aapt_program_final_sm13 - page 78

Tuesday morning
Session CE: Student Attitudes, Confi-
dence, Self-Efficacy, and Motivation
Location: Salon Ballroom II/III
Sponsor: AAPT
Date: Tuesday, July 16
Time: 7:30–8:50 a.m.
Presider: Natan Samuels
7:30-7:40 a.m. Assessing Student Learning by Gain in
their Confidence
Contributed – Niklas Hellgren, MGAessiah College, One College Ave., Suite
3041, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055;
Abaz Kryemadhi, Messiah College
A concern with multiple-choice concept tests is whether a correct answer
reflects true knowledge or just a lucky guess. We report on a study where
for each question of a standard concept test we also asked the students on a
1-to-5 scale how confident they were in their answer. As expected, in most
cases we observed a correlation between gain in correct answers and gain
in confidence. However, we give examples where learning is demonstrated
by an increase in confidence only, even when there is no actual gain in
number of correct answers. In addition, using this approach, student mis-
conceptions can easily be identified by a high confidence level associated
with an incorrect answer.
7:40-7:50 a.m. Shedding Light on Confusion
Contributed – Jason E. Dowd, Duke University, Box 90338, 130 Science
Drive, Durham, NC 27708;
Ives S. Araujo, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
Eric Mazur, Harvard University
Physics instructors typically try to avoid confusing students. However,
educators have challenged the truism, “confusion is bad,” as far back as
Socrates, who asked students to question assumptions and wrestle with
ideas. So, how should instructors interpret expressions of confusion? Dur-
ing two semesters of introductory physics involving Just-in-Time Teaching
(JiTT) and research-based reading materials, we evaluated performance on
reading assignments while simultaneously measuring students’ self-assess-
ment of their confusion over the material. We examined the relationship
between confusion and performance, confidence in reasoning, pre-course
self-efficacy and other measures of engagement. We find that expressions
of confusion are negatively related to initial performance, confidence in
reasoning and self-efficacy, but positively related to final performance
when all factors are considered simultaneously. In other words, we are able
to identify and largely isolate a productive role of confusion. Ultimately,
this approach allows instructors to assess students’ metacognition and
perhaps even promote such constructive confusion.
7:50-8 a.m. In-the-Moment Affective Experience in
Calculus-based Physics
Contributed – Jayson M. Nissen, University of Maine, 120 Bennett Hall,
Orono, ME 04469;
Jonathan T. Shemwell, Univerisity of Maine
Utilizing an in-the-moment measurement technique called the Experi-
ence Sampling Method (ESM), we collected affective experience data from
students in a university calculus-based physics course and in the students’
other STEM and non-STEM courses. Participants in the ESM completed
very quick surveys in the midst of classes and other activities during two
one-week periods. Surveys were prompted by text message at semi-
randomly chosen points throughout each day. Students exhibited lower
self-efficacy and greater frustration and stress in the physics course than in
the other subject courses. The presentation will describe the ESM method
and present our findings with implications for physics instruction.
8-8:10 a.m. Characterizing Physics Students’ Scientific
Communication Skills for Non-Expert Audiences
Contributed – Kathleen A. Hinko, University of Colorado, Boulder, 440 UCB,
Boulder, CO 80309;
Cameron Gil, Noah D Finkelstein, University of Colorado, Boulder
The ability to effectively communicate scientific content to non-expert
audiences is of increasing importance to scientists and the public at large.
Drawing on both observations of and literature about expert practitioners,
we present a framework for assessment of basic scientific communication
skills of scientists communicating with non-expert audiences. Drawing
from this framework, we measure scientists’ use of language, style, and
gesture to infer their broader models of communication that are enacted in
varying settings. Demonstrating the utility of this framework, we analyze
videos of physics undergraduate and graduate students charged with
explaining 1) the concept of velocity and 2) their scientific research, as if
they were speaking to an audience of middle school children. Using these
data, we characterize university physics students’ scientific communication
skills and inferred models of communication. Improvement in scientific
communication is observed for university students after volunteering in an
after school physics education program even after one semester.
8:10-8:20 a.m. Boundary Objects that Mediate
Students’ Motivation to do Physics
Contributed – Ben Van Dusen, CU Boulder, School of Education, 249 UCB,
Boulder, CO 80309;
Valerie Otero, CU Boulder
This physics education research examines how specific tools can serve as
boundary objects that mediate between a student’s intrinsic motivation and
physics. Intrinsically motivating activities are characterized by the extent
to which they facilitate a sense of competence, autonomy, and relatedness
(known in the literature as basic psychological needs). In our study, we
operationalize these constructs and demonstrate that students develop
a sense competence, autonomy, and relatedness when engaging in an
iPad-enhanced classroom environment. We attribute students’ develop-
ment of motivation for physics to the role of tools--specifically iPads acting
as “boundary objects,” bridging students’ everyday cultural worlds with
physics classroom content. The social construct of a “boundary object” will
be elaborated to demonstrate how learning physics is, at its heart, a socio-
cultural cognitive task. R.M. Ryan.
Journal of Personality
8:30-8:40 a.m. Attitudinal Assessment of Curriculum on
the Physics of Medical Instruments
Contributed – James K. Johnson,* Portland State University, Portland, OR
Warren Christensen, North Dakota State University
Ralf Widenhorn, Grace Van Ness, Elizabeth Anderson, Portland State
Over the past several years, a curriculum targeting pre-health students and
focused on the physics behind biomedical instruments has been in devel-
opment at Portland State University. Recently, an effort to assess the cur-
riculum’s impact on students has begun. Given the hands-on focus of the
course and positive feedback from students, we hypothesized that it would
positively impact their attitudes toward physics and physics learning. We
administered the Colorado Learning Attitudes about small, non-significant
shift in student attitudes. This is a promising result, when contrasted with
the significant negative shift that is the norm among introductory courses
and occurred in our introductory algebra-based physics course. Science
Survey (CLASS) in order to cast light on students’ attitudes. The survey
was administered to the summer course and to introductory algebra-based
physics courses at the same university. The summer course “Physics in
Biomedicine” produced a small, non-significant shift in student attitudes.
This is a promising result, when contrasted with the significant negative
shift that is the norm among introductory courses and occurred in our
introductory algebra-based physics course.
*Sponsored by: Ralf Widenhorn
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