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Traxler, Adrienne; Henderson, Rachel; Stewart, John; Stewart, Gay; Papak, Alexis; Lindell, Rebecca – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 2018
Research on the test structure of the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) has largely ignored gender, and research on FCI gender effects (often reported as "gender gaps") has seldom interrogated the structure of the test. These rarely crossed streams of research leave open the possibility that the FCI may not be structurally valid across…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, Sex Fairness, Gender Differences
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Pawlak, Alanna; Irving, Paul W.; Caballero, Marcos D. – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 2018
Group work is becoming increasingly common in introductory physics classrooms. Understanding how students engage in these group learning environments is important for designing and facilitating productive learning opportunities for students. We conducted a study in which we collected video of groups of students working on conceptual electricity…
Descriptors: Cooperative Learning, Video Technology, Scientific Concepts, Energy
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Scott, Terry F.; Schumayer, Dániel – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 2018
The Force Concept Inventory was designed to poll the Newtonian conception of force. While there are many in-depth studies analyzing response data that look at the structure of the correct answers, we believe that the incorrect answers also carry revealing information about the students' worldview. The inventory was originally designed so that the…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, Scientific Concepts, World Views
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Ene, Emanuela; Ackerson, Bruce J. – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 2018
We describe the construction, validation, and testing of a concept inventory for an "Introduction to Physics of Semiconductors" course offered by the department of physics to undergraduate engineering students. By design, this inventory addresses both content knowledge and the ability to interpret content via different cognitive…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, Small Classes, College Science
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Amos, Nathaniel; Heckler, Andrew F. – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 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…
Descriptors: Physics, Introductory Courses, Science Instruction, Scores
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Young, Nicholas T.; Heckler, Andrew F. – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 2018
In the context of a generic harmonic oscillator, we investigated students' accuracy in determining the period, frequency, and angular frequency from mathematical and graphical representations. In a series of studies including interviews, free response tests, and multiple-choice tests developed in an iterative process, we assessed students in both…
Descriptors: Interviews, Accuracy, Multiple Choice Tests, Algebra
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Caballero, Marcos D.; Doughty, Leanne; Turnbull, Anna M.; Pepper, Rachel E.; Pollock, Steven J. – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 2017
Reliable and validated assessments of introductory physics have been instrumental in driving curricular and pedagogical reforms that lead to improved student learning. As part of an effort to systematically improve our sophomore-level classical mechanics and math methods course (CM 1) at CU Boulder, we have developed a tool to assess student…
Descriptors: Mechanics (Physics), Outcomes of Education, Mathematics Instruction, College Faculty
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Dini, Vesal; Hammer, David – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 2017
Research on student epistemologies in introductory courses has highlighted the importance of understanding physics as "a refinement of everyday thinking" [A. Einstein, J. Franklin Inst. 221, 349 (1936)]. That view is difficult to sustain in quantum mechanics, for students as for physicists. How might students manage the transition? In…
Descriptors: Case Studies, Epistemology, Quantum Mechanics, Probability
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DeVore, Seth; Marshman, Emily; Singh, Chandralekha – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 2017
As research-based, self-paced electronic learning tools become increasingly available, a critical issue educators encounter is implementing strategies to ensure that all students engage with them as intended. Here, we first discuss the effectiveness of electronic learning tutorials as self-paced learning tools in large enrollment brick and mortar…
Descriptors: Learner Engagement, Pacing, Individualized Instruction, Interaction
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Scott, Terry F.; Schumayer, Dániel – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 2017
The Force Concept Inventory is one of the most popular and most analyzed multiple-choice concept tests used to investigate students' understanding of Newtonian mechanics. The correct answers poll a set of underlying Newtonian concepts and the coherence of these underlying concepts has been found in the data. However, this inventory was constructed…
Descriptors: World Views, Scientific Concepts, Scientific Principles, Multiple Choice Tests
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Marshman, Emily; Sayer, Ryan; Henderson, Charles; Singh, Chandralekha – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 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…
Descriptors: Teaching Assistants, Grading, Introductory Courses, Physics
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Pond, Jarrad W. T.; Chini, Jacquelyn J. – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 2017
In this study, we explore the strategic self-regulatory and motivational characteristics of students in studio-mode physics courses at three universities with varying student populations and varying levels of success in their studio-mode courses. We survey students using questions compiled from several existing questionnaires designed to measure…
Descriptors: Algebra, Physics, Profiles, Student Characteristics
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Mikula, Brendon D.; Heckler, Andrew F. – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 2017
We propose a framework for improving accuracy, fluency, and retention of basic skills essential for solving problems relevant to STEM introductory courses, and implement the framework for the case of basic vector math skills over several semesters in an introductory physics course. Using an iterative development process, the framework begins with…
Descriptors: Algebra, Geometric Concepts, Physics, Introductory Courses
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Marshman, Emily; Singh, Chandralekha – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 2017
Single photon experiments involving a Mach-Zehnder interferometer can illustrate the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics, e.g., the wave-particle duality of a single photon, single photon interference, and the probabilistic nature of quantum measurement involving single photons. These experiments explicitly make the connection between the…
Descriptors: Quantum Mechanics, Difficulty Level, Problem Solving, Action Research
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Anderson, Katharine A.; Crespi, Matthew; Sayre, Eleanor C. – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 2017
There is considerable long-term interest in understanding the dynamics of collaboration networks, and how these networks form and evolve over time. Most of the work done on the dynamics of social networks focuses on well-established communities. Work examining emerging social networks is rarer, simply because data are difficult to obtain in real…
Descriptors: Physics, Social Networks, Communities of Practice, Network Analysis
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