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Diagnostic Assessments of Student Attitudes and Approaches to Problem Solving in an Engineering Dynamics Course

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Assessment Strategies in Mechanics

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Ning Fang Utah State University

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Ning Fang is Professor and Department Head of the Department of Engineering Education at Utah State University, U.S.A. He has taught a variety of courses at both graduate and undergraduate levels, such as engineering dynamics, metal machining, and design for manufacturing. His research in engineering education are in broad areas of engineering learning & problem solving, technology enhanced learning, and K-12 STEM education. His research in engineering focuses on the modeling and optimization of metal machining processes. He earned his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

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Diagnostic assessments help the instructor better understand students’ prior knowledge and skills when students take a specific course. This paper reports the results of diagnostic assessments of student attitudes and approaches to problem solving in a sophomore-year undergraduate course called Engineering Dynamics. A 33-item survey instrument called Attitudes and Approaches to Problem Solving (AAPS) Survey developed by Mason and Singh was adopted in the present study. The AAPS survey was administered to a total of 190 engineering undergraduates who took Engineering Dynamics in two recent semesters. Student responses to the AAPS survey in the present study were compared with expert responses. The results show that less than 50% of students in two semesters provided the same responses as expert responses for 8 survey items: No. 12 (28.9%), No. 31 (30.0%), No. 30 (30.5%), No. 9 (40.0%), No. 20 (41.1%), No. 3 (43.2%), No. 5 (44.2%), and No. 11 (46.8%). Among those eight items, four items (Nos. 12, 3, 5, 11) are related to mathematics and equations; two items (Nos. 31 and 30) are related to abstract vs. concrete thinking; one item (No. 9) is about problem solving in different contexts; and one item (No. 20) deals with reflection and self-regulated learning. These research findings as well as their implications and significance are discussed.

Fang, N. (2020, June), Diagnostic Assessments of Student Attitudes and Approaches to Problem Solving in an Engineering Dynamics Course Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34466

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