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ERIC Number: EJ1168717
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2469-9896
Mediating Relationship of Differential Products in Understanding Integration in Introductory Physics
Amos, Nathaniel; Heckler, Andrew F.
Physical Review Physics Education Research, v14 n1 p010105-1-010105-10 Jan-Jun 2018
In the context of introductory physics, we study student conceptual understanding of differentials, differential products, and integrals and possible pathways to understanding these quantities. We developed a multiple choice conceptual assessment employing a variety of physical contexts probing physical understanding of these three quantities and administered the instrument to over 1000 students in first and second semester introductory physics courses. Using a regression-based mediation analysis with conceptual understanding of integration as the dependent variable, we found evidence consistent with a simple mediation model: the relationship between differentials scores and integral scores may be mediated by the understanding of differential products. The indirect effect (a quantifiable metric of mediation) was estimated as a b = 0.29 , 95% CI [0.25, 0.33] for N = 1102 Physics 1 students, and a b = 0.27 , 95% CI [0.14, 0.48] for N = 65 Physics 2 students. We also find evidence that the physical context of the questions can be an important factor. These results imply that for introductory physics courses, instructional emphasis first on differentials then on differential products in a variety of contexts may in turn promote better integral understanding.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio
Grant or Contract Numbers: DMR1420451