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ERIC Number: EJ1143392
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2469-9896
Contrasting Grading Approaches in Introductory Physics and Quantum Mechanics: The Case of Graduate Teaching Assistants
Marshman, Emily; Sayer, Ryan; Henderson, Charles; Singh, Chandralekha
Physical Review Physics Education Research, v13 n1 p010120-1-010120-16 Jan-Jun 2017
At large research universities, physics graduate teaching assistants (TAs) are often responsible for grading in courses at all levels. However, few studies have focused on TAs' grading practices in introductory and advanced physics courses. This study was designed to investigate whether physics graduate TAs grade students in introductory physics and quantum mechanics using different criteria and if so, why they may be inclined to do so. To investigate possible discrepancies in TAs' grading approaches in courses at different levels, we implemented a sequence of instructional activities in a TA professional development course that asked TAs to grade student solutions of introductory physics and upper-level quantum mechanics problems and explain why, if at all, their grading approaches were different or similar in the two contexts. We analyzed the differences in TAs' grading approaches in the two contexts and discuss the reasons they provided for the differences in their grading approaches in introductory physics and quantum mechanics in individual interviews, class discussions, and written responses. We find that a majority of the TAs graded solutions to quantum mechanics problems differently than solutions to introductory physics problems. In quantum mechanics, the TAs focused more on physics concepts and reasoning and penalized students for not showing evidence of understanding. The findings of the study have implications for TA professional development programs, e.g., the importance of helping TAs think about the difficulty of a problem from an introductory students' perspective and reflecting on the benefits of formative assessment.
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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 (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: PHY1505460