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Misconceptions About Rate Processes: Preliminary Evidence For The Importance Of Emergent Conceptual Schemas In Thermal And Transport Sciences

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Conference

2006 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Student Misconceptions and Problem Solving Abiltiy

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

20

Page Numbers

11.933.1 - 11.933.20

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/596

Download Count

75

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Paper Authors

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Ronald Miller Colorado School of Mines

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RONALD L. MILLER is professor of chemical engineering at the Colorado School of Mines where he has taught chemical engineering and interdisciplinary courses and conducted research in educational methods for the past twenty years. He has received three university-wide teaching awards and has held a Jenni teaching fellowship at CSM. He has received grant awards for educational research from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education (FIPSE), the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

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Ruth Streveler Colorado School of Mines

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RUTH A. STREVELER is the Director of the Center for Engineering Education at the Colorado School of Mines and Associate Research Professor in Academic Affairs. Dr. Streveler received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She also holds a Master of Science in Zoology from the Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Indiana University at Bloomington. She is co-principle investigator of three NSF-sponsored projects: Developing an Outcomes Assessment Instrument for Identifying Engineering Student Misconceptions in Thermal and Transport Sciences (DUE - 0127806), Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (ESI-0227558), and Rigorous Research in Engineering Education: Creating a Community of Practice (DUE-0341127).

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Barbara Olds National Science Foundation and Colorado School of Mines

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BARBARA M. OLDS is Professor of Liberal Arts and International Studies at the Colorado School of Mines. She has participated in a number of curriculum innovation projects and has been active in the engineering education and assessment communities. She was a Fulbright lecturer/researcher in Sweden in 1999. Dr. Olds is presently serving as Director of the Division of Research, Evaluation and Communication in the EHR Directorate of the National Science Foundation.

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Michelene Chi University of Pittsburgh

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MICHELENE T.H. CHI is Senior Scientist in the Learning Research and Development Center and Professor of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. With degrees in mathematics and psychology from Carnegie-Mellon University, her research interests focus on student learning and understanding of scientific concepts, cognitive assessment of learning, and the effectiveness of tutoring. Her paper entitled “Categorization and Representation of Physics Problems by Experts and Novices” published in 1981 established the field of expert/novice studies and is the most cited publication in Cognitive Science.

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Mary Nelson University of Colorado

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MARY A. NELSON received her Masters degree in Mathematics from George Mason University and her PhD in the Research and Evaluation Methods from the University of Colorado, Boulder working with Dr. Lorrie Shepard. Mary has taught math at the middle school, high school, and college levels for 35 years and is presently conducting research on three funded grants studying how to transform introductory college science and mathematics courses, how to improve K-12 mathematics teaching, and assessing engineering student misconceptions in thermal and transport sciences.

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Monica Geist University of Northern Colorado

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MONICA R. GEIST is a doctoral student in the Applied Statistics and Research Methods program at the University of Northern Colorado. Monica has taught math at the college level for 15 years. Monica is presently conducting research on engineering student misconceptions in electrical and mechanical engineering.

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

Misconceptions about Rate Processes: Preliminary Evidence for the Importance of Emergent Conceptual Schemas in Thermal and Transport Sciences Ronald L. Miller, Ruth A. Streveler, Barbara M. Olds Colorado School of Mines

Michelene T. H. Chi University of Pittsburgh

Mary A. Nelson, Monica R. Geist University of Colorado/University of Northern Colorado

Abstract

This paper reports preliminary evidence that a significant number of engineering students possess robust misconceptions about rate processes such as transfer of heat even after years of study in thermal and transport sciences including fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and thermodynamics. Data from the Thermal and Transport Concept Inventory (TTCI) currently under development and additional questions specifically written for the present study are reported and analyzed. Results indicate the presence of a persistent misconception about the relationship between the rate of heat transfer and amount of energy transferred in processes of engineering interest. We use the emergent theory developed by Chi and colleagues to propose a possible explanation for these findings.

Introduction

With funding from the National Science Foundation (DUE-0127806), our research team is completing development of a concept inventory instrument to measure engineering students’ understanding of difficult concepts in thermal and transport sciences (e.g. heat transfer, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics). [1-4] Version 2.21 of the instrument, known as the Thermal and Transport Concept Inventory (TTCI) has been beta-tested at six United States engineering institutions and psychometric results have been used to test instrument validity and reliability. Preliminary beta test results from this facet of the instrument development have been reported previously. [4] Nine of the original 32 questions did not perform at expected levels of reliability and have been replaced in version 3.0 of the TTCI. Additional beta testing is on-going and will be completed before wide-spread dissemination of the instrument via the web scheduled for mid-2006.

As part of our psychometric work, we use factor analysis and cross-tabulations to identify common misconceptions which are robust and which transfer across question contexts and disciplines (e.g. fundamental misconceptions which exist in, say, both fluid mechanics and heat transfer). The goal of this analysis is to identify student misconceptions which can be repaired in one context with the expectation of far transfer to other disciplinary contexts students might be expected to encounter. So far, this

Miller, R., & Streveler, R., & Olds, B., & Chi, M., & Nelson, M., & Geist, M. (2006, June), Misconceptions About Rate Processes: Preliminary Evidence For The Importance Of Emergent Conceptual Schemas In Thermal And Transport Sciences Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/596

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