ERIC Number: ED254412
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985
Reference Count: 0
Measured Formal Thought and That Required to Understand Formal Concepts in College Level Physical Science.
Boram, Robert D.; Renner, John W.
Students (N=49) enrolled in a physics course for elementary teachers were evaluated for their abilities to use: (1) combinatorial logic; (2) separation and control of variables; (3) proportional reasoning; and (4) reciprocal implications. Performance of four Piagetian tasks during interviews was treated as a measure of the degree to which students could function with these four formal thought characteristics. Students were also evaluated for their abilities to use the four formal thought characterstics in problem-solving situations. Students' responses to items inserted into five course examinations were treated as measures of their abilities to use the charactertistics of formal thought in problem-solving. These items focused on six physics concepts dealing with torque, electricity, optics, and heat (since understanding these concepts requires use of one or more characteristics of formal thought). Results suggest that a non-significant relationship exists between formal thought characteristics required to solve a problem and demonstrating the possession of those characteristics. When success on each of the interview tasks was correlated with success on each of the other tasks, all correlation coefficients obtained were significant and moderately high, suggesting that success on a problem which requires formal thought depends on an overall formal thought structure. (Author/JN)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Formal Operations; Piagetian Tasks; Science Education Research
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (58th, French Lick Springs, IN, April 15-18, 1985).