June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Engineering Physics & Physics
22.260.1 - 22.260.13
Assessment of student learning is of critical importance in terms of revealing effective pedagogicallearning tools and strategies. This paper reports on a study of student learning of basic mechanicsconcepts in an introductory physics course. Both qualitative and quantitative assessment strategieswere employed. Free-writing activities were used to qualitatively assess student understandingthroughout the learning process. Writing has long been shown to serve as an effective tool to improvethe quality of student engagement and learning. In this paper, the free-writing approach will bedescribed and one exercise from the spring 2010 semester will be presented as it relates to basicconcepts in mechanics. A sampling of student responses to this exercise will be shared. Toquantitatively address the question of whether deeper understanding was achieved, results from theForce Concept Inventory (FCI) will be presented. The FCI is a widely used multiple-choice, survey-typeinstrument used to assess student understanding of basic mechanics concepts in physics. Data analysiswill include a presentation of pre- and post-test gains from the same population of students. This dataanalysis will include a presentation of learning gains for the class a whole as well as a comparison ofgains between the males and females within the overall student population. Preliminary results suggestthat while females have, on average, higher overall grades in the course as well as higher overall GPAs,their gains as measured by the FCI are lower than those achieved by male students. A discussion of thesignificance of these results will be presented and possible issues related to this apparent genderdiscrepancy will be proposed.
Larkin, T. L. (2011, June), Assessment of Student Understanding in Physics: An Integrated Qualitative and Quantitative Approach Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17541
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