analyze the studies within these articles, (3) the characteristics of the studies reported, and (4) the results from synthesizing the quantitative results of those studies that met our criteria for inclusion.

H. L. Iverson, D. Briggs, M. Ruiz-Primo, R. Talbot, and L. A. Shepard, Undergraduate Physics Course Innovations and Their Impact on Student Learning , 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 169-172 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266706.

Introductory Physics Gender Gaps: Pre- and Post-Studio Transition
Patrick B. Kohl and H. Vincent Kuo
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 173-176, doi:10.1063/1.3266707
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Prior work has characterized the gender gaps present in college-level introductory physics courses. Such work has also shown that research-based interactive engagement techniques can reduce or eliminate these gender gaps. In this paper, we study the gender gaps (and lack thereof) in the introductory calculus-based electricity and magnetism course at the Colorado School of Mines. We present eight semesters’ worth of data, totaling 2577 students, with four semesters preceding a transition to Studio physics, and four following. We examine gender gaps in course grades, DFW (D grade, fail, or withdrawal) rates, and normalized gains on the Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism (CSEM), and consider factors such as student ACT scores and grades in prior math classes. We find little or no gap in male/female course grades and DFW rates, but substantial gaps in CSEM gains that are reduced somewhat by the transition to Studio physics.

P. B. Kohl and H. V. Kuo, Introductory Physics Gender Gaps: Pre- and Post-Studio Transition, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 173-176 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266707.

Unpacking Gender Differences in Students’ Perceived Experiences in Introductory Physics
Lauren E. Kost, Steven J. Pollock, and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 177-180, doi:10.1063/1.3266708
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Prior research has shown, at our institution: 1) males outperform females on conceptual assessments (a gender gap), 2) the gender gap persists despite the use of research-based reforms, and 3) the gender gap is correlated with students’ physics and mathematics background and prior attitudes and beliefs [Kost, et. al. PRST-PER, 5, 010101]. Our follow-up work begins to explore how males and females experience the introductory course differently and how these differences relate to the gender gap. We gave a survey to students in the introductory course in which we investigated students’ physics identity and self-efficacy. We find there are significant gender differences in each of these three areas, and further find that these measures are weakly correlated with student conceptual performance, and moderately correlated with course grade.

L. E. Kost, S. J. Pollock, and N. D. Finkelstein, Unpacking Gender Differences in Students’ Perceived Experiences in Introductory Physics, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 177-180 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266708.

When Talking Is Better Than Staying Quiet
Nathaniel Lasry, Elizabeth Charles, Chris Whittaker, and Michael Lautman
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 181-184, doi:10.1063/1.3266709
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The effectiveness of Peer Instruction is often associated to the importance of in-class discussions between peers. Typically, a greater number of students have correct answers after peer discussions. However, other cognitive and metacognitive processes such as reflection or time-on-task may also explain this increase because students answering conceptual questions reflect more and spend more time thinking about their understanding. An identical sequence of conceptual questions was given to three groups of students. All groups were polled twice on each question. Between polls, students were asked either to discuss their choice with a peer, or to reflect for a minute (no discussion), or were given a distraction task (sequence of cartoons: no discussion and no reflection). Increases in the rates of correct answers between the first and the second poll were found across all conditions. The 'Distract' condition had a small but positive increase (3.4%). The 'Reflect' condition had a greater increase (9.7%) while the 'Discuss' condition had the greatest (21.0%). All conditions showed gains, possibly because of 'testing effects', though peer-discussions clearly yield greatest increases. Our findings show that learning gains through peer discussions cannot be explained only by additional time on-task or self-reflection.

N. Lasry, E. Charles, C. Whittaker, and M. Lautman, When Talking Is Better Than Staying Quiet, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 181-184 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266709.

Assessing Expertise in Quantum Mechanics using Categorization Task
Shih-Yin Lin and Chandralekha Singh
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 185-188, doi:10.1063/1.3266710
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We discuss the categorization of 20 quantum mechanics problems by 6 physics professors and 22 undergraduate students from two honors-level quantum mechanics courses. Professors and students were asked to categorize the problems based upon similarity of solution. We also had individual discussions with professors who categorized the problems. Faculty members' categorizations were overall rated better than those of students by three faculty members who evaluated all of the categorizations. But the categories created by faculty members were more diverse compared to the uniformity of the categories they created when asked to categorize introductory mechanics problems.

S. Lin and C. Singh, Assessing Expertise in Quantum Mechanics using Categorization Task, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 185-188 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266710.

Student understanding of basic probability concepts in an upper-division thermal physics course
Michael E. Loverude
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 189-192, doi:10.1063/1.3266711
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As part of ongoing research on student understanding in upper-division thermal physics, we developed a number of simple diagnostic questions designed to probe understanding of basic probability concepts. Preliminary results showed that many students had difficulty in distinguishing the concepts of microstate and macrostate, and in applying mathematical relationships for multiplicity of simple systems. We have tested a tutorial sequence designed to address some of the difficulties. We will summarize previous results, show post-test results from the target courses, and describe aspects of the tutorial sequence that are likely in need of modification.

M. E. Loverude, Student understanding of basic probability concepts in an upper-division thermal physics course, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 189-192 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266711.

Research Projects In Introductory Physics: Impacts On Student Learning
Mathew "Sandy" Martinuk, Rachel Moll, and Andrzej Kotlicki
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 193-196, doi:10.1063/1.3266712
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Over the last two years UBC has completely revamped their introductory course for non-physics majors to present physics in terms of everyday situations and to reinforce connections between classroom physics and real-world phenomena throughout the course. One of the key changes was the incorporation of a final project where groups of students research and present on a topic of their choice related to the course. Students were asked to quantitatively model a real-world situation to make a choice or settle a dispute. At the midpoint and end of the 2008 course students were surveyed with a single transfer problem that tested students’ ability to apply physics concepts in real-world contexts. The post-test showed students were more likely to engage in simple (rate)*(time) estimates rather than applying more sophisticated physics principles. Implications for instruction and future work are discussed.

M. ". Martinuk, R. Moll, and A. Kotlicki, Research Projects In Introductory Physics: Impacts On Student Learning, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 193-196 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266712.

Reflection and Self-Monitoring in Quantum Mechanics
Andrew J. Mason and Chandralekha Singh
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 197-200, doi:10.1063/1.3266713
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An assumed attribute of expert physicists is that they learn readily from their own mistakes. Experts are unlikely to make the same mistakes when asked to solve a problem a second time, especially if they have had access to a correct solution. Here, we discuss a case study in which fourteen advanced undergraduate physics students taking an honors-level quantum mechanics course were given the same four problems in both a midterm and final exam. The solutions to the midterm problems were provided to students. The performance on the final exam shows that while some advanced students performed equally well or improved compared to their performance on the midterm exam on the questions administered a second time, a comparable number performed less well on the final exam than on the midterm exam. The wide distribution of students' performance on problems administered a second time suggests that most advanced students do not automatically exploit their mistakes as an opportunity for learning, and for repairing, extending, and organizing their knowledge structure. Interviews with a subset of students revealed attitudes towards problem-solving and gave insight into their approach to learning.

A. J. Mason and C. Singh, Reflection and Self-Monitoring in Quantum Mechanics, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 197-200 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266713.

Using Similarity Rating Tasks to Assess Case Reuse in Problem Solving
Frances Mateycik, David Jonassen, and N. Sanjay Rebello
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 201-204, doi:10.1063/1.3266715
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Case-reuse strategies involve extracting the conceptual schema from previous cases and adapting them to new problems. Recognizing the deep structure differences and similarities between problems is essential for productive case reuse. We report on a semester-long study with students participating in weekly focus group learning interviews to facilitate case reuse strategies. At the mid and end points of the study, students were interviewed individually to ascertain the effect of these strategies. During these interviews students were asked to rate the similarities between problem pairs. We report on the results from the similarity ratings as well as present a comparison with expert responses to these questions.

F. Mateycik, D. Jonassen, and N. S. Rebello, Using Similarity Rating Tasks to Assess Case Reuse in Problem Solving, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 201-204 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266715.

Learning to Communicate about Science in Everyday Language through Informal Science Education
Laurel Mayhew and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 205-208, doi:10.1063/1.3266716
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The University of Colorado’s Partnerships for Informal Science Education in the Community (PISEC) program, in which university students participate in classroom and after school science activities with local precollege children, seeks to develop children’s interest, identity and abilities in science, while simultaneously developing university participant’s interest and understanding in education and their abilities to communicate about science. The Communication in Everyday Language Assessment (CELA) component of our assessment suite has been used to evaluate university student teaching in these informal educational settings. We find significant positive gains a result of participating in the PISEC program.

L. Mayhew and N. D. Finkelstein, Learning to Communicate about Science in Everyday Language through Informal Science Education, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 205-208 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266716.

Applying Knowledge in New Contexts: A Comparison of Pre- and Post-Instruction Students
Dyan L. McBride and Dean A. Zollman
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 209-212, doi:10.1063/1.3266717
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This study focuses on how students apply previous learning of light and basic geometric optics to the context of wavefront aberrometry. In one aspect of this study we compared the application of previous learning of students who had studied light and basic geometric optics in a physics course with those who had not and thus could only apply knowledge obtained in an informal way. We sought to examine what differences exist in the way they construct an understanding of wavefront aberrometry. The data showed that students with no formal instruction tended to rely on experiential knowledge as one would expect. However, the students with formal instruction relied on textbook knowledge and tended to discount or ignore their everyday experiences. We will discuss what this difference in knowledge types might imply about the knowledge construction process.

D. L. McBride and D. A. Zollman, Applying Knowledge in New Contexts: A Comparison of Pre- and Post-Instruction Students, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 209-212 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266717.

Probing Students’ Understanding of Resonance
Sytil K. Murphy, Dyan L. McBride, Josh Gross, and Dean A. Zollman
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 213-216, doi:10.1063/1.3266718
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Resonant phenomena play a crucial role in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a widely used medical tool in today's society. The basic features of the resonance in MRI can be taught by looking at the resonance of a compass driven by an electromagnetic field. However, resonance in a oscillating magnetic field is not a phenomenon that is familiar to most students. Thus, as a precursor to creating instructional materials, we investigated how students applied their learning about resonance as traditionally taught to this novel system.

S. K. Murphy, D. L. McBride, J. Gross, and D. A. Zollman, Probing Students’ Understanding of Resonance, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 213-216 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266718.

Online Data Collection and Analysis in Introductory Physics
Christopher M. Nakamura, Sytil K. Murphy, Nasser M. Juma, N. Sanjay Rebello, and Dean A. Zollman
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 217-220, doi:10.1063/1.3266719
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Online implementation of physics learning materials may present a powerful method of data collection for physics education research, in addition to being useful for supplemental instruction. This may have implications for composite instruction and research designs. We have developed three lessons on Newton’s laws and implemented them on the Internet. The lessons ask students to make observations and measurements using video clips, perform calculations and answer open-ended questions. Responses are collected via an online response system. One hundred ten university students enrolled in an algebra-based physics course and 30 high school physics students worked through some or all of our lessons, and their responses were collected. We present a qualitative and quantitative analysis of their responses and assess the implications for optimal design of online lesson materials for collecting meaningful data about students’ understanding of basic physics concepts.

C. M. Nakamura, S. K. Murphy, N. M. Juma, N. S. Rebello, and D. A. Zollman, Online Data Collection and Analysis in Introductory Physics, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 217-220 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266719.

Students’ Difficulties in Transfer of Problem Solving Across Representations
Dong-Hai Nguyen and N. Sanjay Rebello
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 221-224, doi:10.1063/1.3266720
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Studies indicate that the use of multiple representations in teaching helps students become better problem solvers. We report on a study to investigate students’ difficulties with multiple representations. We conducted teaching/learning interviews with 20 students in a first semester calculus-based physics course. Each student was interviewed four times during the semester, each time after they had completed an exam in class. During these interviews students were first asked to solve a problem they had seen on the exam, followed by problems that differed in context and type of representation from the exam problem. Students were provided verbal scaffolding to solve the new problems. We discuss the common difficulties that students encountered when attempting to transfer their problem solving skills across problems in different representations.

D. Nguyen and N. S. Rebello, Students’ Difficulties in Transfer of Problem Solving Across Representations, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 221-224 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266720.

Student Perspectives on Using Clickers in Upper-division Physics Courses
Katherine K. Perkins and Chandra Turpen
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 225-228, doi:10.1063/1.3266721
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A growing number of faculty are using clicker questions and peer instruction in introductory physics courses at institutions across the US; however, this approach is rarely used in upper-division physics courses. At the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU), faculty have been incorporating clicker questions in upper-division courses since 2004 – clickers have now been used 24 times in 10 different upper-division courses by 14 different faculty. We surveyed students in 16 of these classes (including 2 classes of a graduate course), soliciting their perspectives on and recommendations for using clickers in upper-division courses. We find that 77% of the students recommend using clickers at this level. In all classes, a majority of students favor clickers and there are few negative responses. Through analysis of students’ responses, we identify what they value about the use of clickers and the perceived mechanisms by which clickers support their learning. Finally, we find broad student agreement on how to best implement clickers in these courses.

K. K. Perkins and C. Turpen, Student Perspectives on Using Clickers in Upper-division Physics Courses, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 225-228 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266721.

Student Choices when Learning with Computer Simulations
Noah S. Podolefsky, Wendy K. Adams, and Carl E. Wieman
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 229-232, doi:10.1063/1.3266722
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We examine student choices while using PhET computer simulations (sims) to learn physics content. In interviews, students were given questions from the Force Concept Inventory (FCI)1 and were allowed to choose from 12 computer simulations in order to answer these questions. We investigate students’ choices when answering FCI questions with sims. We find that while students’ initially choose sims that match problem situations at a surface level, deeper connections may be noticed by students later on. These results inform us on how people may choose education resources when learning on their own.

N. S. Podolefsky, W. K. Adams, and C. E. Wieman, Student Choices when Learning with Computer Simulations, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 229-232 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266722.

Computer simulations to classrooms: Tools for change
Noah S. Podolefsky, Katherine K. Perkins, and Wendy K. Adams
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 233-236, doi:10.1063/1.3266723
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This paper situates PhET computer simulations (sims) in a socio-cultural-historical context. Sims are cultural tools designed to embody certain norms and practices of the physics community, particularly learning through exploration. We focus on interactions between three scales of tools: representations, materials, and environments. We examine critical features of tools across these three scales which support student learning through engaged exploration. We support our claims with data from studies of use of sims in introductory physics laboratories.

N. S. Podolefsky, K. K. Perkins, and W. K. Adams, Computer simulations to classrooms: Tools for change, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 233-236 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266723.

Longer term impacts of transformed courses on student conceptual understanding of E&M
Steven J. Pollock and Stephanie V. Chasteen
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 237-240, doi:10.1063/1.3266724
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We have measured upper-division physics majors' performance using two research-based conceptual instruments in E&M, the BEMA and the CUE (Colorado Upper Division Electrostatics assessment.) The BEMA has been given pre/post in freshman E&M (Physics II) courses, and the BEMA and CUE have been given pre/post in several upper-division E&M courses. Some of these data extend over 10 semesters. We used PER-based techniques to transform the introductory and upper-division courses starting in Fall 2004 and 2007, respectively. Our longitudinal data allow us to measure "fade" on BEMA performance between freshman and junior year. We investigate the effects of curricula on students by comparing juniors who were enrolled in traditional vs. transformed physics as freshmen, as well as those who were enrolled in traditional or transformed upper-division E&M I, using both BEMA and CUE measures. We find that while freshman reforms significantly impact BEMA scores, junior-level reforms affect CUE but not BEMA outcomes.

S. J. Pollock and S. V. Chasteen, Longer term impacts of transformed courses on student conceptual understanding of E&M, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 237-240 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266724.

Can We Assess Efficiency and Innovation in Transfer?
N. Sanjay Rebello
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 241-244, doi:10.1063/1.3266726
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Schwartz, Bransford and Sears propose a two-dimensional framework that describes transfer in terms of efficiency and innovation. Efficiency is the ability to apply prior knowledge to new situations quickly and accurately. Innovation is the ability to question assumptions, let go of prior knowledge and generate new ideas. Schwartz et. al. argue that most educational assessments focus on efficiency at the expense of innovation. We suggest that this perspective does not adequately reflect the challenges that our students face while problem solving. For instance, while faculty may find end-of-chapter physics problems to be routine and overly focused on efficiency, our students, who lack prior knowledge and experience may find these problems to be novel and innovative. We propose a framework based on an operational meaning of ‘efficiency’ and ‘innovation’ and development of criteria to measure these constructs in ways that reflect both learners’ challenges as well as educators’ expectations.

N. S. Rebello, Can We Assess Efficiency and Innovation in Transfer?, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 241-244 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266726.

Modeling students’ conceptual understanding of force, velocity, and acceleration
Rebecca Rosenblatt, Eleanor C. Sayre, and Andrew F. Heckler
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 245-248, doi:10.1063/1.3266727
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We have developed a multiple choice test designed to probe students’ conceptual understanding of the relationships among the directions of force, velocity, and acceleration. The test was administered to more than 800 students enrolled in standard or honors introductory physics courses or a second-year physics majors course. The test was found to be reasonably statistically reliable, and correlations of test score with grade, course level, and the Force Concept Inventory were moderate to strong. Further analysis revealed that in addition to the common incorrect response that velocity must be in the direction of the acceleration or net force, up to 30% of students gave “partially correct” responses, for example that velocity can be either opposite to or in the direction of the acceleration or net force but not zero. The data also suggests that for some students their evolution of understanding may progress through this kind of partially incorrect understanding.

R. Rosenblatt, E. C. Sayre, and A. F. Heckler, Modeling students’ conceptual understanding of force, velocity, and acceleration, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 245-248 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266727.

Comparing Experts and Novices in Solving Electrical Circuit Problems with the Help of Eye-Tracking
David Rosengrant, Colin Thomson, and Taha Mzoughi
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 249-252, doi:10.1063/1.3266728
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In order to help introductory physics students understand and learn to solve problems with circuits, we must first understand how they differ from experts. This preliminary study focuses on problem-solving dealing with electrical circuits. We investigate difficulties novices have with circuits and compare their work with those of experts. We incorporate the use of an eye-tracker to investigate any possible differences or similarities on how experts and novices solve electrical circuit problems. Our results show similarities in gaze patterns among all subjects on the components of the circuit. We further found that experts would look back at the circuit while solving the problem but not the novices. We also found differences in how they solve the problems. For example, experts simplified circuits when appropriate as opposed to novices who did not. They also had difficulties identifying when resistors are in parallel or in series and how to combine them.

D. Rosengrant, C. Thomson, and T. Mzoughi, Comparing Experts and Novices in Solving Electrical Circuit Problems with the Help of Eye-Tracking, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 249-252 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266728.

The Effect of an Inquiry-Based Early Field Experience on Pre-Service Teachers’ Content Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Teaching
Homeyra R. Sadaghiani and Sarai N. Costley
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 253-256, doi:10.1063/1.3266729
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As part of a pre-service science course for teachers at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, we provided an early field inquiry-based teaching experience. A K-12 science specialist and Cal Poly Pomona faculty member worked together to help students develop a formal standards-based lesson plan and present it to a class of 5th grade students in a local elementary school. We will discuss the effect of the field experience on student content knowledge, confidence in teaching inquiry-based science lessons, as well as their attitudes towards teaching.

H. R. Sadaghiani and S. N. Costley, The Effect of an Inquiry-Based Early Field Experience on Pre-Service Teachers’ Content Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Teaching, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 253-256 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266729.

Students’ Perceptions of a Self-Diagnosis Task
Rafi Safadi and Edit Yerushalmi
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 257-260, doi:10.1063/1.3266730
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What happens when students are required to engage in a self-diagnosis task; in other words get time and credit for identifying mistakes they made assisted by a sample solution? We examine this question using data collected on 180 high school students in the Arab sector in Israel. Students were able to find significant differences between their solutions and the sample solution. Yet many did not provide self-explanations indicating that they acknowledged a conflict between their mental models and the scientific model. Further, students also addressed non-significant differences. They apparently referred to the sample solution as an ultimate template and identified external deviations from it as flaws or weaknesses. Students reflected on their personal solution process, and the materials used in the task. The findings suggest allocating time for scaffolding “self-diagnosis”.

R. Safadi and E. Yerushalmi, Students’ Perceptions of a Self-Diagnosis Task, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 257-260 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266730.

An Exploratory Qualitative Study of the Proximal Goal Setting of Two Introductory Modeling Instruction Physics Students
Vashti Sawtelle, Eric Brewe, and Laird H. Kramer
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 261-264, doi:10.1063/1.3266731
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Proximal goal setting has been strongly linked to self-efficacy and often occurs in successful problem solving. A qualitative study, using both observations and interviews, investigated the problem-solving processes and the self-efficacy of two students enrolled in an introductory physics course that implemented Modeling Instruction at Florida International University. We found that the problem solving process could be divided into two main phases: the goal setting process and the self-efficacy feedback loop. Further, from the qualitative data, the goal setting process could not be isolated from its impact on the self-efficacy of the students. This relationship between the goal setting strategies within the problem-solving process and self-efficacy may be linked to the retention of students in physics. We present results of the study and its possible link to student retention.

V. Sawtelle, E. Brewe, and L. H. Kramer, An Exploratory Qualitative Study of the Proximal Goal Setting of Two Introductory Modeling Instruction Physics Students, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 261-264 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266731.

Cognition of an expert tackling an unfamiliar conceptual physics problem
David Schuster and Adriana Undreiu
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 265-268, doi:10.1063/1.3266732
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We have investigated and analyzed the cognition of an expert tackling a qualitative conceptual physics problem of an unfamiliar type. Our goal was to elucidate the detailed cognitive processes and knowledge elements involved, irrespective of final solution form, and consider implications for instruction. The basic but non-trivial problem was to find qualitatively the direction of acceleration of a pendulum bob at various stages of its motion, a problem originally studied by Reif and Allen. Methodology included interviews, introspection, retrospection and self-reported metacognition. Multiple facets of cognition were revealed, with different reasoning strategies used at different stages and for different points on the path. An account is given of the zigzag thinking paths and interplay of reasoning modes and schema elements involved. We interpret the cognitive processes in terms of theoretical concepts that emerged, namely: case-based, principle-based, experientialintuitive and practical-heuristic reasoning; knowledge elements and schemata; activation; metacognition and epistemic framing. The complexity of cognition revealed in this case study contrasts with the tidy principle-based solutions we present to students. The pervasive role of schemata, case-based reasoning, practical heuristic strategies, and their interplay with physics principles is noteworthy, since these aspects of cognition are generally neither recognized nor taught. The schema/reasoning-mode perspective has direct application in science teaching, learning and problem-solving.

D. Schuster and A. Undreiu, Cognition of an expert tackling an unfamiliar conceptual physics problem, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 265-268 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266732.

Using cognitive apprenticeship framework and multiple-possibility problems to enhance epistemic cognition
Vazgen Shekoyan and Eugenia Etkina
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 269-272, doi:10.1063/1.3266733
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Epistemic cognition can occur when a person is solving a problem that does not have one correct answer (a multiple-possibility problem). The solver is engaged in epistemic cognition if she/he examines different possibilities, assumptions, and evaluates the outcomes. Epistemic cognition is an important part of real life problem-solving. Physicists routinely engage in epistemic cognition when they solve problems. But in educational settings, we polish problems and make them single-possibility problems. Thus students rarely get a chance to engage in epistemic cognition while working on problem-solving tasks. We introduced multiple-possibility physics problems in recitation sections of an algebra-based introductory physics course at Rutgers University. We describe here how we have incorporated the cognitive apprenticeship framework in the course and evaluated its effectiveness as a method of enhancing students' epistemic cognition level.

V. Shekoyan and E. Etkina, Using cognitive apprenticeship framework and multiple-possibility problems to enhance epistemic cognition, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 269-272 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266733.

Physics Graduate Students’ Attitudes and Approaches to Problem Solving
Chandralekha Singh and Andrew J. Mason
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 273-276, doi:10.1063/1.3266734
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Students' attitudes and approaches to problem solving in physics can profoundly inluence their motivation to learn and their development of expertise. We administered an Attitudes and Approaches to Problem Solving (AAPS) survey to physics graduate students and analyzed their responses about problem solving in their own graduate level courses vs. problem solving in introductory physics. The physics graduate students' responses to the survey questions were also compared with those of introductory students and physics faculty. Survey responses suggest that graduate students' attitudes about graduate level problem solving sometimes has similar patterns to introductory-level problem solving by introductory students.

C. Singh and A. J. Mason, Physics Graduate Students’ Attitudes and Approaches to Problem Solving, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 273-276 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266734.

Student difficulties with concepts related to entropy, heat engines and the Carnot cycle
Trevor I. Smith, Warren M. Christensen, and John R. Thompson
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 277-280, doi:10.1063/1.3266735
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We report the rationale behind and preliminary results from a guided-inquiry conceptual worksheet (a.k.a. tutorial) dealing with Carnot’s efficiency and the Carnot cycle. The tutorial was administered in an upper-level thermodynamics course at the University of Maine. The tutorial was implemented as the third in a three-tutorial sequence designed to improve students’ understanding of entropy and its applications. Initial pre- and post-tutorial assessment data suggest that student understanding of heat engines and the Carnot cycle improved as a result of tutorial instruction.

T. I. Smith, W. M. Christensen, and J. R. Thompson, Student difficulties with concepts related to entropy, heat engines and the Carnot cycle, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 277-280 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266735.

Tracking Recitation Instructors’ Awareness of Student Conceptual Difficulties
Benjamin T. Spike and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 281-284, doi:10.1063/1.3266737
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As part of a broader study of the impact of teaching environment and preparation on the conceptions of teaching and learning expressed by our graduate Teaching Assistants (TAs) and undergraduate Learning Assistants (LAs), we track shifts in instructor awareness of student ideas over the course of a week of preparing for and teaching in the Tutorials in Introductory Physics. Since TAs and LAs interact face-to-face with introductory physics students, we are interested in the nature of their educational practice and its impact on the success of reformed teaching methods. In this study, we focus on a specific component of educational practice by asking recitation instructors to describe student difficulties with topics at various points in a week of teaching. We observe increased awareness of student difficulties on the Tutorials following preparation, but also conclude that resources like the Tutorial pre-test are not necessarily alerting TAs and LAs to the ideas they should be prepared to discuss with their students.

B. T. Spike and N. D. Finkelstein, Tracking Recitation Instructors’ Awareness of Student Conceptual Difficulties, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 281-284 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266737.

Towards Understanding Classroom Culture: Students’ Perceptions of Tutorials
Chandra Turpen, Noah D. Finkelstein, and Steven J. Pollock
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 285-288, doi:10.1063/1.3266738
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Following the documentation of significant and reproducible student content learning gains through the use of the Tutorials at the University of Colorado (CU), we seek to understand the meaning that students are making of this reform. Spanning five years of Tutorials use at CU, we investigate if students’ perceptions of the Tutorials shift (become more or less favorable) after the Tutorials have become fully institutionalized. We find that they do not. We observe some semesters where the majority of students perceive the Tutorials to be highly useful for their learning, but this is rarely the case. We determine that students at CU generally do not like the Tutorials. Students’ perceptions of the utility and enjoyment of Tutorials do vary significantly on a semester-by-semester basis suggesting that both the lead and secondary faculty members involved in a Tutorial course may influence the students’ experience in Tutorials.

C. Turpen, N. D. Finkelstein, and S. J. Pollock, Towards Understanding Classroom Culture: Students’ Perceptions of Tutorials, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 285-288 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266738.

Addressing Student Difficulties with Buoyancy
Doris J. Wagner, Sam Cohen, and Adam Moyer
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 289-292, doi:10.1063/1.3266739
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This study is part of an ongoing effort to develop a diagnostic test assessing student understanding of fluids. In particular, this paper addresses a question involving density and buoyancy. The "five blocks" question, which asks students to predict the final location of blocks released from rest when submerged and explain their reasoning, has been administered to hundreds of students in three different introductory courses at Grove City College for the past four years. We used the common student responses to craft a multiple-select version of the five blocks problem in 2008. This paper will present the effects that changing workshop activities have had on student performance on the five block question.

D. J. Wagner, S. Cohen, and A. Moyer, Addressing Student Difficulties with Buoyancy, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 289-292 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266739.

Time-Series Analysis: Assessing the Effects of Multiple Educational Interventions in a Small-Enrollment Course
Aaron R. Warren
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 293-296, doi:10.1063/1.3266740
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Time-series designs are an alternative to pretest-posttest methods that are able to identify and measure the impacts of multiple educational interventions, even for small student populations. Here, we use an instrument employing standard multiple-choice conceptual questions to collect data from students at regular intervals. The questions are modified by asking students to distribute 100 Confidence Points among the options in order to indicate the perceived likelihood of each answer option being the correct one. Tracking the class-averaged ratings for each option produces a set of time-series. ARIMA (autoregressive integrated moving average) analysis is then used to test for, and measure, changes in each series. In particular, it is possible to discern which educational interventions produce significant changes in class performance. Cluster analysis can also identify groups of students whose ratings evolve in similar ways. A brief overview of our methods and an example are presented.

A. R. Warren, Time-Series Analysis: Assessing the Effects of Multiple Educational Interventions in a Small-Enrollment Course, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 293-296 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266740.

Fourth Graders’ Framing of an Electric Circuits Task
Victoria Winters and David Hammer
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 297-300, doi:10.1063/1.3266741
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Previous work shows that college students have more difficulty lighting a bulb with a single wire and a battery than with two wires, results that have informed the design of activities. We present some unexpected findings from two 4th grade classes engaged in a 15-hour inquiry module on electric circuits. Students successfully lit the bulb with a single wire in a variety of ways, but students from both classes showed and expressed the view that the bulb must be in direct contact with a battery in order for it to light. We suggest this arose from students framing the task as a building activity, and we analyze two classroom episodes in support of this interpretation.

V. Winters and D. Hammer, Fourth Graders’ Framing of an Electric Circuits Task , 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 297-300 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266741.

Comparing Three Methods for Teaching Newton’s Second Law
Michael C. Wittmann and Mindi Kvaal Anderson
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 301-304, doi:10.1063/1.3266742
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As a follow-up to a study comparing learning of Newton’s Third Law when using three different forms of tutorial instruction, we have compared student learning of Newton’s Second Law (NSL) when students use the Tutorials in Introductory Physics, Activity-Based Tutorials, or Open Source Tutorials. We split an algebra-based, life sciences physics course in 3 groups and measured students’ pre- and post-instruction scores on the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation (FMCE). We look at only the NSL-related clusters of questions on the FMCE to compare students’ performance and normalized gains. Students entering the course are not significantly different, and students using the Tutorials in Introductory Physics show the largest normalized gains in answering question on the FMCE correctly. These gains are significant in only one cluster of questions, the Force Sled cluster.

M. C. Wittmann and M. K. Anderson, Comparing Three Methods for Teaching Newton’s Second Law, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 301-304 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266742.

Are Students’ Responses and Behaviors Consistent?
Umporn Wutchana, Narumon Emarat, and Eugenia Etkina
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 305-308, doi:10.1063/1.3266743
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In our project we attempted to determine if students whose beliefs about physics are more expert-like and less expert-like, as judged by the CLASS survey, are different in terms of their approaches to learning physics and whether their behaviors in the classroom are consistent with their responses to the surveys. All students enrolled in the second semester of an introductory physics course took the CLASS survey. We used survey results to identify expert-like and non-expert like students to participate in the study. We selected four highest scoring and four lowest scoring students. We then observed those students in laboratories and problem-solving recitations during one semester and interviewed them at the end. We found some inconsistencies between students’ responses to the survey and their actual behaviors as well as several significant differences in behaviors of more expert-like and less expert-like students. This work was supported by the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology, Thailand.

U. Wutchana, N. Emarat, and E. Etkina, Are Students’ Responses and Behaviors Consistent?, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 305-308 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266743.

Students’ Understanding of Stern Gerlach Experiment
Guangtian Zhu and Chandralekha Singh
AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, pp. 309-312, doi:10.1063/1.3266744
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The Stern Gerlach experiment has played a central role in the discovery of spin angular momentum and it has also played a pivotal role in elucidating foundational issues in quantum mechanics. Here, we discuss investigation of students' difficulties related to the Stern Gerlach experiment by giving written tests and interviewing advanced undergraduate and graduate students in quantum mechanics. We also discuss preliminary data that suggest that the Quantum Interactive Learning Tutorial (QuILT) related to the Stern Gerlach experiment is helpful in improving students' understanding of these concepts.

G. Zhu and C. Singh, Students’ Understanding of Stern Gerlach Experiment, 2009 PERC Proceedings [Ann Arbor, MI, July 29-30, 2009], edited by M. Sabella, C. Singh, and C. Henderson [AIP Conf. Proc. 1179, 309-312 (2009)], doi:10.1063/1.3266744.