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Standard-based Grading In Introductory Physics Laboratory Courses

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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

Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies

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Yan Wu University of Wisconsin, Platteville Orcid 16x16

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Yan Wu graduated from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in Precision Instruments and a minor in Electronics and Computer Technology. She received her M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alabama in 1998. She received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 2005. Her Ph.D. thesis work was in the area of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) with a focus on effect of space charges on micro- to nano-scale electrostatic actuation. Upon receiving her Ph.D., she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering in the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she worked in multiple projects using scanning probe microscopy to study material properties. In 2009, Yan Wu joined the faculty of the Department of Engineering Physics at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville. From fall 2015 to summer 2016, Yan Wu completed one year of sabbatical as a visiting scholar in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at University of Wisconsin – Madison.

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Anna Drazkowski

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Introductory physics laboratory courses are often among the first few laboratory courses that all students in engineering discipline take. The learning objectives of introductory physics lab courses, such as understanding experimental error and measurement uncertainty, are the foundation to the more sophisticated laboratory oriented courses in the junior and senior level engineering curriculum. However, as nearly all physics lab instructors can attest, many students fail to master certain lab skills that are related to understanding experimental error and measurement uncertainty, such as error analysis, linear regression, and reporting measurements results with appropriate uncertainty, even though these skills are practiced repeatedly throughout the course. In an effort to address this problem, the authors investigated whether standards-based grading (SBG) is a more effective assessment approach to help students with developing basic laboratory skills. Traditionally, the grades of the introductory physics lab are determined by a series of lab reports. In standards-based grading, students’ grades are attached to the specific learning objectives of the course. Instead of receiving a numerical score for each lab report, students are given feedback on the mastery of each of the learning outcomes using the EMRN rubric, where E stands for excellent, M stands for meet expectations, R stands for revision needed and N stands for not assessable. The grade on any particular standard indicates how well a student has mastered the standard at that point in time. This grade may increase over time as the student demonstrates increasing understanding and skill and it may decrease if new evidence reveals previously overlooked flaws in understanding. The hypothesis is that by linking assessments to specific learning objectives and providing students with opportunities to remedy deficiencies, student will understand exactly what they need in order to master the core knowledge and skills in introductory physics lab, thus become personally invested in acquiring the knowledge and skills for advancement. We will present how we implement SBG in introductory physics laboratory courses and the evaluation results using pre and post knowledge assessment tools in sections graded with SBG method and sections with traditional method.

Wu, Y., & Drazkowski, A. (2019, June), Standard-based Grading In Introductory Physics Laboratory Courses Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33281

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