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Concept Based Instruction And Personal Response Systems (Prs) As An Assessment Method For Introductory Materials Science And Engineering

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Useful Assessment in Materials Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.334.1 - 10.334.10



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Paper Authors

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Edward Goo

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Maura Borrego

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Concept-based Instruction and Personal Response Systems (PRS) as an Assessment Method for Introductory Materials Science and Engineering

Maura Jenkins and Edward K. Goo University of Southern California

Abstract Personal response systems (PRS) are gaining in use as a method to engage students in large science and engineering lectures. Faculty pose questions to the class mid-lecture and receive immediate feedback via remote-control “clickers” as to whether students understand the underlying concepts necessary to solve problems on homework and exams. Thus, the pace of the lecture can be adjusted accordingly to focus on the most difficult concepts.

This method has been thoroughly developed for introductory chemistry and physics courses. Pioneers have developed ConcepTests, or multiple-choice questions that focus on conceptual understanding, rather than calculation. These questions encourage peer interaction, as instructors allow students to vote a second time after discussing their initial answer with classmates. Introductory Materials Science and Engineering shares many characteristics of the courses in which this method has been successful; lectures are often large, the course is required, and many students are non-majors.

In this paper, we share our experience in applying this method to an introductory materials science course. We will present data on student responses, test scores, demographics, and comparison to previous semesters without the response systems. Plans to develop a common bank of materials ConcepTests, building on existing concept inventories will also be discussed. Practical details about the equipment and software will be shared as well.

Introduction Concept inventories, or multiple-choice exams focusing on 20-30 major concepts of a specific field, have recently experienced a surge in development as assessments independent of high-stakes testing. In recent years, concept inventories have been developed and tested for reliability in such fields as physics (mechanics)1, statics2, fluid mechanics3, materials4, and chemistry5. In developing these inventories, faculty focus on concepts and reasoning over computation, using varying degrees of rigor to distinguish between the two2. In many cases, the developers make use of open-ended responses from current students to develop distractors based on common misconceptions5. Reliability is tested by analyzing individual test items3 or administering the entire assessment to multiple groups of students4.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Goo, E., & Borrego, M. (2005, June), Concept Based Instruction And Personal Response Systems (Prs) As An Assessment Method For Introductory Materials Science And Engineering Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14146

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