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ERIC Number: EJ1057106
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 11
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: EISSN-1554-9178
Effect of Lecture Instruction on Student Performance on Qualitative Questions
Heron, Paula R. L.
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, v11 n1 p010102-1-010102-14 Jan-Jun 2015
The impact of lecture instruction on student conceptual understanding in physics has been the subject of research for several decades. Most studies have reported disappointingly small improvements in student performance on conceptual questions despite direct instruction on the relevant topics. These results have spurred a number of attempts to improve learning in physics courses through new curricula and instructional techniques. This paper contributes to the research base through a retrospective analysis of 20 randomly selected qualitative questions on topics in kinematics, dynamics, electrostatics, waves, and physical optics that have been given in introductory calculus-based physics at the University of Washington over a period of 15 years. In some classes, questions were administered after relevant lecture instruction had been completed; in others, it had yet to begin. Simple statistical tests indicate that the average performance of the "after lecture" classes was significantly better than that of the "before lecture" classes for 11 questions, significantly worse for two questions, and indistinguishable for the remaining seven. However, the classes had not been randomly assigned to be tested before or after lecture instruction. Multiple linear regression was therefore conducted with variables (such as class size) that could plausibly lead to systematic differences in performance and thus obscure (or artificially enhance) the effect of lecture instruction. The regression models support the results of the simple tests for all but four questions. In those cases, the effect of lecture instruction was reduced to a nonsignificant level, or increased to a significant, negative level when other variables were considered. Thus the results provide robust evidence that instruction in lecture can increase student ability to give correct answers to conceptual questions but does not necessarily do so; in some cases it can even lead to a decrease.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE 0088840