aapt_program_final_sm13 - page 46

Monday morning
students’ understanding of physics. We calculated correlation coefficients
as indicators of the functionality and transference level of the evaluated
9:10-9:20 a.m. Students’ Difficulties in Learning the
Field Theory in Electromagnetism at First Year of
Contributed – Jenaro Guisasola, University of the Basque Country, Plaza
Europa, 1 San Sebastian, 20018 Spain;
This study examines first-year engineering students’ understanding of the
field theory in classical electromagnetism. It is assumed that significant
knowledge of the field theory is a basic prerequisite when students have
to think about electromagnetic phenomena. We made an epistemological
analysis of the Maxwell’s field theory that shows the principal concep-
tual knots of the theory. From the analysis we have raised questions
to test students’ understanding. We found that most students failed to
distinguish between field concept and forces, to recognize that field can-
not change instantaneously, identifying the source of magnetic field, to
confuse the imaginary representation of the field lines with real lines in
the space. It is concluded that although the questionnaire and interviews
involved a limited range of phenomena, the identified can provide in-
formation for curriculum development by identifying the strengths and
weaknesses of students’ conceptions.
9:20-9:30 a.m. Using PER-based Curriculum for
Non-STEM Students Under Difficult Conditions
Contributed – Julio C. Benegas, Universidad Nacional de San Luis, Ej. de
los Andes, 950 San Luis, SL 5700, Argentina;
Carmen Esteban, Myriam Villegas, Silvina Guidugli, Universidad Nacional
de San Luis
The general subject of how to implement effective pedagogy in settings
very different to those where they were developed is addressed in this
presentation. The case study is the general physics course for pharmacy
students at a National University in Argentina whose main subjects
are mechanics, E&M, optics, sound and fluids. Course evaluation is
problem-solving based. An extra difficulty is the very low initial students’
knowledge of basic math and physics, compounded with their very poor
scientific reasoning abilities. Results show important learning gains
obtained by using PER-based curriculum in lectures, problem solv-
ing and lab sessions, while the previous traditionally oriented courses
obtained low reduced gains, resembling those previously obtained by
STEM students of American colleges and universities. The measuring
instruments are a conceptual math and physics diagnostic, built up with
selected questions of a multiple-choice, single answer PER-based test and
the Lawson test of scientific reasoning.
9:30-9:40 a.m. The Trouble with Logarithmic Algebra
Contributed – James Day, University of British Columbia, 6224 Agricultural
Road, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, Canada;
Doug Bonn, Natasha Holmes, Ido Roll, University of British Columbia
The ability to handle real data is a key skill for students to develop.
Scientists communicate using various representations of data (i.e. tables,
graphs, and equations) and must be fluent in translating between them.
The ability to analyze data has been given prominence in the descrip-
tions of the goals of physics teaching by policy bodies such as the AAPT:
one specific learning goal states that “students should be able to graph
data and describe the relationships between quantities both in their
own words and in terms of the mathematical relationship between the
variables.” In-class assessments have shown us that major obstacles for
students in translating from a graph or table to a mathematical model
stem from deficiencies in basic logarithmic algebra ability. In this talk
I will share the concepts that students struggle with most and suggest
strategies to target this base skill.
Session AC: Panel – Implementing
Competency-based Grading in a Vari-
ety of Physics Classroom Settings
Location: Broadway I/II
Sponsor: Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education
Co-Sponsor: Committee on Physics in High Schools
Date: Monday, July 15
Time: 8–10 a.m.
Presider: Aaron Titus
What is Competency (or Standards)-Based Grading and how can
it be implemented? This panel consists of high school and college
physics teachers who are experienced with Standards-based Grad-
ing (SBG) in a variety of different settings. They will define SBG,
will describe the philosophy behind SBG, and will offer practical
suggestions for applying SBG in physics classes of all levels.
8-10 a.m. The Logistics of Effective Implementation of
Standards-based Grading
Panel – Joshua Gates, The Tatnall School, 5 E Brookland Ave., Wilmington,
DE 19805;
The pedagogical implications of standards-based grading are attractive to
many teachers: increased student accountability for learning, lack of con-
founding variables in the grade, attention to sustained mastery, incentiv-
izing student improvement, and clear expectations of learning objectives
for students and teachers. The logistics of implementation can be a barrier
to adoption or an impediment and distraction during use, obscuring the
goals of SBG, however. There are many choices to be made, and the costs
and benefits of a large variety of SBG implementation options will be
presented: student-initiated or teacher-initiated reassessments? What type
of grading scale will be used? How many standards should be used? What’s
necessary to demonstrate proficiency? How should reassessments be gener-
ated, tracked, and managed? Some digital tools to assist in these efforts,
including Google forms, ActiveGrade, LaTeX, and custom software will be
presented as well.
8-10 a.m. Student Voice-based Assessments
Panel – Andy Rundquist, Hamline University, 1536 Hewitt Ave., MS B1807,
Saint Paul, MN 55104;
Having grown to appreciate the oral exams that my department uses, I
set about finding ways to craft assessments that allow me to get a feel for
my students’ understanding of, confidence with, and ability to apply the
various concepts we’re studying. I’ve come to rely heavily on student initi-
ated assessments that involve their voice. They make either pencasts or
screencasts of their work and submit the videos to me. I will talk about the
logistics and benefits involved.
8-10 a.m. Switching to SBG – It Can Work for You
Panel – Stephen T. Collins, Lusher Charter School, 5624 Freret St., New
Orleans, LA 70115,
For many, switching to a grading scheme that focuses on student learning
(“standards”) rather than tasks (“points”) is philosophically attractive but
logistically intimidating. The assessment system used in physics classes at
Lusher Charter School is presented as a case study, highlighting aspects
that enhance student learning, promote student accountability, manage
teacher time commitment, and make the system easy for students and
parents to understand. Alternative implementation approaches are also
considered, with varying levels of technology integration. Learn how to
make the change—you and your students will be glad you did.
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