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2003 PERC Proceedings

Conference Information

Dates: August 6-7, 2003
Location: Madison, WI
Theme: The Practice of Analysis as a Window on Theory

Proceedings Information

Editors: Jeffrey Marx, Scott Franklin, and Karen Cummings
Published: September 9, 2004
AIP URL: AIP Conference Proceedings 720
Info: Single book; 208 pages; 8.5 X 11 inches, double column
ISBN: 0-7354-0200-0
ISSN (Print): 0094-243X
ISSN (Online): 1551-7616

The 2003 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings contains peer-reviewed and invited papers based on oral presentations and posters. The papers span topics including: instructional assessment, data analysis, student understanding, and issues of learning.

Readership: The Proceedings applies to all levels of physics instruction, particularly undergraduate instruction.

Table of Contents

Front Matter
Invited Papers (8)
Peer-reviewed Papers (39)
Back Matter

INVITED MANUSCRIPTS (8)

First Author Index

Wittmann · Loverude · Meltzer · Heron · Finkelstein · Rosenberg · Etkina · Dancy

Invited Papers

Understanding Data Analysis from Multiple Viewpoints: An Example from Quantum Tunneling
Michael C. Wittmann and Jeffrey T. Morgan
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 3-6, doi:10.1063/1.1807240
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During individual clinical interviews, the interaction between researcher and interviewee leads to a specific set of data that can later be interpreted from several viewpoints. In this paper, we describe three analyses of a student's reasoning. First, we describe her "physics reasoning" in terms of the physical situation she describes and the "difficulties" she has in reasoning about the interview question. Second, we describe some "reasoning resources" that she uses. Finally, we describe "epistemological resources" that may influence her reasoning about quantum physics. We conclude with a discussion of implications about the practice of interviews and their analysis.

M. C. Wittmann and J. T. Morgan, Understanding Data Analysis from Multiple Viewpoints: An Example from Quantum Tunneling, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 3-6 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807240.

Measuring the effectiveness of research-based curriculum at a university serving a diverse student population
Michael E. Loverude
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 7-10, doi:10.1063/1.1807241
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California State University Fullerton is a regional comprehensive university that serves a diverse student population. Over half of the undergraduate students at CSUF are members of minority groups, and just under half spoke a language other than English at home while growing up. We have tested research-based curricular materials, including in courses at CSUF. In some cases, these materials are successful. However, in many cases student outcomes are significantly different from those reported at large research universities. Informally, many faculty believe that the student population at CSUF is significantly different from those at more selective universities. In what ways can the tools of PER be used to measure, describe, and understand the differences between student populations? Are the standard methods of PER suitable for answering questions of this type?

M. E. Loverude, Measuring the effectiveness of research-based curriculum at a university serving a diverse student population, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 7-10 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807241.

The Questions We Ask and Why: Methodological Orientation in Physics Education Research
David E. Meltzer
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 11-14, doi:10.1063/1.1807242
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Research methodology is discussed using a simple model of students' knowledge. I argue that the nature of data obtained is closely linked to the type of knowledge being probed.

D. E. Meltzer, The Questions We Ask and Why: Methodological Orientation in Physics Education Research, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 11-14 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807242.

Empirical Investigations of Student Understanding
Paula R. L. Heron
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 15-18, doi:10.1063/1.1807243
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Why study student understanding of physics? For some of us, "because it's there" is a large part of the reason. However, many of us are also strongly committed to using our findings to improve teaching at the classroom level. One type of investigation that has proven fruitful as a guide for improving student learning is discussed in the article. The underlying goals and assumptions are discussed in general terms. A specific example provides a context for discussing the interpretation of student thinking.

P. R. L. Heron, Empirical Investigations of Student Understanding, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 15-18 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807243.

Bridging Critical Points: discontinuities in high school and university physics education
Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 19-22, doi:10.1063/1.1807244
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The paper examines data collected from teaching an introductory college physics class offered at a public high school. Assessment of student achievement demonstrates that students are able to perform at a college level. Nonetheless this achievement is not recognized by the institutions supporting this experimental course. Analysis of detailed daily notes begins to answer why and how students are marginalized in this educational system. Particularly, three themes of structural, normative and epistemological discontinuity detail why these students or institutions fail.

N. D. Finkelstein, Bridging Critical Points: discontinuities in high school and university physics education, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 19-22 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807244.

Questioning Assumptions about the Role of Education in American Society: A Review of Schooling in Capitalist America
Seth Rosenberg
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 23-26, doi:10.1063/1.1807245
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According to many scholars, classrooms in America are overwhelmingly authoritarian and undemocratic. They focus on fragmented knowledge that is disconnected from the students' lives. Proven reforms are resisted at all levels, and systematic progressive change is non-existent nearly a century after the progressive movement. Why is this so? The standard liberal outlook is that the schools are `broken' and `neglected', but that they have the potential, with reform, to be a major progressive force in society. This paper questions these assumptions through a review of the seminal educational-economic work by Bowles and Gintis: Schooling in Capitalist America. The major claim of this text is that our educational system's primary role is to mirror, support, stabilize, and reproduce the fundamentally hierarchical and undemocratic social relationships that exist in the majority of American workplaces. The major arguments and evidence of this text are reviewed, and implications for PER will be briefly mentioned.

S. Rosenberg, Questioning Assumptions about the Role of Education in American Society: A Review of Schooling in Capitalist America, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 23-26 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807245.

What did I learn and why do I believe in it?
Eugenia Etkina and Ari Eisner
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 27-30, doi:10.1063/1.1807246
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The paper describes a study of students' reflections on their learning in the Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE). ISLE was implemented in two freshmen introductory physics courses for engineering students at risk. Weekly Reports — structured journals — were a part of their homework assignments. We found that a thorough reflection on their reasoning based on experimental evidence had a positive effect on student performance. However a surprising finding was that learning from authority was beneficial as well. This result is in contradiction to a similar study conducted by May and Etkina in 2001 in a freshmen course for honors engineering students. The current study therefore suggests that instructors should encourage different ways of knowledge construction when dealing with different student populations.

E. Etkina and A. Eisner, What did I learn and why do I believe in it?, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 27-30 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807246.

The Myth of Gender Neutrality
Melissa H. Dancy
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 31-36, doi:10.1063/1.1807247
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It is well known that women are underrepresented in physics. The prevailing view is that there is a "leaky pipeline" of female physicists which has lead to a focus on providing mentors and increasing the opportunity for girls to experience science. The assumption is that the numbers of women in physics can be increased by integrating women into the existing structure. Although it may seem reasonable, women are making only small gains in participation levels. In this paper, I explore the idea that there is no leaky pipeline. Rather, the environment is fundamentally "male" and women will never be equally represented until fundamental changes are made in both our educational system and in the cultural assumptions of our physics community.

M. H. Dancy, The Myth of Gender Neutrality, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 31-36 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807247.

PEER REVIEWED MANUSCRIPTS (39)

First Author Index

McCaskey · Sharma · Blue · Sommer · Davis · Thaden-Koch · Scherr · Menchen · Marx · Lindell · Savinainen · Itza-Ortiz · De Leone · Sabella · Sandifer · Morgan · Sayre · Zou · Warnakulasooriya · Tumaniro · Bocaneala · Engelhardt · Gray · Harper · Cummings · Shaw · Otero · Harlow · May · Yerushalmi · Engelhardt · Koenig · Henderson · Sadaghiani · Fencl · Singh · Reay · Rebello · Hrepic

Peer-reviewed Papers

Effects on assessment caused by splits between belief and understanding
Timothy L. McCaskey, Melissa H. Dancy, and Andrew Elby
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 37-40, doi:10.1063/1.1807248
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We performed a new kind of FCI study to get at the differences between what students believe and what they think scientists believe. Students took the FCI in the standard way, and then made a second pass indicating "the answer they really believe" and "the answer they think a scientist would give." Students split on a large number of the questions, with women splitting more often than men.

T. L. McCaskey, M. H. Dancy, and A. Elby, Effects on assessment caused by splits between belief and understanding, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 37-40 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807248.

On the Use of Phenomenography in the Analysis of Qualitative Data
Manjula Devi Sharma, Chris Stewart, and Michael Prosser
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 41-44, doi:10.1063/1.1807249
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In this paper we describe phenomenography and demonstrate its use in two separate studies; an investigation of students' understandings of gravity and a comparison of two groups of students awareness of the utility of physics.

M. D. Sharma, C. Stewart, and M. Prosser, On the Use of Phenomenography in the Analysis of Qualitative Data, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 41-44 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807249.

Using Matched Samples to Look for Sex Differences
Jennifer Blue and Patricia Heller
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 45-48, doi:10.1063/1.1807250
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The reasons for observed differences in physics performance between men and women have yet to be clearly determined. This study asks the question: if men and women have a similar background at the start of an introductory physics course, will there be differences in how much physics they learn by the end of the course? To answer the question, a matched sample of men and women was studied. Statistical analysis of the post-tests reveals no significant differences between the men and women in the matched sample.

J. Blue and P. Heller, Using Matched Samples to Look for Sex Differences, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 45-48 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807250.

Accounting for Errors in Model Analysis Theory: A Numerical Approach
Steven Sommer and Rebecca S. Lindell
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 49-52, doi:10.1063/1.1807251
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By studying the patterns of a group of individuals' responses to a series of multiple-choice questions, researchers can utilize Model Analysis Theory to create a probability distribution of mental models for a student population. The eigenanalysis of this distribution yields information about what mental models the students possess, as well as how consistently they utilize said mental models. Although the theory considers the probabilistic distribution to be fundamental, there exists opportunities for random errors to occur. In this paper we will discuss a numerical approach for mathematically accounting for these random errors. As an example of this methodology, analysis of data obtained from the Lunar Phases Concept Inventory will be presented. Limitations and applicability of this numerical approach will be discussed.

S. Sommer and R. S. Lindell, Accounting for Errors in Model Analysis Theory: A Numerical Approach, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 49-52 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807251.

Assessing the Impact of Student Learning Style Preferences
Stacey Davis and Scott V. Franklin
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 53-56, doi:10.1063/1.1807252
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Students express a wide range of preferences for learning environments. We are trying to measure the manifestation of learning styles in various learning environments. In particular, we are interested in performance in an environment that disagrees with the expressed learning style preference, paying close attention to social (group vs. individual) and auditory (those who prefer to learn by listening) environments. These are particularly relevant to activity-based curricula which typically emphasize group-work and de-emphasize lectures. Our methods include multiple-choice assessments, individual student interviews, and a study in which we attempt to isolate the learning environment.

S. Davis and S. V. Franklin, Assessing the Impact of Student Learning Style Preferences, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 53-56 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807252.

A coordination class analysis of judgments about animated motion
Thomas C. Thaden-Koch, Robert J. Dufresne, William J. Gerace, Jose P. Mestre, and William J. Leonard
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 57-60, doi:10.1063/1.1807253
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We use the coordination class construct to analyze interviews in which college students judged the realism of animated depictions of balls rolling on a set of tracks. We find the elements of coordination classes (readout strategies and the causal net) useful for understanding the interviewed students' decision-making processes. We find limited evidence for integration and invariance, the performance criteria of coordination classes.

T. C. Thaden-Koch, R. J. Dufresne, W. J. Gerace, J. P. Mestre, and W. J. Leonard, A coordination class analysis of judgments about animated motion, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 57-60 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807253.

Gestures as evidence of student thinking about physics
Rachel E. Scherr
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 61-64, doi:10.1063/1.1807254
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Student gestures are part of how students articulate their ideas, and can be of use to us in diagnosing student thinking and forming effective pedagogical responses. This paper presents examples of gestures that occur in a conversation between students and a TA about a mechanics homework problem, and analyzes one gesture that was particularly significant to the conversation.

R. E. Scherr, Gestures as evidence of student thinking about physics, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 61-64 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807254.

Pre-service teacher understanding of propagation and resonance in sound phenomena
Katherine Menchen and John R. Thompson
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 65-68, doi:10.1063/1.1807255
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This paper describes results of an ongoing investigation into the understanding of sound, mainly among preservice K-12 teachers. Recent work has focused on identifying difficulties in understanding sound propagation and resonance phenomena. We have found that within this population the concept of propagation, especially from one solid object to another, is not well understood.

K. Menchen and J. R. Thompson, Pre-service teacher understanding of propagation and resonance in sound phenomena, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 65-68 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807255.

Students' Impressions Concerning Optical Telescopes and Visible Astronomical Light
Jeffrey Marx and Rebecca S. Lindell
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 69-72, doi:10.1063/1.1807256
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We conducted post-instructional interviews with seventeen undergraduates from a general-science level astronomy class. Each interview lasted about fifteen-minutes, and students responded with a mix of verbal and graphical responses. The interview topics included roles of telescopes in astronomy, sources and properties of astronomical light, the relative importance of a telescope's magnification and light gathering ability, and light pollution. We concluded that students posses only a loose set of ideas regarding optical telescopes and visible astronomical light; however some potential common (mis)conceptualizations emerged.

J. Marx and R. S. Lindell, Students' Impressions Concerning Optical Telescopes and Visible Astronomical Light, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 69-72 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807256.

Using the Lunar Phases Concept Inventory to Investigate College students' Pre-instructional Mental Models of Lunar Phases
Rebecca S. Lindell and Steven Sommer
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 73-76, doi:10.1063/1.1807257
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The Lunar Phases Concept Inventory (LPCI) is a twenty-item multiple-choice inventory developed to aid instructors in assessing the mental models their students utilize when answering questions concerning phases of the moon. Based upon an in-depth qualitative investigation of students' understanding of lunar phases, the LPCI was designed to take advantage of the innovative model analysis theory to probe the different dimensions of students' mental models of lunar phases. As part of a national field test, pre-instructional LPCI data was collected for over 750 students from multiple post-secondary institutions across the United States and Canada. Application of model analysis theory to this data set allowed researchers to probe the different mental models of lunar phases students across the country utilize prior to instruction. Results of this analysis display strikingly similar results for the different institutions, suggesting a potential underlying cognitive framework.

R. S. Lindell and S. Sommer, Using the Lunar Phases Concept Inventory to Investigate College students' Pre-instructional Mental Models of Lunar Phases, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 73-76 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807257.

A Case Study Evaluating Students' Representational Coherence of Newton's First and Second Laws
Antti Savinainen and Jouni Viiri
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 77-80, doi:10.1063/1.1807258
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This paper presents a method to evaluate students' representational coherence, i.e. their ability to use multiple representations and move between them in the case of Newton's first and second laws. Results of five high school students are discussed.

A. Savinainen and J. Viiri, A Case Study Evaluating Students' Representational Coherence of Newton's First and Second Laws, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 77-80 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807258.

Energy Mental Models: Mechanics through Electromagnetism
Salomon F. Itza-Ortiz, Benjamin Lawrence, and Dean A. Zollman
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 81-84, doi:10.1063/1.1807259
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We investigated students' mental models for energy, and changes in these models in going from mechanics to electromagnetism contexts. We interviewed students in a two-semester calculus-based physics course. Our research design included semi-structured interviews with demonstration. Based on our findings in the interviews we are developing a first version of an 'Energy Mental Model Inventory.'

S. F. Itza-Ortiz, B. Lawrence, and D. A. Zollman, Energy Mental Models: Mechanics through Electromagnetism, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 81-84 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807259.

Toward Understanding Student Conceptions of the Photoelectric Effect
Charles De Leone and Graham Oberem
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 85-88, doi:10.1063/1.1807260
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The photoelectric effect is part of a group of phenomena that provide the experimental basis for the photon model of light. Most students pursuing a degree in physics or a related field first study the photoelectric effect and the photon model of light in a "modern physics" course following directly after the introductory physics sequence. It has been documented that many students have trouble understanding the photoelectric effect itself, and its connection to the photon model of light. In an attempt to better understand student preconceptions and misconceptions of this topic, we conducted a study of students in a modern physics class at California State University, San Marcos. In this paper we will provide preliminary results of our research with specific emphasis on the knowledge base required to understand the photoelectric effect.

C. D. Leone and G. Oberem, Toward Understanding Student Conceptions of the Photoelectric Effect, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 85-88 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807260.

Evidence of Intuitive and Formal Knowledge in Student Responses: Examples from the Context of Dynamics
Mel Sabella and Geraldine L. Cochran
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 89-92, doi:10.1063/1.1807261
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When presented with a question, students activate a set of knowledge, or schema, that they use to respond to the question. For many instructors, one of the goals of the introductory physics course is to help students build robust schemas of formal knowledge that are activated for a given task. In this paper, we present evidence that suggests that even when schemas of formal knowledge are formed, students often struggle to activate this knowledge. We focus on the analysis of interviews with two introductory physics students concerning the topic of dynamics. We also demonstrate that the act of explaining, during the interview, has a profound impact on the students' responses.

M. Sabella and G. L. Cochran, Evidence of Intuitive and Formal Knowledge in Student Responses: Examples from the Context of Dynamics, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 89-92 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807261.

Spontaneous Student-Generated Analogies
Cody Sandifer
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 93-96, doi:10.1063/1.1807262
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The purposes of this qualitative study were (a) to investigate the factors that support the generation of spontaneous analogies (SAs) by students, and (b) to investigate the factors that interfere with comprehension of the analogy target of an SA. To promote the generation of SAs, eight algebra-based physics students were asked to participate in two group problem-solving sessions and one individual explaining session. Overall, 18 spontaneous analogies were generated. Two factors appeared to support the spontaneous generation of analogies: (1) sufficient prior understanding of the analogy target, and (2) the existence of previous analogical examples from other students. Two factors appeared to interfere with the comprehension of the SA analogy target: (1) an incorrect perception of the type of analogy between target and base (attributes, relationships), and (2) an incorrect understanding of the analogy base.

C. Sandifer, Spontaneous Student-Generated Analogies, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 93-96 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807262.

Student Understanding of Tunneling in Quantum Mechanics: Examining Interview and Survey Results for Clues to Student Reasoning
Jeffrey T. Morgan, Michael C. Wittmann, and John R. Thompson
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 97-100, doi:10.1063/1.1807263
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Members of the University of Maine Physics Education Research Laboratory are studying student understanding of the phenomenon of quantum tunneling through a potential barrier, a standard topic in most introductory quantum physics courses. When a series of interviews revealed that many students believe energy is lost in the tunneling process, a survey was designed to investigate the prevalence of the energy-loss idea. This survey was administered to populations of physics majors at the sophomore and senior levels. Data indicate that interview results are shared by a somewhat larger population of students and give insight into additional models of reasoning (e.g. analogies to macroscopic tunnels) not found in the interviews.

J. T. Morgan, M. C. Wittmann, and J. R. Thompson, Student Understanding of Tunneling in Quantum Mechanics: Examining Interview and Survey Results for Clues to Student Reasoning, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 97-100 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807263.

Resource Selection in Nearly-Novel Situations
Eleanor C. Sayre, Michael C. Wittmann, and John R. Thompson
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 101-104, doi:10.1063/1.1807264
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We developed an iterative survey to study the process of resource selection in a specific nearly-novel situation - the design of vacuum tube diodes. Preliminary data from upper-level undergraduate physics majors suggest that the ability to identify diode function in simple circuits predicts the ability to construct diodes.

E. C. Sayre, M. C. Wittmann, and J. R. Thompson, Resource Selection in Nearly-Novel Situations, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 101-104 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807264.

How students justify their knowledge in the Investigative Science Learning Environment
Xueli Zou
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 105-108, doi:10.1063/1.1807265
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This paper presents a preliminary investigation into how introductory physics students justify their knowledge in an investigative science learning environment (ISLE). ISLE attempts to help students learn physics using the same strategies that physicists use to construct their knowledge. A coding schema, from naive to scientific knowing, is used to analyze students' justification of knowing, probed by open-ended and multiple-choice "convincing" questions. Results of the study support the assertion that students' epistemological beliefs are made as "context-sensitive resources." The results further suggest that the way that students develop the resources in a particular context may affect their justification of knowledge. ISLE helps students not only understand the concepts, gain the knowledge of the experimental evidence supporting the concepts, but also may enrich their epistemological development

X. Zou, How students justify their knowledge in the Investigative Science Learning Environment, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 105-108 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807265.

Students' reasoning across contexts
Rasil Warnakulasooriya and Lei Bao
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 109-112, doi:10.1063/1.1807266
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We give two examples on how students' reasoning is dependent on the context of the questions. In the first example concerning the grounding of a neutral metal in the presence of a positive external charge, we show how relations can be thought of as preserved between two related questions. In the second example, concerning the grounding of a neutral metal in the presence of a negative external charge, we show how the reasoning is dependent on the fundamental ontological reasoning students have with respect to what type of charge is capable of movement. The implication for instruction is that a set of related questions as discussed in the paper can be used to elucidate and address the fundamental limitations of students' reasoning.

R. Warnakulasooriya and L. Bao, Students' reasoning across contexts, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 109-112 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807266.

Understanding Students' Poor Performance on Mathematical Problem Solving in Physics
Jonathan Tumaniro and Edward F. Redish
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 113-116, doi:10.1063/1.1807267
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This article helps explain why many introductory, algebra-based physics students perform poorly on mathematical problem solving tasks in physics. Many physics faculty assume that the lack of mathematical skills is the causing this problem. However, this research presents evidence suggesting that the major source of the students’ errors is their failure to apply the mathematical knowledge they have or to interpret that knowledge in a physical context. Additionally, the authors provide an instructional strategy that can help students employ the mathematical knowledge they already possess.

J. Tumaniro and E. F. Redish, Understanding Students' Poor Performance on Mathematical Problem Solving in Physics, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 113-116 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807267.

A computational model for physics learning
Florin Bocaneala and Lei Bao
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 117-120, doi:10.1063/1.1807268
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In this paper we test the versatility of the neural network approach to modeling the dynamics of student learning. We choose a problem from an introductory physics class and we construct a neural network model for it. Based on this simulation, we argue for the future use of neural network models in Physics Education Research and what this approach can teach us about how physics learning takes place

F. Bocaneala and L. Bao, A computational model for physics learning, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 117-120 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807268.

A framework for student reasoning in an interview
Paula V. Engelhardt, Kara E. Gray, Zdeslav Hrepic, Salomon F. Itza-Ortiz, Alicia R. Allbaugh, N. Sanjay Rebello, and Dean A. Zollman
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 121-124, doi:10.1063/1.1807269
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We propose a framework to characterize students' reasoning in an interview. The framework is based on interview data collected by five researchers with different research goals. The participants were enrolled in various introductory physics courses at Kansas State University (KSU). Our framework includes (e.g. questions asked, verbal, graphic and other cues) from the interviewer and interview environment; (e.g. memorized or familiar formulae, laws and definitions, prior experiences) that the student brings to the interview; a encompassing mental processes (e.g. induction, accommodation) that incorporate the inputs and tools; and the given by the student. We describe how the framework can be used to analyze interview data.

P. V. Engelhardt, K. E. Gray, Z. Hrepic, S. F. Itza-Ortiz, A. R. Allbaugh, N. S. Rebello, and D. A. Zollman, A framework for student reasoning in an interview, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 121-124 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807269.

Implications of a framework for student reasoning in an interview
Kara E. Gray, Zdeslav Hrepic, Salomon F. Itza-Ortiz, Alicia R. Allbaugh, Paula V. Engelhardt, N. Sanjay Rebello, and Dean A. Zollman
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 125-128, doi:10.1063/1.1807270
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We discuss the implications of a framework to characterize student reasoning in an interview and its underpinnings in cognitive psychology. Our framework, described in a previous paper in these Proceedings, enables a researcher to identify various cognitive elements used by a student during an interview. Our thesis is that this framework can help identify reasoning paths used by the students. We discuss how this framework can be applied to both a coarse and fine grained analysis of reasoning and how it can be used to infer a student's implicit reasoning processes.

K. E. Gray, Z. Hrepic, S. F. Itza-Ortiz, A. R. Allbaugh, P. V. Engelhardt, N. S. Rebello, and D. A. Zollman, Implications of a framework for student reasoning in an interview, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 125-128 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807270.

Expert-Novice Comparisons to Illuminate Differences in Perceptions of Problem Solutions
Kathleen A. Harper
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 129-132, doi:10.1063/1.1807271
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Comparing the performances of experts and novices on particular problem solving tasks has been a popular technique in problem solving research, uncovering differences in the ways the two groups categorize, approach, and solve problems. Applying this technique, two samples of students and one sample of experts categorized pre-written solutions to a mechanics problem. The responses reveal differences in how the beginning college students, more experienced college students, and physics instructors view solutions. Students focus on the solutions' surface features and presentation, while instructors look more closely at the deep structure. These differences indicate that instructors should consider modifying the way in which in-class and handed out problem solutions are presented to students.

K. A. Harper, Expert-Novice Comparisons to Illuminate Differences in Perceptions of Problem Solutions, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 129-132 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807271.

Attitudes Toward Problem Solving as Predictors of Student Success
Karen Cummings, Stephanie Lockwood, and Jeffrey Marx
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 133-136, doi:10.1063/1.1807272
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The survey of attitudes towards, and views of, problem solving that is presented here is still under development. It is part of a larger project to develop an assessment of student problem solving ability in introductory physics. The survey is intended for use in a manner similar to the Maryland Physics Expectation Survey (MPEX). That is, it is given to students pre- and post-instruction. Student responses are evaluated in comparison to the answers given by "experts". Post-instruction movement of student responses toward those given by the "experts" is considered to be improvement. This paper presents the survey questions, expert responses and discusses responses of several hundred students at three different institutions. Correlations between student survey results and grades, conceptual survey scores and instructor evaluation of student problem solving ability are presented. The goal is to begin to probe whether student attitudes toward problem solving are correlated to success on other metrics.

K. Cummings, S. Lockwood, and J. Marx, Attitudes Toward Problem Solving as Predictors of Student Success, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 133-136 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807272.

The Development of a Physics Self-Efficacy Instrument for Use in the Introductory Classroom
Kimberly Shaw
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 137-140, doi:10.1063/1.1807273
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Self-efficacy (SE) can be described as a person's belief in her/his own ability to accomplish a specific task to a given performance level, and is both content and context dependent. This may be especially important for female students in science, who tend to drop out of science classrooms with much better performance records than their male counterparts. The PACER group at SIUE has been developing an instrument to examine the relationship between physics SE and student performance in our introductory physics classrooms. Previously reported results suggesting no correlation between SE and performance in our physics classrooms led to the development of this new SE instrument. Development of the instrument, as well as field data from this pilot instrument emphasizing self-efficacy in physics (SEP) as it relates to gender, will be discussed

K. Shaw, The Development of a Physics Self-Efficacy Instrument for Use in the Introductory Classroom, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 137-140 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807273.

"After I gave students their prior knowledge" Pre-service teachers' conceptions of student prior knowledge
Valerie K. Otero and Mitchell Nathan
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 141-144, doi:10.1063/1.1807274
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Pre-service teachers often enter the teaching profession with pre-conceptions about teaching and learning science that are not consistent with contemporary learning theory. To build on this knowledge, we need to identify the beliefs and knowledge that pre-service teachers have about science teaching. In this exploratory study, we investigated pre-service teachers' pre-instructional conceptions of students' prior knowledge. Results indicate that our pre-service teachers held a limited number of conceptions about prior knowledge including a blank slate model of learning

V. K. Otero and M. Nathan, "After I gave students their prior knowledge" Pre-service teachers' conceptions of student prior knowledge, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 141-144 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807274.

An Examination of Children's Scientific Argumentation
Danielle Harlow and Valerie K. Otero
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 145-148, doi:10.1063/1.1807275
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This paper describes preliminary results of the analysis of a subset of data in which third grade children argue about how current travels through a simple circuit in a whole-class discussion. A model of four distinct patterns of argumentation among these eight-year-old children is proposed and described in this discussion.

D. Harlow and V. K. Otero, An Examination of Children's Scientific Argumentation, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 145-148 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807275.

Elements of expertise in the use of analogies in a 3rd-grade science discussion
David May and David Hammer
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 149-152, doi:10.1063/1.1807276
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Expertise in science involves the generation and use of analogies. How and when students might develop this aspect of expertise has implications for understanding how instruction might facilitate that development. We're at the beginning stages of trying to understand analogies as students use them in science classrooms. In a study of K-8 inquiry in physical science, we have seen several cases of spontaneous analogy generation at different levels of sophistication. In the case presented here, a 3rd-grader generates a particularly well-developed analogy and modifies it to reconcile his classmates' counter-arguments, allowing us to identify in these 3rd-graders specific elements of expertise in analogy use

D. May and D. Hammer, Elements of expertise in the use of analogies in a 3rd-grade science discussion, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 149-152 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807276.

Assessing Reflection on Practice: A Problem Solving Perspective
Edit Yerushalmi and Bat-Sheva Eylon
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 153-156, doi:10.1063/1.1807277
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Reflection on practice (ROP) serves to support teachers that introduce innovative instruction into their classrooms. There is an inherent dilemma between competing goals in ROP workshops: developing teachers' skills as reflective practitioners (process), vs. developing specific favored practices (result). This dilemma affects the evaluation of such workshops, as evaluation methods should align with the goals. In this paper we will gain insight on how to resolve the dilemma from the perspective of teaching scientific problem solving, where a similar dilemma between process and result is sharply manifested and thoroughly explored. Assessment methods and tools derived from this perspective were applied in a formative evaluation of a workshop for high school physics teachers. We will show how these analysis tools enabled us to identify differences in outcomes between versions of yearlong workshops that used different approaches to guidance of ROP. Our research can contribute to the planning and evaluation of ROP workshops.

E. Yerushalmi and B. Eylon, Assessing Reflection on Practice: A Problem Solving Perspective, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 153-156 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807277.

The Teaching Experiment — What it is and what it isn't
Paula V. Engelhardt, N. Sanjay Rebello, Darryl J. Ozimek, and Edgar D. Corpuz
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 157-160, doi:10.1063/1.1807278
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Much of the research investigating how a student reasons or what knowledge structures they possess and utilize has typically been done using clinical interviews. Clinical interviews are often semi-structured and may or may not involve demonstration equipment. In the early 1980's, mathematics researchers began using a new style of interviewing which they termed the "teaching experiment." These two methods will be compared and contrasted within the context of sound. Two groups of students from a conceptually-based introductory physics course were interviewed in an effort to understand how they view the production of sound in musical instruments; one group was interviewed using clinical interviews while the second group was interviewed using the teaching experiment.

P. V. Engelhardt, N. S. Rebello, D. J. Ozimek, and E. D. Corpuz, The Teaching Experiment — What it is and what it isn't, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 157-160 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807278.

Study of TA's ability to implement the Tutorials in Introductory Physics and student conceptual understanding
Kathleen M. Koenig and Robert J. Endorf
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 161-164, doi:10.1063/1.1807279
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Many students are not prepared for college physics and therefore perform poorly. This becomes a problem when students must pass physics as part of course requirements for their major. At the University of Cincinnati this problem is being addressed through the implementation of Tutorials in Introductory Physics in the recitation sections of our calculus-based physics course. In recent years we have evidence that the Tutorials in Introductory Physics increase both students' conceptual understanding of physics as well as their success rate in the course. To make further improvements we have shifted our research focus to the training of the recitation TAs. This presentation will describe the training the TAs receive as well as the methodology and instruments used in the study to determine the effectiveness of each TA. Preliminary findings indicate that there is a relationship between the TA's ability to implement the Tutorials in Introductory Physics and student conceptual understanding.

K. M. Koenig and R. J. Endorf, Study of TA's ability to implement the Tutorials in Introductory Physics and student conceptual understanding, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 161-164 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807279.

Easier Said Than Done: A Case Study of Instructional Change Under the Best of Circumstances
Charles R. Henderson
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 165-168, doi:10.1063/1.1807280
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This paper presents the partial results of a case study of an experienced university physics instructor as he attempted to change his instructional practices. Although this instructor appeared to have all of the prerequisites for successful change, he still encountered difficulties. Four factors were identified that limited his ability to change: (1) an implicit instructional model constrained thinking; (2) a lack of how-to and principles knowledge of instructional strategies limited successful implementation; (3) overly optimistic initial planning led to discontinuance; and (4) a desire to work within perceived external constraints limited options.

C. R. Henderson, Easier Said Than Done: A Case Study of Instructional Change Under the Best of Circumstances, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 165-168 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807280.

Lecture Demonstrations in Modern Physics: Quality vs. Quantity
Homeyra R. Sadaghiani and Lei Bao
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 169-172, doi:10.1063/1.1807281
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In a study conducted in modern physics courses, our investigation shows that inappropriate and an excessive number of demonstrations can lead to ineffective results. We carefully observed and recorded the activities done in all lectures in two modern physics classes throughout a quarter and analyzed students' responses to the end of the quarter questionnaires. We found a significant number of students did not recall many of the in-class demonstrations and were confused about the results of different demonstrations they had seen in lectures. In this paper, we will explore the possible reasons for this outcome and discuss implications for instructors who use demonstrations in lectures.

H. R. Sadaghiani and L. Bao, Lecture Demonstrations in Modern Physics: Quality vs. Quantity, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 169-172 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807281.

Pedagogical approaches, contextual variables, and the development of student self-efficacy in undergraduate physics courses
Heidi S. Fencl and Karen R. Scheel
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 173-176, doi:10.1063/1.1807282
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Self-efficacy, or a person's situation-specific belief that s/he can succeed in a given task, has been successful in a variety of educational studies for predicting behaviors such as perseverance and success (grades), and for understanding which behaviors are attempted or avoided. The focus of this study was to examine if classroom factors such as teaching strategies and classroom climate contribute to students' physics self-efficacy. 121 undergraduates in first semester, calculus-based introductory physics courses completed surveys assessing course experiences, self-efficacy and other outcome variables, and demographic information. Students in sections including a mix of teaching strategies did significantly better than students in the traditional section on outcome variables including self-efficacy. When individual strategies were examined, the strongest relationships were found between cooperative learning strategies and all sources of self-efficacy, and between climate variables and all sources of efficacy.

H. S. Fencl and K. R. Scheel, Pedagogical approaches, contextual variables, and the development of student self-efficacy in undergraduate physics courses, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 173-176 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807282.

Interactive video tutorials for enhancing problem-solving, reasoning, and meta-cognitive skills of introductory physics students
Chandralekha Singh
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 177-180, doi:10.1063/1.1807283
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We discuss the development of interactive video tutorial-based problems to help introductory physics students learn effective problem solving heuristics. The video tutorials present problem solving strategies using concrete examples in an interactive environment. They force students to follow a systematic approach to problem solving and students are required to solve sub-problems (research-guided multiple choice questions) to show their level of understanding at every stage of problem solving. The tutorials are designed to provide scaffolding support at every stage of problem solving as needed and help students view the problem solving process as an opportunity for knowledge and skill acquisition rather than a "plug and chug" chore. A focus on helping students learn first to analyze a problem qualitatively, and then to plan a solution in terms of the relevant physics principles, can be useful for developing their reasoning skills. The reflection stage of problem solving can help students develop meta-cognitive skills because they must focus on what they have learned by solving the problem and how it helps them extend and organize their knowledge. Preliminary evaluations show that a majority of students who are unable to solve the tutorial problems without help can solve similar problems after working through the video tutorial. Further evaluation to assess the development of useful skills is underway.

C. Singh, Interactive video tutorials for enhancing problem-solving, reasoning, and meta-cognitive skills of introductory physics students, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 177-180 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807283.

"Business-Style" Group Work in a Freshman Engineering Honors Class
Neville W. Reay, Lei Bao, Gordon Baugh, and Rasil Warnakulasooriya
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 181-184, doi:10.1063/1.1807284
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Group work expanded to include a "business-style" approach was introduced into the middle quarter of a year-long physics class for Freshman Engineering Honors students. Voting Machines were used during lectures as a means of strengthening group cohesiveness. Results are presented for end-of-quarter surveys and an "outside of class" project that involved separate interviews with each group.

N. W. Reay, L. Bao, G. Baugh, and R. Warnakulasooriya, "Business-Style" Group Work in a Freshman Engineering Honors Class, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 181-184 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807284.

Student goals and expectations in a large-enrollment physical science class
N. Sanjay Rebello
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 185-188, doi:10.1063/1.1807285
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What are the goals of non-science students taking a lecture-based physical science course? Do students' goals and expectations change as they progress through the class? We surveyed students on the first day of class about their goals as well as what they, their instructor and their classmates could do to help them achieve these goals. The same questions were asked at the end of the semester. A comparison of students' pre- vs. post-course responses reveals that students change what they believe to be key to meeting their goals for the class. After the class they are more likely to believe that they and their peers rather than the instructor have a larger role in achieving their goals.

N. S. Rebello, Student goals and expectations in a large-enrollment physical science class, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 185-188 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807285.

Students' understanding and perceptions of the content of a lecture
Zdeslav Hrepic, Dean A. Zollman, and N. Sanjay Rebello
AIP Conf. Proc. 720, pp. 189-192, doi:10.1063/1.1807286
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In spite of advances in physics pedagogy, the lecture is by far the most widely used instructional format. We investigated students' understanding and perceptions of the content delivered during a physics lecture. Students participating in our study responded to a written conceptual survey on sound propagation. Next, they looked for answers to the survey questions in a videotaped lecture by a nationally known teacher. As they viewed the lecture, they indicated instances, if any, in which the survey questions were answered during the lecture. A group of experts (physics instructors) also participated in our study. We discuss students' and experts' responses to the survey questions.

Z. Hrepic, D. A. Zollman, and N. S. Rebello, Students' understanding and perceptions of the content of a lecture, 2003 PERC Proceedings [Madison, WI, August 6-7, 2003], edited by J. Marx, S. Franklin, and K. Cummings [AIP Conf. Proc. 720, 189-192 (2004)], doi:10.1063/1.1807286.