AAPT_WM14program_final - page 67

January 4–7, 2014
Monday afternoon
3:30-5:30 p.m. Using Minimum Acceptable GRE
Scores for Graduate Admissions Suppresses
Diversity in STEM
Panel – Casey Miller, University of South Florida, Physics, Tampa, FL
I will present data showing that significant performance disparities on
the GRE general test exist based on the test taker’s race and gender.
Because of the belief that high GRE scores qualify one for graduate
studies, the diversity issues faced by STEM fields may originate, at
least in part, in misuse of the GRE scores by graduate admissions
committees. I will quantitatively demonstrate this by showing that
the combination of a hard cut-off and the different score distributions
leads to the systematic underrepresentation of certain groups. I will
present data from USF’s PhD program that shows a lack of correla-
tion between GRE scores and research ability; similar null results are
emerging from numerous other programs. I will then discuss how as-
sessing non-cognitive competencies in the selection process may lead
to a more enlightened search for the next generation of scientists.
1. C. W. Miller, “Admissions Criteria and Diversity in Graduate School”,
, Issue 2, The Back Page (2013)
snews/201302/backpage.cfm Supported in part by the NSF.
3:30-5:30 p.m. Graduate Education in Physics:
Problem Solving, Curriculum, and Approaches to
Problem Solving
Panel – Andrew Mason, University of Central Arkansas, Lewis Science
Center, Conway, AR 72035-0001;
Physics problem solving for graduate-level students was first analyzed
in a study by Chi et al. (1981), in which graduate students were
expert-like problem solvers in categorizing introductory level phys-
ics problems. This hallmark study is revisited in light of graduate
students’ concerns with regard to further development of problem
solving skills. Data collected with regard to attitudes and approaches
toward problem solving is used to explore graduate students’ own
concerns and areas of growth towards an expert-like approach to
problem solving. An investigation into the role of graduate-level core
courses at the University of Pittsburgh was also conducted; topics
explored include the advanced role of quantitative mathematical ap-
proaches in more rigorous material, the use of conceptual under-
standing within the core course material, and the degree of congru-
ence of success in core courses with future success as researchers.
Session DD: Mentoring High
School Teachers
Location: Salon 6
Sponsor: Committee on Diversity in Physics
Co-Sponsor: Committee on Physics in High Schools
Date: Monday, January 6
Time: 3:30–5:10 p.m.
Presider: Geraldine Cochran
3:30-4 p.m. Mentoring HS Teachers – How did I get
Invited – David Jones, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199;
This is a talk on the details of mentoring HS physics teachers. I have
evolved from a “Mr. Physics” teacher role into a slightly different role
that involves mentoring high school teachers on many different parts
of the “mentoring spectrum.” My current professional role as the
TIR at FIU has allowed me to actively participate in the mentoring
of teachers through my interactions with HS teachers in our local
physics teaching community. Mentoring other people who love and
enjoy physics teaching has given me a burst of energy and enthusiasm
toward teaching at a time in my career when energy and enthusiasm
can be in short supply! I hope to highlight some of the different types
of mentoring roles that veteran teachers may find themselves in at
certain points in their teaching career...you never know when your
career path may veer into the mentoring role!
4-4:30 p.m. Mentoring Teachers Through
Invited – Ximena Cid, University of Washington, Department of Physics,
Seattle, WA 98195-1560;
The Physics Education Group (PEG) at the University of Washington
(UW) offers courses that directly impact teachers. One sequence of
courses is focused on the preparation of pre-service K-12 teachers
held during the academic-year and the other sequence of courses
provides professional development for in-service K-12 teachers dur-
ing the Summer Institute. In-service teachers who have participated
in the Summer Institute, and who live within commuting distance of
UW, also attend the academic-year Continuation Course. During the
Continuation Course, teachers have the opportunity to collaborate
with other teachers or with instructors from PEG as they continue
to adapt their teaching practices. In addition, pre-service teachers
are invited once a year to attend the Continuation Course in order
to interact with current K-12 teachers. This talk will focus on the
discussions that take place during the Continuation Course and how
mentoring develops organically through teacher-teacher interactions
as well as through teacher-instructor interactions.
4:30-5 p.m. Mentoring Pre-service Teachers as Part
of the Teaching Immersion Institute (TII)
Invited – Kara Weisenburger, Chicago State University and Chicago
High School for the Arts, 3847 N Kenmore Ave., Chicago, IL 60613;
Mentoring programs for teachers are traditionally implemented in
high schools to increase the retention and promote effective teaching
practices of a novice teacher. Chicago High School for the Arts, Gary
Comer High School, and Chicago State University are collaborating
on a project that introduces mentoring early to pre-service teachers as
part of our Teaching Immersion Institute (TII). In this talk I will dis-
cuss the informal process of mentoring pre-service teachers through
the TII course and describe how it fosters the relationship between
pre-service and in-service high school teachers in a semester-long
action research project. In addition, I will highlight resources and
discuss the importance of including diverse mentoring experiences in
a teacher preparation program.
*supported by the American Physical Society PhysTEC Program.
5-5:10 p.m. High School Electronics Course with
College Faculty Collaboration
Contributed – Andrew F. Rex, University of Puget Sound, Department of
Physics, Tacoma, WA 98416;
Johnny Devine Science and Math Institute
The APS Physics and Instructional Resources (PAIR) program sup-
ports teams of college and high school faculty members working
together to improve physics education in the high schools. Supported
by a PAIR grant, we designed and taught a project-based high school
course in electronics, first during an intensive January term and then
in the spring semester. We will discuss how our collaboration was
supported by the PAIR program and will present test results from
these first classes.
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