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ERIC Number: EJ931540
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 25
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0143-0807
Partially Specified Physics Problems: University Students' Attitudes and Performance
Marusic, M.; Erceg, N.; Slisko, J.
European Journal of Physics, v32 n3 p711-722 May 2011
In this research we asked the fourth year students (N = 50) of a technical faculty of the University of Split (Republic of Croatia) to solve a partially specified physics problem related to gravitational force. The task for the students was to decide whether the situation described in the problem is feasible or not. Nevertheless, the formulation of the problem is such that it does not give students any explicit advice regarding what to calculate or how to judge the feasibility of the given situation in the real world. The research was carried out using a structured written exam method. The worksheet was structured in order to assess explicitly a few elements of the students' problem-solving performance. Based on their results, the examinees were classified into four categories, depending on what they could or could not accomplish during problem solving. A majority of students were not able to solve the given physical problem completely. A selection of students' and professors' observations is also included. Our results show that traditionally formulated numerical exercises, which are mostly used in physics teaching, do not develop students' abilities in higher-order thinking (i.e. planning, decision making or result evaluation) to a desirable extent. We suggest that partially specified problems should be given to students, both in problem-solving sessions and exams, in order to prepare them for dealing with ill-structured tasks in real life. (Contains 4 tables and 1 figure.)
Institute of Physics Publishing. The Public Ledger Building Suite 929, 150 South Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 215-627-0880; Fax: 215-627-0879; e-mail: info@ioppubusa.com; Web site: http://www.iop.org/EJ/journal/EJP
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Croatia