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Using the context of physics problem-solving to evaluate the coherence of student knowledge
written by Mel S. Sabella
The context of problem solving is used to show that students exhibit a local coherence but not global coherence in their physics knowledge. When presented with a problem-solving task, students often activate a coherent set of knowledge called a schema to solve the problem. Although the schemas students develop in the physics course are usually sufficient in the class, they are often insufficient for solving complex problems. Complex problems require a deep understanding where students have integrated their qualitative knowledge and quantitative knowledge with related physics topics. We show that our students activate schemas consisting of small amounts of knowledge and these schemas are often isolated from other schemas.

Physics Education Research (PER) has shown students in introductory physics lack a deep understanding of physics principles and concepts. PER has also shown that conceptual understanding can be improved and problem solving skills may be taught through a modified research-based curriculum. Despite these improvements, students still have difficulty developing a coherent knowledge of physics or connecting related physics concepts. In addition, they view quantitative problems and qualitative questions as distinct types of tasks, possessing different types of knowledge and rules for responding.

Using methods physics instructors and physics education researchers can use to examine coherence in student knowledge, distinct schemas for qualitative and quantitative knowledge are identified and provide evidence for local coherence in student physics knowledge. After identifying some of these difficulties in student understanding, we examine how students connect their qualitative and quantitative knowledge after going through a concept-based curriculum. In addition, we compare performance on quantitative questions between a physics class using the traditional problem-solving recitation and a class using Tutorials in Introductory Physics.
University: University of Maryland
Academic Department:  Physics Education Research Group
Pages 219
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Foundations
- Cognition
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Problem Solving
- Lower Undergraduate
- Graduate/Professional
- Upper Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Thesis/Dissertation
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© 1999 Mel Stephan Sabella
Type:
Ph.D.
ISBN Number:
9780599603493
Keywords:
Coherence, Problem-Solving, Qualitative Knowledge, Quantitative Knowledge, Schema Theory
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created May 30, 2010 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
August 22, 2016 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
January 1, 1999
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AIP Format
M. Sabella, Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1999, WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10057&DocID=3077).
AJP/PRST-PER
M. Sabella, Using the context of physics problem-solving to evaluate the coherence of student knowledge, Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1999, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10057&DocID=3077>.
APA Format
Sabella, M. (1999, January 1). Using the context of physics problem-solving to evaluate the coherence of student knowledge (Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1999). Retrieved December 12, 2017, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10057&DocID=3077
Chicago Format
Sabella, Mel. "Using the context of physics problem-solving to evaluate the coherence of student knowledge." Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1999. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10057&DocID=3077 (accessed 12 December 2017).
MLA Format
Sabella, Mel. "Using the context of physics problem-solving to evaluate the coherence of student knowledge." Ph.D.. 1 Jan. 1999. University of Maryland, 1999. 12 Dec. 2017 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10057&DocID=3077>.
BibTeX Export Format
@phdthesis{ Author = "Mel Sabella", Title = {Using the context of physics problem-solving to evaluate the coherence of student knowledge}, School = {University of Maryland}, Type = {Ph.D.}, Month = {January}, Year = {1999} }
Refer Export Format

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%T Using the context of physics problem-solving to evaluate the coherence of student knowledge
%R Ph.D.
%D January 1, 1999
%P 219
%I University of Maryland
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10057&DocID=3077
%O Physics Education Research Group
%O application/pdf
%O Ph.D.

EndNote Export Format

%0 Thesis
%A Sabella, Mel
%D January 1, 1999
%T Using the context of physics problem-solving to evaluate the coherence of student knowledge
%B Physics Education Research Group
%I University of Maryland
%P 219
%8 January 1, 1999
%9 Ph.D.
%@ 9780599603493
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10057&DocID=3077


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