program_wb_i - page 55

July 26–30, 2014
Monday morning
outcomes of the program utilizing this “enlightened approach” to admis-
sions, and share tools developed by the program for use by others.
9:30-10 a.m. Comprehensive Graduate Admissions at
Berkeley: Approaches and Outcomes
Invited – Colette E. Patt, UC Berkeley, 101 Durant Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-
UC Berkeley is one of the nation’s top producers of science PhDs. It also is
among the top-ranked institutions in awarding science PhDs to mem-
bers of groups historically underrepresented in these fields. In 2001, UC
Berkeley’s admissions policy changed to no longer require GRE scores for
graduate admission. Instead, the GRE requirement became a departmental
option. Each year, departments that use the general GRE are encouraged
to de-emphasize reliance on this test, in recognition of its limitations.
Departments are advised to adopt comprehensive approaches to evaluation
of applicants. This presentation explains the varied ways that depart-
ments respond to the university policy. It describes comprehensive review
implementation and outcomes. In particular, the presentation focuses on
the range of strategies used at Berkeley in the mathematical and physical
sciences to increase diversity. It considers how new approaches intersect
with traditional admissions criteria and degree outcomes.
Session AH: Getting Started in PER
Location: Tate Lab 166
Sponsor: Committee on Research in Physics Education
Co-Sponsor: Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education
Date: Monday, July 28
Time: 8:30–10 a.m.
Presider: Kathleen Harper
8:30-9 a.m. An Example of Theory-driven Quantitative
Analysis in Physics Education Research
Invited – Lin Ding, The Ohio State University, Department of Teaching and
Learning, Columbus, OH 43210;
As the field of physics education research matures, a diverse range of meth-
ods are now being used for empirical investigations. Quantitative analysis
is one of them, representing a unique paradigm useful for studying associa-
tions, regularities, and patterns in learning and teaching. As with other
methods, fruitful quantitative analysis must be anchored in theory-driven
frameworks in order for it to be defensible and generalizable. In this talk, I
present an example of a quantitative study to highlight the role of theoreti-
cal framework in empirical PER. Drawing on the hypothesized causal
influences of reasoning skills and epistemologies on content learning, this
study seeks to test the relationships among these variables. Through path
analysis, students’ learning gains on the Force Concept Inventory is found
to be causally related to their pre-instructional reasoning skills (measured
by the Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning) and epistemologies (mea-
sured by the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey). Interest-
ingly, post-instructional epistemology does not appear to be a significant
causal factor for learning gains.
9:30-10 a.m. Getting Started: Physics Education
Research and the Upper Division
Invited – Michael Loverude, California State University, Fullerton, 800 N State
College, Fullerton, CA 92834;
The field of Physics Education Research (PER) has achieved many suc-
cesses. Systematic investigations have revealed innumerable insights into
student thinking at the introductory level, and the results of this work
have led to the development and assessment of research-based instruc-
tional materials and assessment instruments. More recently a number of
researchers have focused their attention on upper-division physics courses;
these courses make up a large portion of the course offerings in most
departments but tend to serve a far smaller number of students. Well estab-
lished results from PER performed at the introductory level have allowed
researchers to start on a firm foundation, but research in the upper divi-
sion has led to a different set of challenges and opportunities. In this talk
we will briefly explore the landscape of upper-division PER, characterize
the existing literature, and point to some promising new directions.
9-9:30 a.m. Getting Started in PER: Gender and Ethnic
Invited – Laura McCullough, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Physics Depart-
ment, Menomonie, WI 54751;
This talk provides an introduction to Physics Education Research (PER)
related to two under-represented populations in physics: women and
ethnic minorities. The talk will begin with a brief overview of historical
data on the participation of women and minorities in physics. Most of
the talk, though, will focus on some of the questions that PER has asked
regarding how physics education practices affect women and minorities.
For example, what research is there on conceptual tests and women and
minorities? How might different pedagogies affect these populations?
How does stereotype threat help or hinder performance of men and
women in physics? While not exhaustive, this talk will give audience
members a good understanding of the current status of gender and
minorities research in PER.
Session AI: Introductory Labs and
Location: Tate Lab 170
Sponsor: AAPT
Date: Monday, July 28
Time: 8:30–9:30 a.m.
Presider: Sam Sampere
8:30-8:40 a.m. Development of Students’ Scientific
Abilities Through In-lab Inquiry-based Oriented
Contributed – Sergio Flores Garcia, University of Juarez, 1424 Desierto
Rico, El Paso, TX 79912;
Juan E. Chavez-Pierce, Luis L. Alfaro-Avena, Sergio M. Terrazas-Porras,
Jose V. Barron, University of Juarez
Inquiry-based physics is integrating in-lab learning approaches. The five
phases of inquiry-based conceptual understanding are: 1) Design: We
propose two or three questions and one hypothesis. Students ask three
more questions and establish a new hypothesis. Students generate a gen-
eral question, specific questions, and a hypothesis during the first phase.
These questions and the hypothesis are the central axis of the cognitive
strategy; 2) Preparation: Students design a new experiment. They draw a
sketch of the components and prepare a list of equipment and materials
to develop the physical learning situation; 3) Experimentation: Students
choose equipment and material from a hardware storage to achieve
scientific abilities; 4) Measure: Students use equipment to generate mo-
tion graphs; and 5) Discussion: This phase is related to the exploration of
a possible meaningful understanding by answering conceptual questions
based on the content of the experimentation. We will present students’
mechanics understanding results to compare both treatment and control
groups collected in the University of Juarez Mexico.
8:40-8:50 a.m. Facilitating Collaboration in an Online
Introductory Astronomy Laboratory
Contributed – Bruce Palmquist, Central Washington University, Ellensburg,
WA 98926-7422;
Student collaboration is an important component of laboratory experi-
ences. In my online introductory astronomy class, students use Google
Docs, a free online word processor that lets them collaborate synchro-
nously or asynchronously. At the start of the term, students are assigned
to heterogeneous ability groups. Each group gets a unique link to a given
week’s lab activity template. The instructor controls when students can
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