Portland

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students’ understanding of physics. We calculated correlation coefficients

as indicators of the functionality and transference level of the evaluated

topics.

AB06:

9:10-9:20 a.m. Students’ Difficulties in Learning the

Field Theory in Electromagnetism at First Year of

University

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.

AB07:

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.

AB08:

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.

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

AC01:

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.

AC02:

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.

AC03:

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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