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Exploring Expert Reasoning through an Optics Assessment

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Engineering Physics and Physics Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics and Physics

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Paper Authors


Amy Fritz Stanford University

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Amy Fritz is an electrical engineering PhD student at Stanford University who studies engineering education.

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Carl E. Wieman Stanford University

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This paper discusses an optics assessment designed to measure problem-solving decisions in the context of optical engineering. It is part of a larger, cross-disciplinary collaboration to identify important problem-solving decisions across science, engineering, and medicine and create assessments that measure these decisions within the context of a given field. We describe the structure of the assessment, the problem-solving decisions it assesses, and our qualitative analysis for the refinement and preliminary evaluation of the assessment. We used think-aloud interviews to observe students’ problem-solving processes as they worked on this assessment. Students struggled with creating predictive frameworks, constraining the solution space, and reflecting on solutions. From the results of this analysis, we are creating a shorter, computer-based version of the assessment that still captures the most difficult problem-solving decisions, but allows for easier analysis and testing on a larger sample size.

Fritz, A., & Wieman, C. E. (2019, June), Exploring Expert Reasoning through an Optics Assessment Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32806

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