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2007 PERC Proceedings

Conference Information

Dates: August 1-2, 2007
Location: Greensboro, NC
Theme: Cognitive Science and Physics Education Research

Proceedings Information

Editors: Leon Hsu, Charles Henderson, and Laura McCullough
Published: November 12, 2007
AIP URL: AIP Conference Proceedings 951
Info: Single book; 238 pages; 8.5 X 11 inches, double column
ISBN: 978-0-7354-0465-6
ISSN (Print): 0094-243X
ISSN (Online): 1551-7616

The 2007 Physics Education Research Conference brought together researchers studying a wide variety of topics in physics education including transfer of knowledge, learning in physics courses at all levels, teacher education, and cross-disciplinary learning. The theme of this conference was Cognitive Science and Physics Education Research.

Readership: Physics education researchers (faculty, post-doctoral students, and graduate students); researchers in fields close to Physics Education, such as cognitive science, chemistry education, biology education; physics faculty at undergraduate and graduate levels; high school physics teachers.

Table of Contents

Front Matter
Invited Papers (8)
Peer-reviewed Papers (45)
Back Matter

INVITED MANUSCRIPTS (8)

First Author Index

Hsu · Nokes · Ross · Sears · Sherin · Yerushalmi · Singh

Invited Papers

Publishing And Refereeing Papers In Physics Education Research
Leonardo Hsu, Robert J. Beichner, Karen Cummings, Janet L. Kolodner, and Laura McCullough
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 3-6, doi:10.1063/1.2820941
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At the 2007 Physics Education Research Conference, a workshop on publishing and refereeing was held with a panel of editors from four different publishing venues: the physics education research section of the American Journal of Physics, the Journal of the Learning Sciences, Physical Review Special Topics–Physics Education Research, and the Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings. These editors answered questions from participants regarding publishing in their respective venues, as well as writing referee reports that would be useful to both journal editors and authors. This paper summarizes the discussion.

L. Hsu, R. J. Beichner, K. Cummings, J. L. Kolodner, and L. McCullough, Publishing And Refereeing Papers In Physics Education Research, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 3-6 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820941.

Facilitating Conceptual Learning Through Analogy And Explanation
Timothy Nokes and Brian H. Ross
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 7-10, doi:10.1063/1.2820952
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Research in cognitive science has shown that students typically have a difficult time acquiring deep conceptual understanding in domains like mathematics and physics and often rely on textbook examples to solve new problems. The use of prior examples facilitates learning, but the advantage is often limited to very similar problems. One reason students rely so heavily on using prior examples is that they lack a deep understanding for how the principles are instantiated in the examples. We review and present research aimed at helping students learn the relations between principles and examples through generating explanations and making analogies.

T. Nokes and B. H. Ross, Facilitating Conceptual Learning Through Analogy And Explanation, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 7-10 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820952.

Cognitive Science: Problem Solving And Learning For Physics Education
Brian H. Ross
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 11-14, doi:10.1063/1.2820910
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Cognitive Science has focused on general principles of problem solving and learning that might be relevant for physics education research. This paper examines three selected issues that have relevance for the difficulty of transfer in problem solving domains: specialized systems of memory and reasoning, the importance of content in thinking, and a characterization of memory retrieval in problem solving. In addition, references to these issues are provided to allow the interested researcher entries to the literatures.

B. H. Ross, Cognitive Science: Problem Solving And Learning For Physics Education, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 11-14 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820910.

Instrumentation in Learning Research
David A. Sears and Daniel L. Schwartz
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 15-18, doi:10.1063/1.2820921
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In physics experiments, a great deal of effort is spent calibrating instruments. These include instruments that precipitate some event, and instruments that measure the effects of those events. Design research in the learning sciences often focuses on precipitating learning events, but it does not pay equal attention to designing effective measures. We present the results of a study that compared two types of instruction on students working alone or in pairs. We show how one measure, common to most studies of learning, failed to detect any effects. Then we show how a second measure, called a Preparation for Future Learning measure, detected important differences. Specifically, pairs working to invent solutions to problems in statistics were more prepared to learn about new, related types of statistics than pairs who were shown how to solve the original problems, as well as individuals who invented or were shown how to solve the original problems.

D. A. Sears and D. L. Schwartz, Instrumentation in Learning Research, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 15-18 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820921.

Cognitive Science: The Science Of The (Nearly) Obvious
Bruce L. Sherin
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 19-22, doi:10.1063/1.2820932
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This article discusses the need for a “grand theory” of physics cognition and learning. The idea of the grand theory is that it would be a complete description of the knowledge students possess and how that changes over time, from before instruction, all the way through expertise. The first part of the paper discusses our current state of knowledge and possible strategies for making progress on the grand theory. The second part of the paper illustrates, with an example, how the program might work.

B. L. Sherin, Cognitive Science: The Science Of The (Nearly) Obvious, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 19-22 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820932.

Conceptual Dynamics in Clinical Interviews
Bruce L. Sherin, Victor R. Lee, and Moshe Krakowski
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 23-26, doi:10.1063/1.2820937
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One of the main tools that we have for the study of student science conceptions is the clinical interview. Research on student understanding of natural phenomena has tended to understand interviews as tools for reading out a student's knowledge. In this paper, we argue for a shift in how we think about and analyze interview data. In particular, we argue that we must be aware that the interview itself is a dynamic process during which a sort of conceptual change occurs. We refer to these short time-scale changes that occur over a few minutes in an interview as conceptual dynamics. Our goal is to devise new frameworks and techniques for capturing the conceptual dynamics. To this end, we have devised a simple and neutral cognitive framework. In this paper, we describe this framework, and we show how it can be applied to understand interview data. We hope to show that the conceptual dynamics of interviews are complex, but that it nonetheless feasible to make them a focus of study.

B. L. Sherin, V. R. Lee, and M. Krakowski, Conceptual Dynamics in Clinical Interviews, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 23-26 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820937.

Physics Learning in the Context of Scaffolded Diagnostic Tasks (I): The Experimental Setup
Edit Yerushalmi, Chandralekha Singh, and Bat-Sheva Eylon
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 27-30, doi:10.1063/1.2820938
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For problem solving to serve as an effective learning opportunity, it should involve deliberate reflection, e.g., planning and evaluating the solver's progress toward a solution, as well as self-diagnosing former steps while elaborating on conceptual understanding. While expert problem solvers employ deliberate reflection, the novices (many introductory physics students) fail to take full advantage of problem solving as a learning opportunity. In this paper we will focus on self-diagnosis as an instructional strategy to engage students in reflective problem solving. In self-diagnosis tasks students are explicitly required to carry out self diagnosis activities after being given some feedback on the solution. In this and a companion paper, we will present research exploring the following questions: How well do students self-diagnose, if at all, their solutions? What are the learning outcomes of these activities? Can one improve the act of self-diagnosis and the resulting learning outcomes by scaffolding the activity?

E. Yerushalmi, C. Singh, and B. Eylon, Physics Learning in the Context of Scaffolded Diagnostic Tasks (I): The Experimental Setup, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 27-30 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820938.

Physics Learning in the Context of Scaffolded Diagnostic Tasks (II): Preliminary Results
Chandralekha Singh, Edit Yerushalmi, and Bat-Sheva Eylon
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 31-34, doi:10.1063/1.2820939
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In a companion paper we presented self-diagnosis tasks in which students are explicitly required to self diagnose their problem solutions after being given some feedback. In this paper we suggest a rubric to evaluate diagnosis and exemplify its use in two case studies. We present preliminary results regarding how students' performance on the self-diagnosis tasks relates to their performance in solving problems and to their progress during the course. In preliminary analysis, we find that the correlation between students' self-diagnosis grades and their performance in the mid-semester quiz was very low (0.16), the correlation between the grades in the mid-semester quiz and the final exam grades was also low (0.21) while the correlation between the self-diagnosis grades in the mid-semester quiz and the final exam grades was reasonably high (0.68). We suggest that these results can be explained by the hypothesis that the self-diagnosis grades measure the slope of students' learning curve.

C. Singh, E. Yerushalmi, and B. Eylon, Physics Learning in the Context of Scaffolded Diagnostic Tasks (II): Preliminary Results, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 31-34 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820939.

PEER REVIEWED MANUSCRIPTS (45)

First Author Index

Aryal · Aubrecht II · Bernhard · Bilak · Black · Bonham · Bowman · Brookes · Conlin · Corpuz · Dancy · Demaree · Diff · Etkina · Karelina · Ruibal-Villasenor · Feil · Gupta · Harlow · Harper · Haynicz · Henderson · Kapon · Keller · Kohl · Kost · Lising · Mateycik · McBride · Mountcastle · Murthy · Otero · Podolefsky · Pollock · Savinainen · Scaife · Schuster · Scott · Shekoyan · Singh · Torigoe · Turpen · Van Deventer · Zou

Peer-reviewed Papers

Investigating Peer Scaffolding in Learning and Transfer of Learning Using Teaching Interviews
Bijaya Aryal and Dean A. Zollman
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 37-40, doi:10.1063/1.2820940
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We conducted teaching interviews with nine groups of students enrolled in an introductory level algebra-based physics course and consisted of two sessions–a learning session and a transfer session. The students were engaged in hands-on activities to learn various physics ideas in the learning session. We expected the students apply the physics learning to understand positron emission tomography (PET) in a transfer session. After providing worksheets, we asked the students to write their responses before and after the group discussion. To present the dynamics of group learning and the influence of peer scaffolding we compared the results of this study with our prior study [3] where students were individually engaged with a similar set of activities. Results suggest that peers were effective in activating and challenging each other's conceptual resources as well as facilitating transfer of learning. The results of this study also showed that students' performance was better when they were provided the direct hint instead of graduated hints. However, we found that the students gave the right answer with the wrong reasoning when a direct hint was provided, and they gave wrong answer with relatively better reasoning when the hints were graduated.

B. Aryal and D. A. Zollman, Investigating Peer Scaffolding in Learning and Transfer of Learning Using Teaching Interviews, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 37-40 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820940.

Student Perceptions of Three Different Physics by Inquiry Classes using the Laboratory Program Variables Inventory
Gordon J. Aubrecht, II
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 41-44, doi:10.1063/1.2820942
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Students from different versions of Physics by Inquiry courses (properties of matter, electric circuits, and astronomy by sight and optics) determined most and least characteristic aspects of their classes using the Laboratory Program Variables Inventory (LPVI), a Q-sort instrument. Students generally described these separate courses similarly, but with certain differences. We also compare student rankings with instructor rankings.

G. J. A. II, Student Perceptions of Three Different Physics by Inquiry Classes using the Laboratory Program Variables Inventory, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 41-44 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820942.

Humans, Intentionality, Experience and Tools for Learning: Some Contributions from Post-cognitive Theories to the Use of Technology in Physics Education
Jonte Bernhard
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 45-48, doi:10.1063/1.2820943
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Human cognition cannot be properly understood if we do not take the use of tools into account. The English word cognition stems from the Latin “cognoscere,” meaning “to become acquainted with” or “to come to know.” Following the original Latin meaning we should not only study “what happens in the head” if we want to study cognition. Experientially based perspectives, such as pragmatism, phenomenology, phenomenography, and activity theory, stress that we should study person-world relationships. Technologies actively shape the character of human-world relationships. An emergent understanding in modern cognitive research is the co-evolution of the human brain and human use of tools and the active character of perception. Thus, I argue that we must analyze the role of technologies in physics education in order to realize their full potential as tools for learning, and I will provide selected examples from physics learning environments to support this assertion.

J. Bernhard, Humans, Intentionality, Experience and Tools for Learning: Some Contributions from Post-cognitive Theories to the Use of Technology in Physics Education, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 45-48 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820943.

Improving Students' Conceptual Understanding of Conductors and Insulators
Joshua Bilak and Chandralekha Singh
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 49-52, doi:10.1063/1.2820944
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We examine the difficulties that introductory physics students, undergraduate physics majors, and physics graduate students have with concepts related to conductors and insulators covered in introductory physics by giving written tests and interviewing a subset of students. We find that even graduate students have serious difficulties with these concepts. We develop tutorials related to these topics and evaluate their effectiveness by comparing the performance on written pre-/post-tests and interviews of students who received traditional instruction vs. those who learned using tutorials.

J. Bilak and C. Singh, Improving Students' Conceptual Understanding of Conductors and Insulators, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 49-52 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820944.

Epistemic Games in Integration: Modeling Resource Choice
Katrina E. Black and Michael C. Wittmann
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 53-56, doi:10.1063/1.2820945
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As part of an ongoing project to understand how mathematics is used in advanced physics to guide one's conceptual understanding of physics, we focus on students' interpretation and use of boundary and initial conditions when solving integrals. We discuss an interaction between two students working on a group quiz problem. After describing the interaction, we briefly discuss the procedural resources that we use to model the students' solutions. We then use the procedural resources introduced earlier to draw resources graphs describing the two epistemic game facets used by the students in our transcript.

K. E. Black and M. C. Wittmann, Epistemic Games in Integration: Modeling Resource Choice, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 53-56 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820945.

Measuring Student Effort and Engagement in an Introductory Physics Course
Scott W. Bonham
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 57-60, doi:10.1063/1.2820946
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Multiple scales reflecting student effort were developed using factor and scale analysis on data from an introductory physics course. This data included interactions with an on-line homework system. One of the scales displays many characteristics of a metric of the individual level of engagement in the course. This scale is shown to be a good predictor of performance on class exams and the Force Concept Inventory (FCI). Furthermore, normalized learning gains on the FCI are well predicted by this scale while pre-instructional FCI scores provide no additional predictive ability, agreeing with observations by Richard Hake. This scale also correlates strongly with epistemological beliefs that learning is related to effort and is the responsibility of the student. The factors that enter into this scale, writing and mastering expert-like problem-solving, are consistent with this being a measure of individual levels of class engagement.

S. W. Bonham, Measuring Student Effort and Engagement in an Introductory Physics Course, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 57-60 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820946.

Voltage is the Most Difficult Subject for Students in Physics by Inquiry's Electric Circuits Module
Carol Bowman and Gordon J. Aubrecht, II
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 61-64, doi:10.1063/1.2820947
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We report on the investigation of multiple sets of data from an electric circuits Physics by Inquiry course on students' ranking of topic difficulty. Students ranked the difficulty of the preceding class almost every class day and they ranked the difficulty of various course sections on a diagnostic (one diagnostic per section). In the OSU Physics by Inquiry (PbI) class, students—a majority of education undergraduates—work in groups, and are checkpointed as they do experiments in a section. In addition, there is a question of the day at the beginning of almost every class. Here, students are also asked to rank the difficulty, but of the preceding day's classwork. These “difficulty rankings” and student grades (used as a measure of performance) constitute our dataset. We compiled data from four sections of the Spring 2006 and one section of the Spring 2007 Physics by Inquiry electric circuits class. The sections on potential difference appear to be the most difficult.

C. Bowman and G. J. A. II, Voltage is the Most Difficult Subject for Students in Physics by Inquiry's Electric Circuits Module, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 61-64 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820947.

Reading Time as Evidence for Mental Models in Understanding Physics
David T. Brookes, Jose P. Mestre, and Elizabeth Stine-Morrow
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 65-68, doi:10.1063/1.2820948
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We present results of a reading study that show the usefulness of probing physics students' cognitive processing by measuring reading time. According to contemporary discourse theory, when people read a text, a network of associated inferences is activated to create a mental model. If the reader encounters an idea in the text that conflicts with existing knowledge, the construction of a coherent mental model is disrupted and reading times are prolonged, as measured using a simple self-paced reading paradigm. We used this effect to study how “non-Newtonian” and “Newtonian” students create mental models of conceptual systems in physics as they read texts related to the ideas of Newton's third law, energy, and momentum. We found significant effects of prior knowledge state on patterns of reading time, suggesting that students attempt to actively integrate physics texts with their existing knowledge.

D. T. Brookes, J. P. Mestre, and E. Stine-Morrow, Reading Time as Evidence for Mental Models in Understanding Physics, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 65-68 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820948.

The Dynamics of Students' Behaviors and Reasoning during Collaborative Physics Tutorial Sessions
Luke Conlin, Ayush Gupta, Rachel E. Scherr, and David Hammer
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 69-72, doi:10.1063/1.2820949
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We investigate the dynamics of student behaviors (posture, gesture, vocal register, visual focus) and the substance of their reasoning during collaborative work on inquiry-based physics tutorials. Scherr has characterized student activity during tutorials as observable clusters of behaviors separated by sharp transitions, and has argued that these behavioral modes reflect students' epistemological framing of what they are doing, i.e., their sense of what is taking place with respect to knowledge. We analyze students' verbal reasoning during several tutorial sessions using the framework of Russ, and find a strong correlation between certain behavioral modes and the scientific quality of students' explanations. We suggest that this is due to a dynamic coupling of how students behave, how they frame an activity, and how they reason during that activity. This analysis supports the earlier claims of a dynamic between behavior and epistemology. We discuss implications for research and instruction.

L. Conlin, A. Gupta, R. E. Scherr, and D. Hammer, The Dynamics of Students' Behaviors and Reasoning during Collaborative Physics Tutorial Sessions, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 69-72 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820949.

Hands-On and Minds-On Modeling Activities to Improve Students' Conceptions of Microscopic Friction
Edgar D. Corpuz and N. Sanjay Rebello
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 73-76, doi:10.1063/1.2820950
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In this paper we discuss the development and validation of hands-on and minds-on modeling activities geared towards improving students' understanding of microscopic friction. We will also present our investigation on the relative effectiveness of the use of the developed instructional material with two lecture formats—traditional and videotaped lectures. Results imply that through a series of carefully designed hands-on and minds-on modeling activities, it is possible to facilitate the refinement of students' ideas of microscopic friction.

E. D. Corpuz and N. S. Rebello, Hands-On and Minds-On Modeling Activities to Improve Students' Conceptions of Microscopic Friction, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 73-76 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820950.

Modeling Success: Building Community for Reform
Melissa H. Dancy, Eric Brewe, and Charles R. Henderson
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 77-80, doi:10.1063/1.2820951
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Dissemination of the Modeling Method of physics instruction to high school teachers has been considerably more successful than typical dissemination efforts in science education. In order to learn from this success, we interviewed five leaders of the Modeling Project. Based on these interviews, along with other information about the project, our preliminary findings suggest that the Modeling Project differed from standard dissemination efforts in several key ways that are likely related to its success. Specifically, the Modeling Project placed primary importance on the building of community. This emphasis on building community manifested itself in nonstandard community-based curriculum development and dissemination activities.

M. H. Dancy, E. Brewe, and C. R. Henderson, Modeling Success: Building Community for Reform, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 77-80 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820951.

Measuring the Effect of Written Feedback on Writing
Dedra Demaree
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 81-84, doi:10.1063/1.2820953
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Members of the Physics and English departments at The Ohio State University (OSU) and Rochester Institute of Technology are involved in an ongoing study addressing issues related to writing activities in the physics classroom. Students in the physics 103 and 104 course sequence at OSU “The World of Energy” view weekly videos then turn in summaries as part of their homework grade. These summaries are given one point if turned in; they are not graded for the quality of their content. In winter quarter, 2006, some students were given substantial feedback on these summaries with comments aimed to improve their writing. Feedback-induced improvement in their video summaries is demonstrated in this paper.

D. Demaree, Measuring the Effect of Written Feedback on Writing, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 81-84 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820953.

From FCI To CSEM To Lawson Test: A Report On Data Collected At A Community College
Karim Diff and Nacira Tache
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 85-87, doi:10.1063/1.2820954
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As part of an ongoing assessment of our introductory physics courses, we have administered the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) and the Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism (CSEM) in the three different levels of physics courses offered at Santa Fe Community College: Applied physics, algebra-based physics and calculus-based physics. We present data collected this past year, including an analysis of the correlations between normalized FCI and CSEM gains for the past four years. In addition, we report results obtained this past year in a study of correlations between the Lawson classroom test of scientific reasoning and gains on the FCI and CSEM.

K. Diff and N. Tache, From FCI To CSEM To Lawson Test: A Report On Data Collected At A Community College, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 85-87 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820954.

Spending Time on Design: Does It Hurt Physics Learning?
Eugenia Etkina, Alan Van Heuvelen, Anna Karelina, Maria Ruibal-Villasenor, and David Rosengrant
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 88-91, doi:10.1063/1.2820955
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This paper is the first in a series of three describing a controlled study “Transfer of scientific abilities”. The study was conducted in a large enrollment student introductory physics course taught via Investigative Science Learning Environment. Its goal was to find whether designing their own experiments in labs affects students' approaches to experimental problem solving in new areas of physics and in biology, and their learning of physics concepts. The theoretical framework for the design of the study was based on transfer theories such as “preparation for future learning”, “actor-oriented transfer”, “transfer of situated learning” and “coordination classes”. In this paper we describe the design of the study and present data concerning the performance of experimental and control groups on multiple-choice and open-ended exam questions and on the lab exams that assess student understanding of the physics and the reasoning processes used in the lab experiments. We found that the experimental group outperformed the control on lab-based and traditional exams and the difference increased as the year progressed.

E. Etkina, A. V. Heuvelen, A. Karelina, M. Ruibal-Villasenor, and D. Rosengrant, Spending Time on Design: Does It Hurt Physics Learning?, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 88-91 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820955.

Design And Non-design Labs: Does Transfer Occur?
Anna Karelina, Eugenia Etkina, Maria Ruibal-Villasenor, David Rosengrant, Alan Van Heuvelen, and Cindy E. Hmelo-Silver
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 92-95, doi:10.1063/1.2820956
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This paper is the second in the series of three describing a controlled study “Transfer of scientific abilities”. The study was conducted in a large-enrollment introductory physics course taught via Investigative Science Learning Environment. Its goal was to find whether designing their own experiments in labs affects students' approaches to experimental problem solving in new areas of physics and in biology, and their learning of physics concepts. This paper reports on the part of the study that assesses student work while solving an experimental problem in a physics content area not studied in class. For a quantitative evaluation of students' abilities, we used scientific abilities rubrics. We studied the students' lab reports and answers to non-traditional exam problems related to the lab. We evaluated their performance and compared it with the performance of a control group that had the same course but enrolled in non-design labs instead of design labs.

A. Karelina, E. Etkina, M. Ruibal-Villasenor, D. Rosengrant, A. V. Heuvelen, and C. E. Hmelo-Silver, Design And Non-design Labs: Does Transfer Occur?, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 92-95 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820956.

From Physics to Biology: Helping Students Attain All-Terrain Knowledge
Maria Ruibal-Villasenor, Eugenia Etkina, Anna Karelina, David Rosengrant, Rebecca Jordan, and Alan Van Heuvelen
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 96-99, doi:10.1063/1.2820957
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This paper is the third in a series of three describing a controlled study “Transfer of scientific abilities”. The study was conducted in a large-enrollment introductory physics course taught via Investigative Science Learning Environment. Its goal was to find whether designing their own experiments in labs affects students' approaches to experimental problem solving in new areas of physics and in biology and their learning of physics concepts. The part of the project presented in this paper involves students in the experimental and control groups solving a biology-related problem that required designing an experiment and evaluating the findings. We found that students who were in the sections where they had to design their own experiments during the semester were able to transfer the abilities they acquired in physics laboratories to solve a novel biology problem.

M. Ruibal-Villasenor, E. Etkina, A. Karelina, D. Rosengrant, R. Jordan, and A. V. Heuvelen, From Physics to Biology: Helping Students Attain All-Terrain Knowledge, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 96-99 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820957.

Expert-Novice Differences on a Recognition Memory Test of Physics Diagrams
Adam Feil and Jose P. Mestre
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 100-103, doi:10.1063/1.2820905
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This study used a recognition memory test and specially constructed pairs of physics diagrams to measure differences between physics experts and novices (who have not taken college physics) in the way simple physics diagrams are encoded in memory. Results show that although physics experts encode aspects and features of physics diagrams that novices do not, in some specific cases novices encode features that experts do not. Physics experts were more likely to encode features of diagrams that were more relevant to the physics depicted. This suggests that the knowledge and experience of physics experts influences the way in which they conceptualize physics diagrams, even in the absence of a question prompt.

A. Feil and J. P. Mestre, Expert-Novice Differences on a Recognition Memory Test of Physics Diagrams, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 100-103 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820905.

Coordination of Mathematics and Physical Resources by Physics Graduate Students
Ayush Gupta, Edward F. Redish, and David Hammer
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 104-107, doi:10.1063/1.2820906
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We investigate the dynamics of how graduate students coordinate their mathematics and physics knowledge within the context of solving a homework problem for a plasma physics survey course. Students were asked to obtain the complex dielectric function for a plasma with a specified distribution function and find the roots of that expression. While all the 16 participating students obtained the dielectric function correctly in one of two equivalent expressions, roughly half of them (7 of 16) failed to compute the roots correctly. All seven took the same initial step that led them to the incorrect answer. We note a perfect correlation between the specific expression of dielectric function obtained and the student's success in solving for the roots. We analyze student responses in terms of a resources framework and suggest routes for future research.

A. Gupta, E. F. Redish, and D. Hammer, Coordination of Mathematics and Physical Resources by Physics Graduate Students, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 104-107 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820906.

How Elementary Teachers Use What We Teach: The Impact Of PER At The K-5 Level
Danielle Harlow
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 108-111, doi:10.1063/1.2820907
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This paper presents an investigation of how a professional development course based on the Physics and Everyday Thinking (PET) curriculum affected the teaching practices of five case study elementary teachers. The findings of this study show that each teacher transferred different content and pedagogical aspects of the course into their science teaching. The range of transfer is explained by considering how each teacher interacted with the learning context (the PET curriculum) and their initial ideas about teaching science.

D. Harlow, How Elementary Teachers Use What We Teach: The Impact Of PER At The K-5 Level, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 108-111 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820907.

Student Categorization of Problems - An Extension
Kathleen A. Harper, Zachary D. Hite, Richard Freuler, and John Demel
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 112-115, doi:10.1063/1.2820908
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As part of gathering baseline data for a study on problem categorization, first-year engineering honors students who had recently completed a two-quarter sequence in physics were interviewed. The primary task in this interview was much like the problem categorization study described by Chi et al. There were, however, at least two distinct modifications: 1) in addition to the problem statements, solutions were included on the cards to be sorted 2) the problems were written such that they could also be grouped according to the nature of information presented in the problem statements and/or the number of possible solutions. The students in this baseline study, although similar in background to the novices described by Chi et al., in many ways performed more like experts. Several possibilities for this behavior are discussed.

K. A. Harper, Z. D. Hite, R. Freuler, and J. Demel, Student Categorization of Problems - An Extension, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 112-115 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820908.

Students' Ideas of a Blender and Perceptions of Scaffolding Activities
Jacquelyn Haynicz and N. Sanjay Rebello
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 116-119, doi:10.1063/1.2820909
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Research has shown that students can be motivated to learn science by demonstrating its connection to everyday life. We investigated students' understanding of an everyday blender. We have previously reported on students' progression through a series of hands-on activities designed to facilitate learning about how the blender works [1]. Here, we report on the ideas about the blender expressed by students after completing the sequence of activities and the students' perceptions of the activities themselves.

J. Haynicz and N. S. Rebello, Students' Ideas of a Blender and Perceptions of Scaffolding Activities, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 116-119 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820909.

Promoting Instructional Change in New Faculty: An Evaluation of the Physics and Astronomy New Faculty Workshop
Charles R. Henderson
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 120-123, doi:10.1063/1.2820911
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An important finding of Physics Education Research (PER) is that traditional, transmission-based instructional approaches are generally not effective in promoting meaningful student learning. Instead, PER advocates that physics be taught using more interactive instructional methods. Although the research base and corresponding pedagogies and strategies are well-documented and widely available to physics faculty, widespread change in physics teaching at the college level has yet to occur. Since 1996, the Workshop for New Physics and Astronomy Faculty has been working to address this problem. This workshop, jointly administered by the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Astronomical Society, and the American Physical Society with funding from the National Science Foundation, has attracted approximately 25% of all new physics and astronomy faculty each year to an intensive 4-day workshop designed to introduce new faculty to PER-based instructional ideas and materials. This paper describes the impact of the New Faculty Workshop as measured by web-based surveys of 527 workshop participants and 206 physics and astronomy department chairs. Results indicate that the NFW is quite successful in meeting its goals and that it may be significantly contributing to the spread and acceptance of PER and PER-based instructional ideas and materials.

C. R. Henderson, Promoting Instructional Change in New Faculty: An Evaluation of the Physics and Astronomy New Faculty Workshop, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 120-123 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820911.

Explanatory Framework for Popular Physics Lectures
Shulamit Kapon, Uri Ganiel, and Bat-Sheva Eylon
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 124-127, doi:10.1063/1.2820912
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Popular physics lectures provide a `translation' that bridges the gap between the specialized knowledge that formal scientific content is based on, and the audience's informal prior knowledge. This paper presents an overview of a grounded theory explanatory framework for Translated Scientific Explanations (TSE) in such lectures, focusing on one of its aspects, the conceptual blending cluster. The framework is derived from a comparative study of three exemplary popular physics lectures from two perspectives: the explanations in the lecture (as artifacts), and the design of the explanation from the lecturer's point of view. The framework consists of four clusters of categories: 1. Conceptual blending (e.g. metaphor). 2. Story (e.g. narrative). 3. Content (e.g. selection of level). 4. Knowledge organization (e.g. structure). The framework shows how the lecturers customized the content of the presentation to the audience's knowledge. Lecture profiles based upon this framework can serve as guides for utilizing popular physics lectures when teaching contemporary physics to learners lacking the necessary science background. These features are demonstrated through the conceptual blending cluster.

S. Kapon, U. Ganiel, and B. Eylon, Explanatory Framework for Popular Physics Lectures, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 124-127 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820912.

Research-based Practices For Effective Clicker Use
C. J. Keller, Noah D. Finkelstein, Katherine K. Perkins, Steven J. Pollock, Chandra Turpen, and Michael Dubson
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 128-131, doi:10.1063/1.2820913
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Adoption of clickers by faculty has spread campus-wide at the University of Colorado at Boulder from one introductory physics course in 2001 to 19 departments, 80 courses, and over 10,000 students. We study common pedagogical practices among faculty and attitudes and beliefs among student clicker-users across campus. We report data from online surveys given to both faculty and students in the Spring 2007 semester. Additionally, we report on correlations between student perceptions of clicker use and the ways in which this educational tool is used by faculty. These data suggest practices for effective clicker use that can serve as a guide for faculty who integrate this educational tool into their courses.

C. J. Keller, N. D. Finkelstein, K. K. Perkins, S. J. Pollock, C. Turpen, and M. Dubson, Research-based Practices For Effective Clicker Use, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 128-131 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820913.

Expert and Novice Use of Multiple Representations During Physics Problem Solving
Patrick B. Kohl and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 132-135, doi:10.1063/1.2820914
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It is generally believed that students should use multiple representations in solving certain physics problems. In this study, we interview expert and novice physicists as they solve two types of multiple representations problems: those in which multiple representations are provided for them, and those in which the students must construct their own representations. We analyze in detail the types of representations subjects use and the order and manner in which they are used. Somewhat surprisingly, both experts and novices make significant use of multiple representations. Some differences emerge: Expert use of multiple representations is more dense in time, and novices tend to move between the available representations more often. In addition, we find that an examination of multiple representation use alone is inadequate to fully characterize a problem-solving episode; one must also consider the purpose behind the use of the available representations.

P. B. Kohl and N. D. Finkelstein, Expert and Novice Use of Multiple Representations During Physics Problem Solving, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 132-135 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820914.

Investigating the Source of the Gender Gap in Introductory Physics
Lauren E. Kost, Steven J. Pollock, and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 136-139, doi:10.1063/1.2820915
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Our previous research showed that despite the use of interactive engagement (IE) techniques at our institution, the difference in performance between men and women on a conceptual learning survey persisted from pre to posttest. This paper reports on a three-part follow-up study that investigates what factors contribute to the gender gap. First, we analyze student grades in different components of the course and find that men and women's course grades are not significantly different (p>0.1), but men outscore women on exams and women outscore men on homework and participation. Second, we compare average posttest scores of men and women who score similarly on the pretest and find that there are no significant differences between men and women's average posttest scores. Finally, we analyze other factors in addition to the pretest score that could influence the posttest score and find that gender does not account for a meaningful portion of the variation in posttest scores when a measure of mathematics performance is included. These findings indicate that the gender gap exists in interactive physics classes, but may be due in large part to differences in preparation, background, and math skills as assessed by traditional survey instruments.

L. E. Kost, S. J. Pollock, and N. D. Finkelstein, Investigating the Source of the Gender Gap in Introductory Physics, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 136-139 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820915.

Exploring the Intersections of Personal Epistemology, Public Epistemology, and Affect
Laura Lising
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 140-143, doi:10.1063/1.2820916
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This paper discusses an approach to exploring the divide between students' stances toward their own learning and their perceptions of what is productive for the scientific community (sometimes called “personal epistemology” and “public epistemology”). The possible relationship between this divide and students' science- and course-related affect (e.g. preferences, motivation, emotions) will also be discussed. Previous research and theory indicate certain methodological considerations in study design and analysis, particularly attention to survey context, both with respect to attempting to tease apart epistemology from course expectations, and in considering differences between stated and enacted epistemologies and, similarly, beliefs vs. resources. A survey instrument designed to explore personal/public epistemology splits and affective variables will be described and preliminary results will be presented.

L. Lising, Exploring the Intersections of Personal Epistemology, Public Epistemology, and Affect, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 140-143 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820916.

Students' Perceptions of Case-Reuse Based Problem Solving in Algebra-Based Physics
Frances Mateycik, Zdeslav Hrepic, David Jonassen, and N. Sanjay Rebello
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 144-147, doi:10.1063/1.2820917
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Problem solving is an important goal in almost all physics classes. In this study we explore students' perceptions and understanding of the purpose of two different problem solving approaches. In Phase I of the study, introductory algebra-based physics students were given an online extra credit problem-solving assignment. They were randomly assigned one of three problem-solving strategies: questioning, structure mapping and traditional problem solving. In Phase II of the study, eight student volunteers were individually assigned to work problems using one of the strategies in two sessions of semi-structured interviews. The first session investigated students' general problem solving approaches a few weeks after they had completed the online extra credit assignment. The second session investigated students' perceptions of problem solving strategies and how they relate to the extra credit assignments. In this article, we describe students' perceptions of the purpose of the activities and their underlying problem solving techniques.

F. Mateycik, Z. Hrepic, D. Jonassen, and N. S. Rebello, Students' Perceptions of Case-Reuse Based Problem Solving in Algebra-Based Physics, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 144-147 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820917.

Investigating Students' Ideas about Wavefront Aberrometry
Dyan L. McBride and Dean A. Zollman
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 148-151, doi:10.1063/1.2820918
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We describe a qualitative study of student understanding of the functions of the human eye and the resources used in understanding wavefront aberrometry, a relatively new method of diagnosing vision defects. Twelve students enrolled in an introductory physics class participated in a semi-structured clinical interview in which the functions of the eye, traditional diagnosis methods such as the eye chart, and wavefront aberrometry were discussed. Results from this study indicate that students do not initially understand the subjective nature of traditional diagnosis techniques and that the use of physical models of the eye and aberrometer can facilitate the transfer of prior knowledge to these concepts.

D. L. McBride and D. A. Zollman, Investigating Students' Ideas about Wavefront Aberrometry, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 148-151 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820918.

Student Estimates of Probability and Uncertainty in Advanced Laboratory and Statistical Physics Courses
Donald B. Mountcastle, Brandon Bucy, and John R. Thompson
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 152-155, doi:10.1063/1.2820919
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Equilibrium properties of macroscopic systems are highly predictable as n, the number of particles approaches and exceeds Avogadro's number; theories of statistical physics depend on these results. Typical pedagogical devices used in statistical physics textbooks to introduce entropy (S) and multiplicity () (where S = k ln()) include flipping coins and/or other equivalent binary events, repeated n times. Prior to instruction, our statistical mechanics students usually gave reasonable answers about the probabilities, but not the relative uncertainties, of the predicted outcomes of such events. However, they reliably predicted that the uncertainty in a measured continuous quantity (e.g., the amount of rainfall) does decrease as the number of measurements increases. Typical textbook presentations assume that students understand that the relative uncertainty of binary outcomes will similarly decrease as the number of events increases. This is at odds with our findings, even though most of our students had previously completed mathematics courses in statistics, as well as an advanced electronics laboratory course that included statistical analysis of distributions of dart scores as n increased.

D. B. Mountcastle, B. Bucy, and J. R. Thompson, Student Estimates of Probability and Uncertainty in Advanced Laboratory and Statistical Physics Courses, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 152-155 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820919.

Peer-assessment of Homework Using Rubrics
Sahana Murthy
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 156-159, doi:10.1063/1.2820920
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I have implemented a peer-assessment system in an introductory physics course, where students assess each other's homework. Students are provided with descriptive rubrics to guide them through the process. In this paper I describe the implementation of the peer-assessment process, discuss the role of rubrics, present data of agreement of students' assessment with the instructor's, and show evidence of student improvement in evaluation abilities.

S. Murthy, Peer-assessment of Homework Using Rubrics, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 156-159 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820920.

Learning to Think Like Scientists with the PET Curriculum
Valerie K. Otero and Kara E. Gray
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 160-163, doi:10.1063/1.2820922
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Instructional techniques based on research in cognitive science and physics education have been used in physics courses to enhance student learning. While dramatic increases in conceptual understanding have been observed, students enrolled in these courses tend to shift away from scientist-like views of the discipline (and views of learning within the discipline) and toward novice-like views. Shifts toward scientist-like views are found when course materials and instruction explicitly address epistemology, the nature of science, and the nature of learning. The Physics and Everyday Thinking (PET) curriculum has specific goals for helping non-science majors explicitly reflect on the nature of science and the nature of science learning. We show that in PET courses with small and large enrollments, shifts toward scientist-like thinking ranged from +4% to +16.5% on the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey. These results are compared to results from other studies using a variety of similar assessment instruments.

V. K. Otero and K. E. Gray, Learning to Think Like Scientists with the PET Curriculum, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 160-163 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820922.

Salience of Representations and Analogies in Physics
Noah S. Podolefsky and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 164-167, doi:10.1063/1.2820923
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This paper focuses on the dynamics as students reason using analogies. We describe analogical scaffolding, a model of cognitive processes by which students can use prior knowledge to learn new material, and apply this model to demonstrate its utility in describing the dynamics of student reasoning about EM waves in an interview. The present finegrained analysis confirms prior large-scale findings, that representations play a key role in student use of analogy.

N. S. Podolefsky and N. D. Finkelstein, Salience of Representations and Analogies in Physics, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 164-167 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820923.

Student Understanding of the Physics and Mathematics of Process Variables in P-V Diagrams
Evan B. Pollock, John R. Thompson, and Donald B. Mountcastle
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 168-171, doi:10.1063/1.2820924
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Students in an upper-level thermal physics course were asked to compare quantities related to the First Law of Thermodynamics along with similar mathematical questions devoid of all physical context. We report on a comparison of student responses to physics questions involving interpretation of ideal gas processes on P-V diagrams and to analogous mathematical qualitative questions about the signs of and comparisons between the magnitudes of various integrals. Student performance on individual questions combined with performance on the paired questions shows evidence of isolated understanding of physics and mathematics. Some difficulties are addressed by instruction.

E. B. Pollock, J. R. Thompson, and D. B. Mountcastle, Student Understanding of the Physics and Mathematics of Process Variables in P-V Diagrams, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 168-171 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820924.

A Longitudinal Study of the Impact of Curriculum on Conceptual Understanding in E&M
Steven J. Pollock
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 172-175, doi:10.1063/1.2820925
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We have collected extensive data on upper-division Electricity and Magnetism (E&M) student performance at CU Boulder since we introduced the University of Washington's Tutorials in Introductory Physics in 2004 as part of our freshman curriculum. In the earliest semesters, all upper-division students had themselves taken a non-Tutorial introductory Physics, providing a baseline at this upper-division level surprisingly close to post-scores in our reformed introductory course. More recently, the population in the upper-division is mixed with respect to freshman experience, with over half having been taught with Tutorials as freshmen. We track those students and find that on average, their individual BEMA scores do not change significantly over time. However, we do find a significantly stronger performance at the upper division level for students who went through Tutorials compared to those who had other introductory experiences, and stronger scores still for students who taught in the introductory sequence as Learning Assistants, indicating a long-term positive impact of Tutorials on conceptual understanding.

S. J. Pollock, A Longitudinal Study of the Impact of Curriculum on Conceptual Understanding in E&M, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 172-175 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820925.

FCI-based Multiple Choice Test for Investigating Students' Representational Coherence
Antti Savinainen, Pasi Nieminen, Jouni Viiri, Jukka Korkea-aho, and Aku Talikka
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 176-179, doi:10.1063/1.2820926
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We present the Representation Test derived from the FCI for evaluating students' representational coherence on some aspects of gravitation and Newton's third law. The test consists of 23 questions addressing verbal, graphical, bar chart, and vectorial representations. Matched high school student data (n = 54) on the pre- and post-test are analyzed in terms of representational coherence and scientific correctness.

A. Savinainen, P. Nieminen, J. Viiri, J. Korkea-aho, and A. Talikka, FCI-based Multiple Choice Test for Investigating Students' Representational Coherence, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 176-179 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820926.

The Effect of Field Representation on Student Responses to Magnetic Force Questions
Thomas M. Scaife and Andrew F. Heckler
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 180-183, doi:10.1063/1.2820927
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We examine student understanding of the magnetic force exerted on a charged particle and report three findings from a series of tests administered to introductory physics students. First, we expand on previous findings that many students believe in “charged” magnetic poles and find that although students may answer according to a model where a positive charge is attracted to a south pole and repulsed by a north, these students may not believe that the poles are charged. Additional models produce identical answer schemes, the primary being magnetic force parallel to magnetic field. Second, the representation format affects responses: students answer differently when the magnetic field is portrayed by a field source vs. by field lines. Third, after traditional instruction improvement in student performance is greater on questions portraying field lines than for questions portraying field sources.

T. M. Scaife and A. F. Heckler, The Effect of Field Representation on Student Responses to Magnetic Force Questions, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 180-183 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820927.

Multiple Modes of Reasoning in Physics Problem Solving, with Implications for Instruction
David Schuster, Adriana Undreiu, and Betty Adams
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 184-187, doi:10.1063/1.2820928
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Problem-solving is an important part of physics teaching, learning and assessment. It is widely assumed that the way that experts solve problems, and students should, is by systematic application of basic physics principles. Model solutions are laid out this way, and teaching of problem-solving usually consists of `going over' such solutions step by step. However, while this does represent the physics structure of the final solution, it does not adequately reflect how people actually think when tackling problems. Real cognition is complex. This study was prompted by students trying to `map across' result features recalled from previous cases instead of working from basics. Since our instruction emphasizes the power and generality of basic principles, our first response was to re-emphasize principles, but we found that experts in fact draw extensively and effectively on rich compiled case knowledge. We investigated cognition in detail for geometrical optics. Research methods included analysis of written solutions, reflections on thinking, and interviews. Cognitive modes emerged from the initial research stages, and were then used to code individuals' problem-solving pathways. Learners and experts alike used multiple modes of cognition, significantly principle-based reasoning, case-based reasoning and experiential-intuitive reasoning. Case-based reasoning using pre-compiled knowledge played a pervasive role in conjunction with, and sometimes in conflict with, principle-based reasoning. The implications for instruction are that it should reflect what we know about cognition and expertise, and hence include teaching case-based as well as principle-based reasoning. We are doing this in optics, by using cases and variations, identifying topic knowledge schema `sub-assemblies', and modeling their use in problems.

D. Schuster, A. Undreiu, and B. Adams, Multiple Modes of Reasoning in Physics Problem Solving, with Implications for Instruction, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 184-187 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820928.

Explicit Reflection in an Introductory Physics Course
Michael Scott, Timothy Stelzer, and Gary Gladding
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 188-191, doi:10.1063/1.2820929
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This paper will explore a classroom implementation in which explicit reflective activities supplemented the problems students worked during class. This intervention spanned a 14 week period and was evaluated based on the relative performance between a control and treatment group. Instruments used in this study to assess performance included the Force Concept Inventory (FCI), a physics problem categorization test, and four class exams. We will discuss fully our implementation of the reflective exercises along with results from the accompanying measures.

M. Scott, T. Stelzer, and G. Gladding, Explicit Reflection in an Introductory Physics Course, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 188-191 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820929.

Introducing Ill-Structured Problems in Introductory Physics Recitations
Vazgen Shekoyan and Eugenia Etkina
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 192-195, doi:10.1063/1.2820930
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One important aspect of physics instruction is helping students develop better problem solving expertise. Besides enhancing the content knowledge, problems help students develop different cognitive abilities and skills. This paper focuses on ill-structured problems. These problems are different from traditional “end of chapter” well-structured problems. They do not have one right answer and thus the student has to examine different possibilities, assumptions and evaluate the outcomes. To solve such problems one has to engage in a cognitive monitoring called epistemic cognition. It is an important part of thinking in real life. Physicists routinely use epistemic cognition when they solve problems. We present a scaffolding technique for introducing ill-structured problems in introductory physics recitations and describe preliminary results of an exploratory study of student problem solving of ill-structured problems.

V. Shekoyan and E. Etkina, Introducing Ill-Structured Problems in Introductory Physics Recitations, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 192-195 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820930.

Effect of Misconception on Transfer in Problem Solving
Chandralekha Singh
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 196-199, doi:10.1063/1.2820931
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We examine the effect of misconceptions about friction on students' ability to solve problems and transfer from one context to another. We analyze written responses to paired isomorphic problems given to introductory physics students and discussions with a subset of students. Misconceptions associated with friction in problems were sometimes so robust that pairing them with isomorphic problems not involving friction did not help students fully discern their underlying similarities.

C. Singh, Effect of Misconception on Transfer in Problem Solving, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 196-199 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820931.

Symbols: Weapons of Math Destruction
Eugene Torigoe and Gary Gladding
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 200-203, doi:10.1063/1.2820933
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This paper is part of an ongoing investigation of how students use and understand mathematics in introductory physics. Our previous research [1] revealed that differences in score as large as 50% can be observed between numeric and symbolic versions of the same question. We have expanded our study of numeric and symbolic differences to include 10 pairs of questions on a calculus based introductory physics final exam. We find that not all physics problems exhibit such large differences and that in the cases where a large difference is observed that the largest difference occurs for the poorest students. With these 10 questions we have been able to develop phenomenological categories to characterize the properties of each of the questions. We will discuss what question properties are necessary to observe differences in score on the numeric and symbolic versions. We will also discuss what insights these categories give us about how students think about and use symbols in physics.

E. Torigoe and G. Gladding, Symbols: Weapons of Math Destruction, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 200-203 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820933.

Understanding How Physics Faculty Use Peer Instruction
Chandra Turpen and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 204-207, doi:10.1063/1.2820934
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We investigate how the use of physics education research tools is spreading throughout faculty practice and examine efforts to sustain the use of these practices. We specifically focus on analyzing the local use of the innovation Peer Instruction. We present data based on observations of teaching practices of six physics faculty in large enrollment introductory physics courses at our institution. From these observations, we identify three dimensions that describe variations in faculty practices: the purpose of questions, participation with students, and norms of discussion.

C. Turpen and N. D. Finkelstein, Understanding How Physics Faculty Use Peer Instruction, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 204-207 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820934.

Comparing Student Use of Mathematical and Physical Vector Representations
Joel Van Deventer and Michael C. Wittmann
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 208-211, doi:10.1063/1.2820935
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Research has shown that students have difficulties with vectors in college introductory physics courses and high school physics courses; furthermore, students have been shown to perform worse on a vector task with a physical context when compared to the same task in a mathematical context. We have used these results to design isomorphic mathematics and physics free-response vector test questions to evaluate student understanding of vectors in both contexts. To validate our test, we carried out task-based interviews with introductory physics students. We used our results to develop a multiple-choice version of the vector test which was then administered to introductory physics students. We report on our test, giving examples of questions and preliminary findings.

J. V. Deventer and M. C. Wittmann, Comparing Student Use of Mathematical and Physical Vector Representations, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 208-211 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820935.

Using Students' Design Tasks to Develop Scientific Abilities
Xueli Zou
AIP Conf. Proc. 951, pp. 212-215, doi:10.1063/1.2820936
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To help students develop the scientific abilities desired in the 21st century workplace, four different types of student design tasks—observation, verification, application, and investigation experiments—have been developed and implemented in our calculus-based introductory courses. Students working in small groups are engaged in designing and conducting their own experiments to observe some physical phenomena, test a physical principle, build a real-life device, solve a complex problem, or conduct an open-inquiry investigation. A preliminary study has shown that, probed by a performance-based task, the identified scientific abilities are more explicitly demonstrated by design-lab students than non-design lab students. In this paper, detailed examples of the design tasks and assessment results will be reported.

X. Zou, Using Students' Design Tasks to Develop Scientific Abilities, 2007 PERC Proceedings [Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007], edited by L. Hsu, C. Henderson, and L. McCullough [AIP Conf. Proc. 951, 212-215 (2007)], doi:10.1063/1.2820936.