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ERIC Number: ED526568
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 261
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1245-5571-3
The Role of Context and Gender in Predicting Success in a Modified Laboratory Course
Subero, Keron
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, New Mexico State University
We designed and implemented curriculum intended to be used by students in an algebra-based introductory physics laboratory course. Our curricular goal was to foster, through observations in the lab, a coherent framework in students' understanding of general principles presented in the introductory mechanics course, while addressing known student difficulties. The research that guided our curriculum development efforts, however, was previously implemented in an intervention setting which was quite different from ours, and was conducted on students enrolled in calculus-based physics courses who were generally academically better prepared than our students. We describe the development of laboratory materials, designed to fit the specific curricular constraints of a lab course at NMSU. We present some results from post-testing of our labs, which were not as favorable as results obtained by researchers at other institutions implementing similar curricula in their courses. We attempted to quantify differences in preparation among our introductory physics student populations who use these laboratory materials. We developed a short proportional reasoning pretest, which we found to be a relatively efficient predictor of student success in our courses. We investigated the effect of context variations on performance by various student populations on this pretest, and found that the effect of context variation was not the same for all of our student populations. Results from our calculus-based population showed a small but significant increase in performance when we modified the context of our pretest, while the performance of our algebra- based population showed very little sensitivity to the variation in pretest context. Finally, when considering students' gender, we found in both algebra-based and calculus-based physics courses that female students were significantly affected by context variation, while male students' performance remained relatively unchanged when we varied our pretest context. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A