program_wb_i - page 118

Tuesday afternoon
PST2C07: 5-5:45 p.m. Evaluating the Effects of Course Style on
Learning About Energy & Environment
Poster – Rebecca J. Rosenblatt, Illinois State University, Bloomington, IL
We will present an ongoing project to design an assessment of content
learning and attitude changes for different versions of an energy and
environment physics course. The course is an examination of the scientific,
environmental, economic, ethical, and political aspects of energy produc-
tion and use. The course is taught in three ways: more traditional, flipped
with active-group engagement, and online. We will present the methods
we are using to build an assessment for these different course types. Also,
we will present several specific findings about student understanding and
reasoning within the topic of energy/environment. For example, we will
discuss students’ ability to support their ideas about global climate change
with data and to compare energy footprints for different activities like
walking a mile vs. using a computer for 20 minutes. Lastly, we will discuss
their responses to attitude survey questions similar to some of those on the
PST2C08: 5:45-6:30 p.m. The Multiple Roles of Assessment:
Rubric Design in the Upper Division
Poster – Leanne Doughty, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Steven J. Pollock, University of Colorado Boulder
Marcos D. Caballero, Michigan State University
End-of-course assessments play informative and evaluative roles in the
ongoing attempt to improve instruction in our undergraduate physics
courses: (i) Analysis of students’ answers to assessment items provides
insight into difficulties students experience with specific concepts and
required skills; (ii) Comparison of students’ performance on assessments
before and after instruction gives a measure of student learning. While
open-ended questions provide information about student reasoning (i),
training graders to score students’ answers to these type of questions so
that meaningful comparisons can be made (ii) requires significant invest-
ment. One solution for reliable analysis of an open-ended assessment for
both purposes is the use of a grading rubric that separates assessing student
work and uncovering student difficulties. We have constructed a separable
rubric for the Colorado Classical Mechanics/Math Methods Instrument
that can be used by untrained graders to reliably score the assessment (i)
and by others to unpack common student difficulties (ii).
PST2C09: 5-5:45 p.m. Learning Objectives Based Assessment in
a University Physics Course
Poster – Todd Zimmerman, University of Wisconsin-Stout, E Menomonie, WI
Learning Objectives Based Assessment (LOBA) is a type of standards-
referenced grading. Performance of students in a LOBA university physics
course is compared to students in a traditional points-based course.
Comparisons include FCI scores, problem solving ability, and student
study habits.
PST2C10: 5:45-6:30 p.m. Research-based Assessment Resourc-
es to Improve Teaching in Your Classroom and
Poster – Sarah B. McKagan, American Association of Physics, College Park,
MD 20740-3845;
Adrian Madsen, American Association of Physics Teachers
Eleanor C. Sayre, Kansas State University
Often physics faculty want to know how their students are doing compared
to other “students like mine.’’ As part of the PER User’s Guide (http://, we are developing a national database of research
validated assessment results and an accompanying data explorer. Here
faculty can securely upload their students’ anonymized assessment results
and compare them to students from peer institutions and the national
dataset, view a question-by-question breakdown and compare results over
evaluate the success of their instruction. The question now arises is the FCI
still a valid instrument to use to evaluate physics instruction? In this poster,
I will present a psychometric argument attempting to answer this question.
Alternative procedures will also be discussed.
PST2C03: 5-5:45 p.m. Force Concept Inventory Clarifications
Poster – Matthew R. Semak, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO
Wendy K. Adams, Richard D. Dietz, University of Northern Colorado
Over the past two years we have conducted three iterations of think-aloud
interviews with students as they grappled with questions on the Force
Concept Inventory (FCI). Doing so has shown us that the difficulties they
have with some questions have nothing to do with their understanding of
physics. These difficulties involve diagrams, notations, and vocabulary that
make perfect sense to physics teachers but can easily confuse beginning
students. Informed by those think-aloud interviews, we modified a subset
of questions to improve clarity. Also, for the same purpose, some new
questions were added. Modifications were made after each round of inter-
views, and then the latest version of the clarified FCI was administered to
students in two introductory physics courses. Here we present an overview
of our efforts by discussing some specific changes made and how students
responded to them.
PST2C04: 5:45-6:30 p.m. Developing a Survey of Thermody
namic Processes and First and Second Laws*
Poster – Benjamin R. Brown, University of Pittsburgh, 100 Allen Hall, Pitts-
burgh, PA 15260;
Chandralekha Singh, University of Pittsburgh
We developed a research-based multiple-choice survey on thermodynamic
processes and first and second laws of thermodynamics. The survey was
administered to students in introductory algebra-based and calculus-based
courses and also to physics majors in an upper-level thermodynamics
course and graduate students. Students at all levels were found to have
great difficulty with these concepts. The development process of the survey
and findings will be discussed.
*Supported by the National Science Foundation
PST2C05: 5-5:45 p.m. Developing and Evaluating Quantum
Mechanics Formalism and Postulates Survey*
Poster – Emily M. Marshman, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Physics
and Astronomy, Pittsburgh, PA 15260;
Chandralekha Singh, University of Pittsburgh
Development of multiple-choice tests related to a particular physics topic
is important for designing research-based learning tools to reduce the
difficulties related to the topic. We explore the difficulties that the advanced
undergraduate and graduate students have with quantum mechanics
formalism and postulates. We developed a research-based multiple-choice
survey that targets these issues to obtain information about the common
difficulties and administered it to undergraduate and graduate students.
We find that the advanced undergraduate and graduate students have many
common difficulties with these topics. The survey can be administered to
assess the effectiveness of various instructional strategies.
*Supported by the National Science Foundation
PST2C06: 5:45-6:30 p.m. Developing Static Fluids Assessment:
Limiting the Number of Conceptions Probed
Poster – Doris Jeanne Wagner, Grove City College, 100 Campus Drive,
Grove City, PA 16127;
We are developing an FCI-style assessment covering hydrostatic topics
commonly included in introductory physics courses. This past academic
year we took a step back and gave a “fluids conception” Likert-style survey
at many institutions, to try to narrow the range of conceptions targeted by
our final assessment to the most prevalent ones. This poster will present
commonly and uncommonly held misconceptions and plans for the future
of the assessment. We’re particularly interested in receiving suggestions
from other educators and in recruiting more beta-testers. Stop by and chat!
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