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2004 PERC Proceedings

Conference Information

Dates: August 4-5, 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Theme: Transfer of Learning

Proceedings Information

Editors: Jeffrey Marx, Paula Heron, and Scott Franklin
Published: September 16, 2005
AIP URL: AIP Conference Proceedings 790
Info: Single book; 230 pages; 8.5 X 11 inches, double column
ISBN: 0-7354-0281-7
ISSN (Print): 0094-243X
ISSN (Online): 1551-7616

The 2004 Physics Education Research (PER) Conference brought together researchers in how we teach physics and how it is learned. Student understanding of concepts, the efficacy of different pedagogical techniques, and the importance of student attitudes towards physics and knowledge were all discussed. These Proceedings capture an important snapshot of the PER community, containing a broad collection of research papers of work in progress.

Readership: Physics education researchers (faculty, post-doctoral students, and graduate students); physics faculty with significant teaching responsibilities; high school physics teachers

Table of Contents

Front Matter
Invited Papers (10)
Peer-reviewed Papers (42)
Back Matter

INVITED MANUSCRIPTS (10)

First Author Index

Mestre · Meltzer · Redish · Finkelstein · Price · Singh · Ambrose · Meltzer · Boudreaux · Calder

Invited Papers

Is Transfer Ubiquitous or Rare? New Paradigms for Studying Transfer
Jose P. Mestre
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 3-6, doi:10.1063/1.2084687
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Classic and emerging views of transfer are discussed; examples of research are provided to illustrate each.

J. P. Mestre, Is Transfer Ubiquitous or Rare? New Paradigms for Studying Transfer, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 3-6 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084687.

How Do You Hit A Moving Target? Addressing The Dynamics Of Students' Thinking
David E. Meltzer
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 7-10, doi:10.1063/1.2084688
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From the standpoint both of research and instruction, the variable and dynamic nature of students' thought processes poses a significant challenge to PER. It is difficult merely to assess and characterize the diverse phases of students' thinking as they gain and express understanding of a concept. (We might call this the "kinematics" of students' thought processes.) Much harder still is uncovering the various factors (instructional method, student characteristics, etc.) that influence and determine the trajectory of students' thinking. (We could call this the "dynamics" of students' thinking.) The task of deciphering the mutual interaction of these factors adds to the challenge. I will outline some of the initial work that has been done along these lines by various researchers, and I will identify some directions for future research that I think might be fruitful for workers in PER.

D. E. Meltzer, How Do You Hit A Moving Target? Addressing The Dynamics Of Students' Thinking, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 7-10 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084688.

Twenty Questions for PER: How Does It All Fit Together?
Edward F. Redish and Michael C. Wittmann
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 11-14, doi:10.1063/1.2084689
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In physics education research (PER), we have focused our attention for many years on finding ways to improve our instruction and have achieved some notable successes. In this paper, we suggest that the time has come to embed this activity in a more complete and scientific view of PER, one that builds a coherent understanding of the system of teaching and learning in addition to improving the practice of our instruction. We outline five broad topics of interest for PER and discuss questions that need to be addressed in each topic over the next few years. The topics are: the model of the participants, the model of the contexts, the model of the content, the engineering of instruction, and the overall epistemology of PER — How do we decide when we think we know something?

E. F. Redish and M. C. Wittmann, Twenty Questions for PER: How Does It All Fit Together?, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 11-14 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084689.

Seeding Change: The Challenges of Transfer and Transformation of Educational Practice and Research in Physics (Part I)
Noah D. Finkelstein and Edward Price
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 15-18, doi:10.1063/1.2084690
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Academia appears to do a remarkable job at producing the next generation of research faculty. The long-anticipated shortage of well-qualified researchers has not appeared. At the same time, while there are calls to reform educational practices in college and university classrooms, we are not widely preparing our future faculty to develop or implement these research-based educational practices. What mechanisms exist to foster the development of such practices and promote the field of PER more generally? These coupled papers examine the interrelated problems of supporting the development of the field, and the `transfer' of what is known from PER to the more general populace of physics instructors. The first of these coupled papers outlines a framework of professionalism and faculty attitudes that is applied in the second paper in order to examine two programs designed to address the challenges of including education into the broader physics culture.

N. D. Finkelstein and E. Price, Seeding Change: The Challenges of Transfer and Transformation of Educational Practice and Research in Physics (Part I), 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 15-18 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084690.

Seeding Change: The Challenges of Transfer and Transformation of Educational Practice and Research in Physics (Part II)
Edward Price and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 19-22, doi:10.1063/1.2084691
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These coupled papers examine the interrelated problems of supporting the development of PER, and the `transfer' of what is known from PER to the more general populace of physics instructors. Two programs are examined to highlight these interrelated issues: the Postdoctoral Fellowships in Mathematics Science Engineering and Technology Education and the Preparing Future Physics Faculty Program. Data on successes and failures of these programs are presented and analyzed from a perspective of professionalism and attitudes and beliefs outlined in the first paper. We claim such programs set the seeds for inclusion of education and education research in the broader culture of physics.

E. Price and N. D. Finkelstein, Seeding Change: The Challenges of Transfer and Transformation of Educational Practice and Research in Physics (Part II), 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 19-22 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084691.

Transfer of Learning in Quantum Mechanics
Chandralekha Singh
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 23-26, doi:10.1063/1.2084692
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We investigate the difficulties that undergraduate students in quantum mechanics courses have in transferring learning from previous courses or within the same course from one context to another by administering written tests and conducting individual interviews. Quantum mechanics is abstract and its paradigm is very different from the classical one. A good grasp of the principles of quantum mechanics requires creating and organizing a knowledge structure consistent with the quantum postulates. Previously learned concepts such as the principle of superposition and probability can be useful in quantum mechanics if students are given opportunity to build associations between new and prior knowledge. We also discuss the need for better alignment between quantum mechanics and modern physics courses taken previously because semi-classical models can impede internalization of the quantum paradigm in more advanced courses.

C. Singh, Transfer of Learning in Quantum Mechanics, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 23-26 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084692.

A Repeat Performance? Challenges In Developing Robust Conceptual Understanding in Quantum Mechanics
Bradley S. Ambrose
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 27-30, doi:10.1063/1.2084693
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Ongoing physics education research (PER) at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) is guiding the development of instructional materials for teaching modern physics. Results from this project can help address the question: To what extent should we expect upper-level physics students to be able to apply concepts previously covered in class—even those addressed through PER-based instruction at the advanced level—to different situations? Extensive research at the introductory level has already revealed that such transfer is extremely difficult for beginning students to do on their own. Preliminary results from this project suggest that, even among upper level students, specific conceptual and reasoning difficulties must be addressed explicitly and at multiple instances during instruction.

B. S. Ambrose, A Repeat Performance? Challenges In Developing Robust Conceptual Understanding in Quantum Mechanics, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 27-30 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084693.

Student Learning In Upper-Level Thermal Physics: Comparisons And Contrasts With Students In Introductory Courses
David E. Meltzer
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 31-34, doi:10.1063/1.2084694
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We found that students in an upper-level thermal physics course were in general quicker than introductory students at grasping and applying fundamental concepts. Upper-level students seemed, in general, more receptive to employing qualitative reasoning using multiple representations, and capable of using it more effectively than introductory students. In addition, upper-level students were better able to utilize guided-inquiry curricular materials in the sense of reasoning with greater depth and grasping more subtle issues. However, although the overall level of preparation and ability was higher in the upper-level course, the broad range of preparation represented among the students presented various practical challenges to implementing active-learning instructional strategies. Moreover, even quite capable upper-level students would falter unexpectedly and unpredictably on various conceptual difficulties that are common among introductory students. The unpredictable and inconsistent nature of this effect demonstrated that instructors must always be prepared to detect and address such difficulties in upper-level courses.

D. E. Meltzer, Student Learning In Upper-Level Thermal Physics: Comparisons And Contrasts With Students In Introductory Courses, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 31-34 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084694.

Tracing Difficulties With Relativistically Invariant Mass To Difficulties With Vector Addition Of Momentum In Newtonian Contexts
Andrew Boudreaux
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 35-38, doi:10.1063/1.2084695
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For effective transfer of knowledge, it is necessary to break the transfer of conceptual difficulties. In physics courses that include special relativity, students are expected to relate the invariant mass of a system to the energy and momentum of the individual particles that make it up. Many have difficulty doing so. Student responses indicate that some difficulties stem from a failure to treat energy-momentum as a four-vector. Introductory students experience related difficulties in a purely non-relativistic context: many fail to take the vector nature of three-momentum into account when relating the momentum of a system to the momenta of its constituents. Results suggest that these difficulties are widespread, and not necessarily resolved through the study of advanced topics.

A. Boudreaux, Tracing Difficulties With Relativistically Invariant Mass To Difficulties With Vector Addition Of Momentum In Newtonian Contexts, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 35-38 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084695.

Transfer of Learning through Gender and Ethnicity
Austin Calder and Emily A. West
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 39-41, doi:10.1063/1.2084696
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This brief report compared the performance by gender and ethnicity of 6720 students in an introductory course for the life science majors: Physics 7A and 7B. We compared performance between ethnicities and genders using Z scores taken by quarter. We also performed a binary analysis with achievement of a high grade in 7B as the dependent variable. The results indicate that on average males score higher than females in every ethnic group, and that the only statistically significant ethnic differences in our binary analysis were White and African American, The model indicated that being female reduced odds of achieving a high grade in 7B by one half. Odds were reduced by more than half for African Americans and increased by three halves for White. We also compared gender equity over 18 quizzes. Equity favored quiz questions that are more open ended; this is consistent with some earlier findings in studies of gender equity in introductory physics courses.

A. Calder and E. A. West, Transfer of Learning through Gender and Ethnicity, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 39-41 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084696.

PEER REVIEWED MANUSCRIPTS (42)

First Author Index

Adams · Kim · Lindell · McCaskey · Perkins · Singh · Allain · Allbaugh · Loverude · Menchen · Aubrecht II · Demaree · Messina · Finkelstein · Harlow · Henderson · Dancy · Hinrichs · Kohl · Marx · McKinnon · Murthy · Pollock · Sandifer · Warren · Brookes · Corpuz · Gray · Koleci · Lee · Mateycik · Ozimek · Rosengrant · Yerushalmi · Cummings · Beuckman · Bonham · Hsu · Wagner · Warnakulasooriya · Dykstra

Peer-reviewed Papers

The Design and Validation of the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey
Wendy K. Adams, Katherine K. Perkins, Michael Dubson, Noah D. Finkelstein, and Carl E. Wieman
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 45-48, doi:10.1063/1.2084697
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The Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey (CLASS) is a new instrument designed to measure various facets of student attitudes and beliefs about learning physics. This instrument extends previous work by probing additional facets of student attitudes and beliefs. It has been written to be suitably worded for students in a variety of different courses. This paper introduces the CLASS and its design and validation studies, which include analyzing results from over 2400 students, interviews and factor analyses. Methodology used to determine categories and how to analyze the robustness of categories for probing various facets of student learning are also described. This paper serves as the foundation for the results and conclusions from the analysis of our survey data.

W. K. Adams, K. K. Perkins, M. Dubson, N. D. Finkelstein, and C. E. Wieman, The Design and Validation of the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 45-48 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084697.

Development of an Instrument for Evaluating Anxiety Caused by Cognitive Conflict
Yeounsoo Kim and Lei Bao
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 49-52, doi:10.1063/1.2084698
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Physics learning situations often involve many cognitive conflicts between a student's present understandings and new information being learned. Cognitive conflict is known as an important factor in conceptual change. Therefore, it is important to help physics teachers and students develop skills and knowledge for more effective conflict management. However there is no readily available method to monitor the existence and features of cognitive conflicts that students may encounter during their learning. We focus the study on student anxiety caused by cognitive conflict so that we can improve student motivation. This study is targeted to develop an easy-to-use instrument that can be implemented in the classrooms to monitor student anxiety in cognitive conflict situations and the effects on student motivation. In this paper, we will discuss the structure of this instrument and show results from using this tool in our Physics by Inquiry class.

Y. Kim and L. Bao, Development of an Instrument for Evaluating Anxiety Caused by Cognitive Conflict, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 49-52 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084698.

Measuring Conceptual Change in College Students' Understanding of Lunar Phases
Rebecca S. Lindell
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 53-56, doi:10.1063/1.2084699
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To determine the overall effectiveness of instruction at producing a scientifically correct understanding, researchers need to be able to assess conceptual change. This paper details how using Model Analysis Theory (MAT) in conjunction with the Lunar Phases Concept Inventory (LPCI), provides researchers a more detailed picture of college students conceptual change with regards to lunar phases than traditional methods alone. A review of MAT is provided along with a detailed example of its application before and after instruction to determine conceptual change.

R. S. Lindell, Measuring Conceptual Change in College Students' Understanding of Lunar Phases, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 53-56 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084699.

Probing Students' Epistemologies Using Split Tasks
Timothy L. McCaskey and Andrew Elby
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 57-60, doi:10.1063/1.2084700
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Do students really believe the physical principles they learn in class? To explore this question, we gave an FCI "split" task in which students indicated the answers they think a scientist would give and also indicated the answers they really believe. To interpret the splits that students indicated between what they believe and what they were taught, we interviewed students about why they split. It turns out that a split does not indicate that the student disbelieves the scientist's answer. The splits actually arose for other reasons, one of which was students indicating a discrepancy between what they were taught and what makes sense to them. For this and other reasons, we devised a new split task focused on these discrepancies between "what makes sense" and what a scientist would say. The results of this new experiment, including validation interviews, will be discussed briefly. Evidence suggests that students are more willing to reconcile physics concepts with their everyday experience if epistemological development is an explicit goal of instruction.

T. L. McCaskey and A. Elby, Probing Students' Epistemologies Using Split Tasks, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 57-60 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084700.

Correlating Student Beliefs with Student Learning Using the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey
Katherine K. Perkins, Wendy K. Adams, Steven J. Pollock, Noah D. Finkelstein, and Carl E. Wieman
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 61-64, doi:10.1063/1.2084701
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A number of instruments have been designed to probe the variety of attitudes, beliefs, expectations, and epistemological frames taught in our introductory physics courses. Using a newly developed instrument — the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey (CLASS) — we examine the relationship between students' beliefs about physics and other educational outcomes, such as conceptual learning and student retention. We report results from surveys of over 750 students in a variety of courses, including several courses modified to promote favorable beliefs about physics. We find positive correlations between particular student beliefs and conceptual learning gains, and between student retention and favorable beliefs in select categories. We also note the influence of teaching practices on student beliefs.

K. K. Perkins, W. K. Adams, S. J. Pollock, N. D. Finkelstein, and C. E. Wieman, Correlating Student Beliefs with Student Learning Using the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 61-64 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084701.

Student understanding of Symmetry and Gauss's law
Chandralekha Singh
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 65-68, doi:10.1063/1.2084702
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Helping students learn why Gauss's law can or cannot be easily applied to determine the strength of the electric field at various points for a particular charge distribution, and then helping them learn to determine the shape of the Gaussian surfaces if sufficient symmetry exists can develop their reasoning and problem solving skills. We investigate the difficulties that students in calculus-based introductory physics courses have with the concepts of symmetry, electric field and electric flux that are pivotal to Gauss's law of electricity. Determination of the electric field using Gauss's law requires discerning the symmetry of a particular charge distribution and being able to predict the direction of the electric field everywhere if a high symmetry exists. It requires a good grasp of how to add the electric field vectors using the principle of superposition, and the concepts of area vector and electric flux. We administered free response and multiple-choice questions and conducted interviews with individual students using a think-aloud protocol to elucidate the difficulties students have with the concepts of symmetry, electric field and electric flux. Here we discuss student responses to some questions on a multiple-choice test administered to them. The test can be used both as a teaching and assessment tool.

C. Singh, Student understanding of Symmetry and Gauss's law, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 65-68 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084702.

Rate of Change and Electric Potential
Rhett J. Allain and Robert J. Beichner
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 69-72, doi:10.1063/1.2084703
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This project aims to investigate a possible underlying cause of student difficulties relating change in electric potential to electric fields. A likely source of difficulties is the lack of students' understanding of the general concept of rate of change (both rate of change in time and in distance). To investigate this link, a diagnostic instrument was created that probed students' understanding of rate of change concepts and electric potential concepts. This paper will report on the creation of the diagnostic instrument and results from student responses.

R. J. Allain and R. J. Beichner, Rate of Change and Electric Potential, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 69-72 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084703.

Diminishing Forces - Implications for Contextual Dependence of a Misconception
Alicia R. Allbaugh
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 73-76, doi:10.1063/1.2084704
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Evidence is presented to suggest a misconception concerning motion of an object when acted upon by a force that decreases with distance such as Coulomb's Law. This evidence was collected during interviews of several above average calculus-based physics students. The students stated that the motion of an object would slow, even stop, if the force on it decreased based upon its distance. This may not be surprising until viewed in the light that many of these students didn't reveal this impetus or Aristotelian notion except with diminishing forces.

A. R. Allbaugh, Diminishing Forces - Implications for Contextual Dependence of a Misconception, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 73-76 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084704.

Student Understanding Of Gravitational Potential Energy And The Motion Of Bodies In A Gravitational Field
Michael E. Loverude
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 77-80, doi:10.1063/1.2084705
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We have been investigating student understanding of energy concepts in the context of introductory courses for non-science majors as well as those for science and engineering majors. We have found that many students develop incomplete and incorrect understandings of the concept of gravitational potential energy. Moreover, students often have incorrect notions about the motion of bodies under the influence of gravity. These incorrect beliefs may prevent the development of a coherent understanding of energy as a conserved quantity.

M. E. Loverude, Student Understanding Of Gravitational Potential Energy And The Motion Of Bodies In A Gravitational Field, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 77-80 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084705.

Student Understanding Of Sound Propagation: Research And Curriculum Development
Katherine Menchen and John R. Thompson
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 81-84, doi:10.1063/1.2084706
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We describe recent results in an ongoing investigation of student understanding of sound, especially of sound propagation in solid media. We have recently administered written questions and conducted interviews to probe student reasoning about this topic, specifically the effect on the pitch or frequency of a sound that is propagated from one object to another. Our findings show that the concepts of propagation and resonance are not functionally distinguished by these students; many students seem to be distracted by the resonant properties of an object that is propagating sound. Furthermore, students have more difficulty when considering propagation of a sound through objects with sound generating properties than with objects not associated with sound generation. This work forms the basis for instructional materials to improve student learning, especially among preservice teachers. The curriculum developed to date is reasonably successful at addressing these student difficulties.

K. Menchen and J. R. Thompson, Student Understanding Of Sound Propagation: Research And Curriculum Development, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 81-84 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084706.

Contrasts in Student Understanding of Simple E&M Questions in Two Countries
Gordon J. Aubrecht, II and Cristian Raduta
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 85-88, doi:10.1063/1.2084707
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We administered a survey on electricity and magnetism to two populations of undergraduate students: one from Ohio State University, the other from Bucharest University (Romania), The survey had two multiple part questions. One question invited use of Gauss's Law in several different region. A bare majority of students could solve the simplest problem, that of the electric field inside a conductor. The other question asked about the force on and trajectory of charged particles in regions of magnetic field. These latter questions rely on understanding the Lorentz force and on transfer of general knowledge from classical mechanics studied earlier. Our results show that mechanics knowledge learned earlier does not transfer to electricity and magnetism. Transfer of learning about electricity and magnetism in both countries as measured by our instrument is less successful than we, as teachers, would have wished.

G. J. A. II and C. Raduta, Contrasts in Student Understanding of Simple E&M Questions in Two Countries, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 85-88 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084707.

Grounding Inquiry-based Teaching and Learning Methods in Physics Experiences for Prospective Elementary Teachers
Gordon J. Aubrecht, II
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 89-92, doi:10.1063/1.2084708
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In teaching inquiry classes in physics, I ask students to reflect on their learning in journals. One of the journal questions deals with student expectations of transfer of the inquiry techniques used in our class into their own classrooms when they become teachers themselves. I report on students' answers to this question over a five-year period, which gives insight into how much or how little the students think the techniques are worth to themselves as both students and prospective teachers.

G. J. A. II, Grounding Inquiry-based Teaching and Learning Methods in Physics Experiences for Prospective Elementary Teachers, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 89-92 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084708.

Virtual reality in introductory physics laboratories
Dedra Demaree, Stephen Stonebraker, Wenhui Zhao, and Lei Bao
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 93-96, doi:10.1063/1.2084709
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Physicists consider laboratories to be a vital part of any introductory course, yet The Ohio State University's existing labs are not meeting their educational goals and students consistently rate them as having low value. This paper explores some of the reasons that standard introductory physics laboratories are not having the expected impact, and describes the implementation of Virtual Reality based experiments to improve upon lab effectiveness. Student response to these experiments and preliminary results regarding their impact on student learning will be discussed.

D. Demaree, S. Stonebraker, W. Zhao, and L. Bao, Virtual reality in introductory physics laboratories, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 93-96 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084709.

Helping Preservice Teachers Implement and Assess Research-based Instruction in K-12 Classrooms
Donna Messina, Lezlie S. DeWater, and MacKenzie R. Stetzer
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 97-100, doi:10.1063/1.2084710
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The Physics Education Group at the University of Washington offers special physics courses for preservice teachers. The three-quarter sequence helps prospective teachers develop an in-depth understanding of some of the important basic concepts they will teach. The guided-inquiry pedagogical approach provides them with an opportunity to learn as they will be expected to teach. As a result of the course, preservice teachers also come to recognize some conceptual and reasoning difficulties commonly encountered by students. A culmination of their experience is a teaching practicum in which the preservice teachers apply what they have learned to instruction in middle or high school classrooms. Observations of the preservice teachers as they design, teach, and assess their lessons contribute to our understanding of the type of preparation needed for them to be able to teach physics and physical science by inquiry.

D. Messina, L. S. DeWater, and M. R. Stetzer, Helping Preservice Teachers Implement and Assess Research-based Instruction in K-12 Classrooms, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 97-100 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084710.

Can Computer Simulations Replace Real Equipment in Undergraduate Laboratories?
Noah D. Finkelstein, Katherine K. Perkins, Wendy K. Adams, Patrick B. Kohl , and Noah S. Podolefsky
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 101-104, doi:10.1063/1.2084711
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This paper examines the effects of substituting computer simulations in place of real laboratory equipment in the second semester of a large-scale introductory physics course. The direct current (DC) circuit laboratory was modified to compare the effects of using computer simulations with the effects of using real light bulbs, meters and wires. Three groups of students, those who used real equipment, those who used computer simulations, and those who had no lab experience, were compared in terms of their mastery of physics concepts and skills with real equipment. Students who used the simulated equipment outperformed their counterparts both on a conceptual survey of the domain and in the coordinated tasks of assembling a real circuit and describing how it worked.

N. D. Finkelstein, K. K. Perkins, W. K. Adams, P. B. Kohl, and N. S. Podolefsky, Can Computer Simulations Replace Real Equipment in Undergraduate Laboratories?, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 101-104 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084711.

Learning Physics by Listening To Children
Danielle Harlow and Valerie K. Otero
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 105-108, doi:10.1063/1.2084712
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This paper examines the role that physics subject matter knowledge plays in one aspect of elementary teaching: listening to children's science ideas. Preliminary results of this study show that prospective teachers use their conceptual understanding of physics to analyze the "physics talk" of elementary students. This is demonstrated by their restatements of the children's ideas about physics phenomena.

D. Harlow and V. K. Otero, Learning Physics by Listening To Children, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 105-108 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084712.

Teaching, Learning and Physics Education Research: Views of Mainstream Physics Professors
Charles R. Henderson and Melissa H. Dancy
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 109-112, doi:10.1063/1.2084713
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This paper presents the preliminary results of interviews with four thoughtful senior faculty who are not part of the Physics Education Research (PER) community. The interviews focused on their general beliefs about teaching and learning as well as their use of and attitudes towards PER and PER-based instructional strategies. We found that these instructors have beliefs about teaching and learning and instructional goals that are more PER-compatible than their self-described instructional practices. We hypothesize that one factor impeding more complete incorporation of PER is instructors' either misinterpreting or having a low opinion of the trustworthiness of educational research results.

C. R. Henderson and M. H. Dancy, Teaching, Learning and Physics Education Research: Views of Mainstream Physics Professors, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 109-112 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084713.

Beyond the Individual Instructor: Systemic Constraints in the Implementation of Research-Informed Practices
Melissa H. Dancy and Charles R. Henderson
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 113-116, doi:10.1063/1.2084714
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Anecdotal evidence suggests that findings of educational research and resulting curricula are, at best, only marginally incorporated into introductory physics courses. Based on interviews with four non-PER physics faculty we investigated why incorporation of research-based curricula is uncommon. Elsewhere, we report that these instructors have PER-compatible beliefs about teaching and learning, but largely traditional instructional practices. In this paper we explore the significant role that systemic influences play in this apparent discrepancy and present a theoretical model to describe the interplay between individual beliefs and systemic influences.

M. H. Dancy and C. R. Henderson, Beyond the Individual Instructor: Systemic Constraints in the Implementation of Research-Informed Practices, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 113-116 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084714.

Using the System Schema Representational Tool to Promote Student Understanding of Newton's Third Law
Brant E. Hinrichs
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 117-120, doi:10.1063/1.2084715
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The Modeling Instruction program at Arizona State University has developed a representational tool, called a system schema, to help students make a first level of abstraction of an actual physical situation. A system schema consists of identifying and labeling all objects of interest from a given physical situation, as well as all the different types of interactions between the objects. Given all the relevant objects and their interactions, students can explicitly identify which are part of their system and which are not, and then go on to model the interactions affecting their choice of system as either (i) mechanisms for energy transfer, or (ii) forces being exerted. In this paper, I describe the system schema tool, give examples of its use in the context of forces, and present some evidence on its effectiveness in helping students understand Newton's Third Law.

B. E. Hinrichs, Using the System Schema Representational Tool to Promote Student Understanding of Newton's Third Law, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 117-120 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084715.

Representational Format, Student Choice, and Problem Solving in Physics
Patrick B. Kohl and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 121-124, doi:10.1063/1.2084716
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Student problem-solving ability appears to be tied to the representational format of the problem (math, pictorial, graphical, verbal). In a study of a 367-student algebra-based physics class, we examine student problem solving ability on homework problems given in four different representational formats, with problems as close to isomorphic as possible. In addition, we examine students' capacity for assessing their own representational competence by giving follow-up quizzes in which the students can choose between various problem formats. We report student performance and consider factors that may influence their ability or choices. As a control, part of the class was assigned a random-format follow-up quiz where students received quiz formats at random. We find that there are statistically significant performance differences between isomorphic problems. We also find that allowing students to choose which representational format they use improves student performance under some circumstances and degrades it in others.

P. B. Kohl and N. D. Finkelstein, Representational Format, Student Choice, and Problem Solving in Physics, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 121-124 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084716.

Attitudes of Undergraduate General Science Students Toward Learning Science and the Nature of Science
Jeffrey Marx, Shabbir Mian, and Vasilis Pagonis
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 125-128, doi:10.1063/1.2084717
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We investigated general science students' attitudes regarding the acquisition of scientific knowledge and the nature of science by administering a 32-item attitudinal survey. To assemble a representative array of epistemological attitudes at our institution and to determine the impact of instruction, we administered this survey to over 250 students from 19 sections of three general science courses. We characterized the instructional styles for each course using three broad categories: Traditional, Transitional, and Learning-centered. This paper focuses on the impact those different instructional styles had on students' epistemological beliefs.

J. Marx, S. Mian, and V. Pagonis, Attitudes of Undergraduate General Science Students Toward Learning Science and the Nature of Science, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 125-128 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084717.

Preliminary Results of Gender Equity Variations in a Large Active-Learning Introductory Physics Course Due to Laboratory Activity Instructions
Mark L. McKinnon and Wendell H. Potter
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 129-132, doi:10.1063/1.2084718
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In the UC Davis introductory physics course for life science majors, variations in lab activity instructions were introduced to investigate their influence on gender performance differences. Systematic instructions were compared to unguided, open-ended instructions. On preliminary examination, the performance difference between females and males was unaffected by the different instructions. However, there is some evidence that the open-ended instructions did increase students' conceptual understanding in general.

M. L. McKinnon and W. H. Potter, Preliminary Results of Gender Equity Variations in a Large Active-Learning Introductory Physics Course Due to Laboratory Activity Instructions, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 129-132 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084718.

Development of Scientific Abilities in a Large Class
Sahana Murthy and Eugenia Etkina
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 133-136, doi:10.1063/1.2084719
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This paper describes our instructional and research efforts to help students in a large-enrollment (450 students) introductory laboratory course develop abilities used by practicing scientists. We focus on the ability to design an experimental investigation. We provide sample tasks, scoring rubrics and evidence of student improvement.

S. Murthy and E. Etkina, Development of Scientific Abilities in a Large Class, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 133-136 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084719.

No Single Cause: Learning Gains, Student Attitudes, and the Impacts of Multiple Effective Reforms
Steven J. Pollock
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 137-140, doi:10.1063/1.2084720
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We examine the effects of, and interplay among, several proven research-based reforms implemented in an introductory large enrollment (500+) calculus-based physics course. These interventions included Peer Instruction with student response system in lecture, Tutorials with trained undergrad learning assistants in recitations, and personalized computer assignments. We collected extensive informal online survey data along with validated pre/post content- and attitude-surveys, and long answer pre/post content questions designed to assess learning gains and near transfer, to investigate complementary effects of these multiple reforms, and to begin to understand which features are necessary and effective for high fidelity replication. Our average [median] normalized gain was .62 [0.67] on the FCI, .66 [0.77] on the FMCE, yet we find we cannot uniquely associate these gains with any individual isolated course components. We also investigate the population of students with low final conceptual scores, with an emphasis on the roles played by demographics, preparation, and self-reported attitudes and beliefs about learning.

S. J. Pollock, No Single Cause: Learning Gains, Student Attitudes, and the Impacts of Multiple Effective Reforms, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 137-140 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084720.

Teacher and Curriculum Factors that Influence Middle School Students' Sense-Making Discussions of Force/Motion
Cody Sandifer
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 141-144, doi:10.1063/1.2084721
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This study investigated small-group discussions in an inquiry-based middle school science classroom. The purpose of the study was to determine the teacher and curriculum factors that provide support (or not) for students' sense-making discussions. To do this, two student groups were videotaped as they participated in force/motion activities. Analysis revealed that sense-making discussion was influenced by an occasional lack of teacher adherence to the curriculum philosophy, particular types of discussion prompts, the drawing of free-body and energy diagrams, and other teacher and curriculum factors.

C. Sandifer, Teacher and Curriculum Factors that Influence Middle School Students' Sense-Making Discussions of Force/Motion, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 141-144 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084721.

The Role of Evaluative Abilities in Physics Learning
Aaron R. Warren
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 145-148, doi:10.1063/1.2084722
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This paper outlines ongoing research regarding the role evaluative abilities play in student learning. Evaluative abilities refer to a student's capacity for employing several general strategies for checking, critiquing, and judging information. In the context of physics, such information may include proposed problem solutions, proposed models, and conceptual claims. Strategies for evaluating information include dimensional analysis, checking special and limiting cases, and analyzing the assumptions which underlie a model, solution, or claim. Over the past year I have been developing and testing a number of activities designed to promote and assess students' evaluative abilities. I report preliminary results regarding the correlations between students' evaluative abilities and their understanding of physics, and identify future avenues of research.

A. R. Warren, The Role of Evaluative Abilities in Physics Learning, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 145-148 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084722.

Concerning Scientific Discourse about Heat
David T. Brookes, George K. Horton, A. Van Heuvelen, and Eugenia Etkina
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 149-152, doi:10.1063/1.2084723
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We aim to examine communication in physics from a linguistic perspective and suggest a theoretical viewpoint that may enable us to explain and understand many physics students' alternative conceptions. We present evidence, in the context of the concept of heat, that physicists seem to speak and write about physical systems with a set of one or more systematic metaphors that are well understood in their community. We argue that physics students appear to be prone to misinterpreting and overextending the same metaphors and that these misinterpretations exhibit themselves as students' alternative conceptions. We will analyze physicists' discourse about heat and present evidence of a connection between students' alternative conceptions and the possibility that they are misinterpreting the language that they read and hear.

D. T. Brookes, G. K. Horton, A. V. Heuvelen, and E. Etkina, Concerning Scientific Discourse about Heat, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 149-152 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084723.

Introductory College Physics Students' Explanations Of Friction And Related Phenomena At The Microscopic Level
Edgar D. Corpuz and N. Sanjay Rebello
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 153-156, doi:10.1063/1.2084724
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We investigated introductory college physics students' explanations of friction and lubrication through semi-structured clinical interviews. Although students were able to construct explanations at the atomic scale, they tended to explain phenomena by using attributes of macroscopic objects. For instance, when they described atoms as balls, they tended to associate attributes of real balls to the attributes of the atoms. In the future our results will guide the design of teaching materials to enable students to construct scientifically correct microscopic models of friction and lubrication.

E. D. Corpuz and N. S. Rebello, Introductory College Physics Students' Explanations Of Friction And Related Phenomena At The Microscopic Level, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 153-156 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084724.

Transfer Between Paired Problems In An Interview
Kara E. Gray and N. Sanjay Rebello
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 157-160, doi:10.1063/1.2084725
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This paper will cover a small portion of a larger study designed to address the issue of stability of knowledge in an interview and how it is influenced by transfer of learning. An interview over basic mechanics questions will be used to show how one question can influence a student's answer to another question. Based on this transcript and other data collected during the study, students' ideas appear to be influenced not only by their experiences and the context presented in the question, but also by the context of the question. This analysis was done based on a new model of transfer called the actor-oriented transfer model developed by Lobato that is based on the "personal construction of similarities" by the student between the learning and transfer contexts. This new model will also be discussed in further detail in the paper.

K. E. Gray and N. S. Rebello, Transfer Between Paired Problems In An Interview, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 157-160 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084725.

Sample Exams And Transfer In Introductory Mechanics
Carolann Koleci
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 161-164, doi:10.1063/1.2084726
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Why do novices use examples so extensively, no matter which subject area? Examples are often helpful because they reveal how to get from problem descriptions to theoretical re-formulations. Moreover, problem solving in semantically rich domains, like physics, requires one to translate a given problem description into theoretical concepts. We address some of the important issues of knowledge transfer, in the context of introductory mechanics, using data from an on-going sample-exam study conducted at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

C. Koleci, Sample Exams And Transfer In Introductory Mechanics, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 161-164 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084726.

Alternative conceptions, memory, & mental models in physics education
Gyoungho Lee, Jongho Shin, Jiyeon Park, Sangho Song, Yeounsoo Kim, and Lei Bao
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 165-168, doi:10.1063/1.2084727
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There are two somewhat independent research traditions, which converge to suggest a form of students' knowledge: alternative conceptions and mental models. However we have little literature that explains what they are different from each other and from memory. This study tried to describe these issues with some thoughts about how cognitive psychology and science education approaches can be best synthesized in order to approach these questions.

G. Lee, J. Shin, J. Park, S. Song, Y. Kim, and L. Bao, Alternative conceptions, memory, & mental models in physics education, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 165-168 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084727.

Student Descriptions of Refraction and Optical Fibers
Frances Mateycik, Doris J. Wagner, Janet J. Rivera, and Sybillyn Jennings
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 169-172, doi:10.1063/1.2084728
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This paper reports our research into how students describe and think about optical fibers and the physical phenomena of refraction and total internal reflection (TIR) basic to their operation. The study was conducted as part of the improvement and expansion of web-based materials for an innovative Rensselaer introductory physics course that examines the physics underlying information technology. As we developed the prototype module, we examined students' understanding of the phenomena of refraction, TIR, and optical fibers through the use of clinical interviews. As students discussed refraction and tried to explain how optical fibers work, several patterns emerged. Our analysis of these patterns drives our assessment of the effectiveness of the revised materials in facilitating students' transfer of learning, as well as the development of a multiple-choice diagnostic tool.

F. Mateycik, D. J. Wagner, J. J. Rivera, and S. Jennings, Student Descriptions of Refraction and Optical Fibers, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 169-172 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084728.

Retention and Transfer from Trigonometry to Physics
Darryl J. Ozimek, Paula V. Engelhardt, Andrew G. Bennett, and N. Sanjay Rebello
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 173-176, doi:10.1063/1.2084729
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We examined the extent to which students retained and transferred various concepts from trigonometry to physics at the introductory college level. Online trigonometry homework assignments and pre- and post-instruction surveys in physics were our sources of data. Transfer was measured from a traditional as well as two contemporary perspectives. Students seemed to have more difficulty retaining and transferring the unit circle concept compared to others. Transfer was more evident when measured from some contemporary perspectives rather than a traditional perspective.

D. J. Ozimek, P. V. Engelhardt, A. G. Bennett, and N. S. Rebello, Retention and Transfer from Trigonometry to Physics, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 173-176 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084729.

Free-Body Diagrams: Necessary or Sufficient?
David Rosengrant, A. Van Heuvelen, and Eugenia Etkina
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 177-180, doi:10.1063/1.2084730
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The Rutgers PAER group is working to help students develop various scientific abilities. One of the abilities is to create, understand and learn to use for qualitative reasoning and problem solving different representations of physical processes such as pictorial representations, motion diagrams, free-body diagrams, and energy bar charts. Physics education literature indicates that using multiple representations is beneficial for student understanding of physics ideas and for problem solving. We developed a special approach to construct and utilize free-body diagrams for representing physical phenomena and for problem solving. We will examine whether students draw free-body diagrams in solving problems when they know they will not receive credit for it; the consistency of their use in different conceptual areas; and if students who use free-body diagrams while solving problems in different areas of physics are more successful then those who do not.

D. Rosengrant, A. V. Heuvelen, and E. Etkina, Free-Body Diagrams: Necessary or Sufficient?, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 177-180 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084730.

Teachers' Investigation of Students' Self-Perceptions Regarding Physics Learning and Problem-Solving
Edit Yerushalmi, Bat-Sheva Eylon, and Rachel Seggev
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 181-184, doi:10.1063/1.2084731
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Transfer is required in nearly every activity of problem solving. It spans from transferring procedures within a finite set of similar "end of the chapter problems" to applying problem solving strategies in completely unfamiliar problems. Students' self-perceptions, in the context of problem solving and learning, influence the success of instruction promoting transfer. Hence, teachers have to attend to such self-perceptions. We conducted a cooperative inquiry workshop to support teachers who modify their instruction in problem solving to better achieve transfer goals. As part of the workshop, the teachers raised the need to develop a questionnaire examining students' self-perceptions in the context of problem solving and learning in physics. The development of the questionnaire was supported by educational research, in a manner reflecting the teachers' motivation and time limits. In this paper, we describe the process of developing the questionnaire, present findings from a validation analysis of the questionnaire, and discuss its role in the teachers' professional development.

E. Yerushalmi, B. Eylon, and R. Seggev, Teachers' Investigation of Students' Self-Perceptions Regarding Physics Learning and Problem-Solving, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 181-184 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084731.

Conceptual Underpinnings of Students' Ability to Understand Reflections from a Plane Mirror
Karen Cummings and Edward Grillo
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 185-188, doi:10.1063/1.2084732
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In this paper we explore students' pre-instruction knowledge of several conceptual and procedural pieces of knowledge that we believe are prerequisite to one's ability to generate correct light ray diagrams and understand image formation by a plane mirror. The research population is an algebra-based, introductory physics class of about 50 students at a medium-sized, urban, public university. Both individual interviews and written free response questions were used to gather data.

K. Cummings and E. Grillo, Conceptual Underpinnings of Students' Ability to Understand Reflections from a Plane Mirror, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 185-188 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084732.

A Web-based Tool For The Analysis Of Concept Inventory Data
Joseph Beuckman, Scott V. Franklin, and Rebecca S. Lindell
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 189-192, doi:10.1063/1.2084733
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"FOCIA" stands for Free Online Concept Inventory Analyzer. FOCIA, our new web-based tool will allow teachers and researchers in any location to upload their test data and instantly receive a complete analysis report. Analyses included with this tool are basic test statistics, Traditional Item Analysis, Concentration Analysis, Model Analysis Theory results, pre and post test comparison, including the calculations of gain, normalized change and effect size. The tool currently analyzes data from the Lunar Phases Concept Inventory (LPCI), the Force Concept Inventory (FCI), the Astronomy Diagnostic Test (ADT), the Force and Motion Concept Inventory (FMCE) and generically, any multiple choice test. It will be expanded to analyze data from other commonly utilized concept inventories in the PER community and, from user-designed and uploaded tools. In this paper, we will discuss the development of this analysis tool including some technical details of implementation and a description of what is available for use. Instructors and researchers are encouraged to use the latest version of the analysis tool via our website, http://www.sciedures.org.

J. Beuckman, S. V. Franklin, and R. S. Lindell, A Web-based Tool For The Analysis Of Concept Inventory Data, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 189-192 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084733.

Feedback With Web-based Homework And PADs
Scott W. Bonham
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 193-196, doi:10.1063/1.2084734
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The Physics Applets for Drawing (PADs) allow students to interactively make graphs and other physics diagrams on the Web and have them evaluated. PADs are able to evaluate qualitative as well as quantitative drawings and to give customized feedback. These features greatly expand the range of exercises possible in a web-based homework system and make the latter more able to support research-based curricula. While feedback is an important component in learning, it is a challenge to provide enough feedback so that students do not become stuck and frustrated while at the same time not so much that it enables students to avoid thinking, particularly in an on-line environment. In this paper six different approaches to computer-based feedback are discussed along with how PADs could be used for different approaches. Participants are invited to discuss and make suggestions as to how PADs could be best used to support research-based curricula.

S. W. Bonham, Feedback With Web-based Homework And PADs, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 193-196 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084734.

Computer Problem-Solving Coaches
Leonardo Hsu and Kenneth Heller
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 197-200, doi:10.1063/1.2084735
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Computers might be able to play an important role in physics instruction by coaching students to develop good problem-solving skills. Building on previous research on student problem solving and on designing computer programs to teach cognitive skills, we are developing a prototype computer coach to provide students with guided practice in solving problems. In addition to helping students become better problem solvers, such programs can be useful in studying how students learn to solve problems and how and if problem-solving skills can be transferred from a computer to a pencil-and-paper environment.

L. Hsu and K. Heller, Computer Problem-Solving Coaches, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 197-200 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084735.

Using Electronic Interviews to Explore Student Understanding
Doris J. Wagner, Janet J. Rivera, Frances Mateycik, and Sybillyn Jennings
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 201-204, doi:10.1063/1.2084736
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This paper reports on methods used to probe student understandings of optical fibers and total internal reflection (TIR). The study was conducted as part of the expansion and improvement of web-based materials for an innovative introductory physics course. Initially, we conducted face-to-face Piaget-style interviews with a convenience sample. Our next step was to interview students taking the course at Rensselaer. Physical limitations necessitated that this be done from a distance, so we conducted "e-interviews" using a Chat Room. In this paper we focus on the e-interview experience, discussing similarities to and differences from the traditional face-to-face approach. In the process, we address how each method informs us about students' activation of prior experiences in making sense of unfamiliar phenomena (e.g., "transfer of learning").

D. J. Wagner, J. J. Rivera, F. Mateycik, and S. Jennings, Using Electronic Interviews to Explore Student Understanding, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 201-204 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084736.

Time to completion reveals problem-solving transfer
Rasil Warnakulasooriya and David E. Pritchard
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 205-208, doi:10.1063/1.2084737
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Two equally skilled groups of students taking introductory mechanics solve related physics problem pairs in reverse order with respect to each other, using the web-based Socratic tutor, MasteringPhysics. In tutorial problems containing help in the form of requestable hints, descriptive text, and feedback, twice as many students were able to complete problems correctly in real-time compared to problems that did not provide any help (end-of-chapter problems). The prepared group in a given related pair was able to solve it in ~15% less time on average compared to the unprepared group. Furthermore, the prepared group requests ~7% fewer hints on average than the unprepared group. We conclude that shorter completion times and problem-solving transfer are facilitated through tutorial problems.

R. Warnakulasooriya and D. E. Pritchard, Time to completion reveals problem-solving transfer, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 205-208 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084737.

How We Think about and Prepare to Teach Physics
Dewey Dykstra
AIP Conf. Proc. 790, pp. 209-212, doi:10.1063/1.2084738
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We have been preparing physics teachers in the same manner for many decades. Yet, physics education research reveals for some observers disturbing evidence little or no change in understanding the phenomena occurs as a direct result of physics instruction from elementary school through the college years. The apparent compatibility between these learning results and prevailing paradigm enables the construction of a description of the paradigm. If it can be demonstrated that there is even just one alternative paradigm from which much more effective alternative pedagogical practice is derived, are we not obligated to change how we prepare to teach physics?

D. Dykstra, How We Think about and Prepare to Teach Physics, 2004 PERC Proceedings [Sacramento, CA, August 4-5, 2004], edited by J. Marx, P. L. Heron, and S. Franklin [AIP Conf. Proc. 790, 209-212 (2005)], doi:10.1063/1.2084738.