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2008 PERC Proceedings

Conference Information

Dates: July 23-24, 2008
Location: Edmonton, CA
Theme: Physics Education Research with Diverse Student Populations

Proceedings Information

Editors: Charles Henderson, Mel Sabella, and Leon Hsu
Published: October 20, 2008
AIP URL: AIP Conference Proceedings 1064
Info: Single book; 266 pages; 8.5 X 11 inches, single column
ISBN: 978-0-7354-0594-3
ISSN (Print): 0094-243X
ISSN (Online): 1551-7616

The 2008 Physics Education Research Conference brought together researchers studying a wide variety of topics in physics education. The conference theme was "Physics Education Research with Diverse Student Populations". Researchers specializing in diversity issues were invited to help establish a dialog and spur discussion about how the results from this work can inform the physics education research community. The organizers encouraged physics education researchers who are using research-based instructional materials with non-traditional students at either the pre-college level or the college level to share their experiences as instructors and researchers in these classes.

Readership: Physics education researchers (faculty, post-doctoral students, and graduate/undergraduate 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 (14)
Peer-reviewed Papers (44)
Back Matter

INVITED MANUSCRIPTS (14)

First Author Index

Allie · Brahmia · Dey · Docktor · Finkelstein · Gutierrez · Johnson · Kelly · Loverude · Rand · Sabella · Scantlebury · Tobin · Yerushalmi

Invited Papers

Making Sense of Measurements, Making Sense of the Textbook
Saalih Allie, Dedra Demaree, Julian Taylor, Fred Lubben, and Andy Buffler
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 3-6, doi:10.1063/1.3021268
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Students who enroll for the special access course in physics at the University of Cape Town generally do not speak English as first language and have experienced poor science teaching. As a consequence students experience a large range of difficulties in trying to learn physics. We discuss research carried out in two such areas (a) understanding of measurement and (b) engagement with the textbook. With regard to (a) an overview of the methodology, analysis framework and findings of previous work will be presented together with more recent preliminary findings regarding audience dependence when conveying measurement results. With regard to (b) the idea of writing chapter summaries was used to guide students through the book with the aim that the textbook would come to be valued an accessible resource. Findings from the analysis of the student summaries are presented.

S. Allie, D. Demaree, J. Taylor, F. Lubben, and A. Buffler, Making Sense of Measurements, Making Sense of the Textbook, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 3-6 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021268.

Improving Learning for Underrepresented Groups in Physics for Engineering Majors
Suzanne Brahmia
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 7-10, doi:10.1063/1.3021279
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The Extended Analytical Physics course at Rutgers University was crafted to improve learning in the first-year physics course for students mathematically under-prepared for engineering physics. It is a core course in the engineering curriculum and has contributed to the increase in success of underrepresented groups in physics and in subsequently in STEM majors. This article describes the evolution of this course, its current structure, the successes measured and the future plans.

S. Brahmia, Improving Learning for Underrepresented Groups in Physics for Engineering Majors, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 7-10 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021279.

A Variety of Diversity: Facing Higher Education's Educational Challenges
Eric Dey
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 11-14, doi:10.1063/1.3021232
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First among the many important challenges facing American higher education is the need to improve the effectiveness of our educational programs. Public concern has heightened the sense of urgency for colleges and universities to make progress on improving and measuring educational outcomes, which is made more challenging by the varieties of diversity facing us. Diversity is not just an issue related to student recruitment or experience, but rather it is one that also relates to institutions and their faculties. New educational methods must address such diversity to be effective, and one possible example can be found in ongoing research at the University of Michigan that explores the educational implications of implementing a web-based lecture capture system in large lecture courses. Student use of and reactions to such systems is important, as is the potential to influence course performance for students in general, but also for underrepresented and at-risk student subpopulations. In addition to helping bring our current landscape into focus, the session will identify effective practices as well as continuing challenges to improving educational practice for undergraduate students.

E. Dey, A Variety of Diversity: Facing Higher Education's Educational Challenges, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 11-14 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021232.

Gender Differences in Both Force Concept Inventory and Introductory Physics Performance
Jennifer Docktor and Kenneth Heller
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 15-18, doi:10.1063/1.3021243
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We present data from a decade of introductory calculus-based physics courses for science and engineering students at the University of Minnesota taught using cooperative group problem solving. The data include 40 classes with more than 5500 students taught by 22 different professors. The average normalized gain for males is 0.4 for these large classes that emphasized problem solving. Female students made up approximately 20% of these classes. We present relationships between pre and post Force Concept Inventory (FCI) scores, course grades, and final exam scores for females and males. We compare our results with previous studies from Harvard [2] and the University of Colorado [3,4]. Our data show there is a significant gender gap in pre-test FCI scores that persists post-instruction although there is essentially no gender difference in course performance as determined by course grade.

J. Docktor and K. Heller, Gender Differences in Both Force Concept Inventory and Introductory Physics Performance, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 15-18 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021243.

Acting in Our Own Self-Interests: Blending University and Community in Informal Science Education
Noah D. Finkelstein and Laurel Mayhew
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 19-22, doi:10.1063/1.3021254
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Research in physics education has demonstrated new tools and models for improving the understanding and engagement of traditional college students [1]. Building on this base, the research community has bridged the gap from college to pre-college education, even elementary school [2]. However, little work has been done to engage students in out-of-school settings, particularly for those students from populations under-represented in the sciences. We present a theoretically-grounded model of university-community partnership [3] that engages university students and children in a collective enterprise that has the potential to improve the participation and education of all. We document the impact of these programs on: university participants who learn about education, the community and even some science; children in the community who learn about science, the nature of science and develop their identities and attitudes towards science; and, shifts in institutional practice which may allow these programs to be sustained, or not.

N. D. Finkelstein and L. Mayhew, Acting in Our Own Self-Interests: Blending University and Community in Informal Science Education, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 19-22 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021254.

What is “Nepantla” and How Can it Help Physics Education Researchers Conceptualize Knowledge for Teaching?
Rochelle Gutierrez
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 23-25, doi:10.1063/1.3021263
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This article draws on Latina/Latino studies to offer physics education a potential framework for reconceptualizing the “knowledge” teachers will need to engage marginalized students. Drawing on Gloria Anzaldúa's notion of Nepantla (a liminal space that facilitates transformation), I offer examples of teacher candidates as they come to recognize multiple realities in teaching mathematics to urban high school students. I suggest that as we prepare teachers, we must help them not only recognize a state of Nepantla (to see and participate in multiple realities) but also come to expect the uneasiness with being in that space as it offers potential for new knowledge.

R. Gutierrez, What is “Nepantla” and How Can it Help Physics Education Researchers Conceptualize Knowledge for Teaching?, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 23-25 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021263.

Similarities and Differences In Ideas Generated by Physics Learners: US College Students Vs. Tibetan Buddhist Monks
Andy Johnson
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 26-29, doi:10.1063/1.3021264
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We have used PER-based course materials to teach various physics topics to Tibetan Buddhist monks over the last four years. While listening to the monks' ideas through interpreters, we found some striking similarities with ideas that we hear in our own classrooms in the US. However, the degree of similarity of monks' ideas with those of US students varied with the topic. For example, ideas that emerged in the topic of magnetism were often consistent with western ideas while ideas about color addition were sometimes strikingly different from ideas that American students use. The monks' ways of talking lead us to believe that cultural background partially determines how they think initially about particular physics topics. This poster will give examples of similarities and of differences, and attempt to identify reasons for both.

A. Johnson, Similarities and Differences In Ideas Generated by Physics Learners: US College Students Vs. Tibetan Buddhist Monks, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 26-29 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021264.

Inequities in Physics Access and Enrollment in Urban High Schools
Angela Kelly
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 30-33, doi:10.1063/1.3021265
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Despite reports to the contrary, the availability of physics as a course for secondary students is not equitably distributed throughout the U.S. While some schools provide physics access for all, a more common scenario is limited availability to select students. This is particularly true in urban districts, where this study examined access to and availability of high school physics. New York City’s secondary schools were surveyed to determine where physics was offered and how many students were enrolled. Statistics were performed to compare differences between physics and non-physics schools. Additionally, organizational factors were examined that relate to physics availability, such as the magnet school configuration, the AP Physics and conceptual physics options, and science curricular sequence. Overall, it was determined that physics availability is limited in NYC schools, a serious inequity that disproportionately affects students of color and poor children. Strategies for improving access and enrollment will be discussed.

A. Kelly, Inequities in Physics Access and Enrollment in Urban High Schools, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 30-33 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021265.

Curriculum Design for the Algebra-Based Course: Just Change the ‘D’s to Deltas?
Michael E. Loverude, Stephen E. Kanim, and Luanna S. Gomez
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 34-37, doi:10.1063/1.3021266
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The PIs have been involved in an NSF-funded project to develop materials for the introductory mechanics laboratory. The materials are based on the instructional approach taken in Tutorials in Introductory Physics (curriculum developed in the context of the calculus-based course at the University of Washington). While the materials being developed are intended for the algebra-based course, at many universities the labs are common to the two courses. As a result, we have been looking at differences in performance between these two student populations. In this poster, we describe the differences we have observed, especially as related to graphs, proportional reasoning, and algebra. It turns out that you cannot just change the d’s to Deltas—who knew? We will discuss implications for instructors and for curriculum developers.

M. E. Loverude, S. E. Kanim, and L. S. Gomez, Curriculum Design for the Algebra-Based Course: Just Change the ‘D’s to Deltas?, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 34-37 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021266.

An Idea for Generating Diversity Conversations: Physics Jeopardy and the Future Faces of Physics Kit
Kendra Rand and Gary White
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 38-41, doi:10.1063/1.3021267
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Is there a way to engage typical physics undergraduates in a conversation about under-represented groups in physics that doesn't result in rolled-eyes or fingers-in-the-ears? The Society of Physics Students (SPS) has begun an experiment using a jeopardy-like game at physics meetings in an attempt to generate conversations about diversity. The physics jeopardy game is part of a "Future Faces of Physics" kit that includes a variety of materials that are of interest to those wanting to address under-represented audiences in physics, such as video clips exhibiting common physics words in sign language, tactile representations of the lunar surface for blind students,guidelines regarding lab procedures for the wheel-chair bound, and the book, Einstein on Race and Racism with a challenge letter directed at SPS chapters from the authors. While attempts to assess the impact of the game are modest, we report anecdotally some of the qualitative features seen in the discussions when the game is played. We also strive to indulge in a few physics jeopardy game moments to give a sense of how the game works. If you are hosting a meeting, large or small, and would like to receive this kit for use at your meeting, notify Kendra Rand, SPS Program Coordinator at krand@aip.org.

K. Rand and G. White, An Idea for Generating Diversity Conversations: Physics Jeopardy and the Future Faces of Physics Kit, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 38-41 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021267.

Using the Resources of the Student at the Urban, Comprehensive University to Develop an Effective Instructional Environment
Mel Sabella, Dr. Kim Coble, and Samuel Bowen
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 42-45, doi:10.1063/1.3021269
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Physics Education Researchers have provided instructors with (1) tools to assess student learning, (2) details on the state of student knowledge, and (3) instructional materials and learning environments that have proven to be effective in promoting understanding. Unfortunately, the vast majority of this work has centered on students and instruction at the traditional research university. As instructors begin to implement innovative instructional materials, and as researchers begin to investigate student learning with diverse populations, complex differences emerge. The use of traditional PER tools in non-traditional environments, such as the urban, comprehensive university, often leads to a very narrow picture of student development. Often, this limited view highlights deficiencies in learning and fails to reveal the strengths and resources of this population. In this paper we highlight issues we face with some of the traditional research tools and provide evidence for the resources we have found with our population of students.

M. Sabella, D. K. Coble, and S. Bowen, Using the Resources of the Student at the Urban, Comprehensive University to Develop an Effective Instructional Environment, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 42-45 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021269.

Impact of Chemistry Teachers' Knowledge and Practices on Student Achievement
Kathryn Scantlebury
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 46-49, doi:10.1063/1.3021270
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Professional development programs promoting inquiry-based teaching are challenged with providing teachers content knowledge and using pedagogical approaches that model standards based instruction. Inquiry practices are also important for undergraduate students. This paper focuses on the evaluation of an extensive professional development program for chemistry teachers that included chemistry content tests for students and the teachers and the impact of undergraduate research experiences on college students' attitudes towards chemistry. Baseline results for the students showed that there were no gender differences on the achievement test but white students scored significantly higher than non-white students. However, parent/adult involvement with chemistry homework and projects, was a significant negative predictor of 11th grade students' test chemistry achievement score. This paper will focus on students' achievement and attitude results for teachers who are mid-way through the program providing evidence that on-going, sustained professional development in content and pedagogy is critical for improving students' science achievement.

K. Scantlebury, Impact of Chemistry Teachers' Knowledge and Practices on Student Achievement, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 46-49 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021270.

Fostering Science Learning In Diverse Urban Settings
Kenneth Tobin
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 50-52, doi:10.1063/1.3021271
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This paper describes how the uses of cogenerative dialogue can afford the creation of learning communities in which difference is respected and regarded as a resource for advancing learning of the collective as well as individuals within the collective. I describe what we learned from a ten-year program of research in which cogenerative dialogues were used in urban high schools to create productive learning environments in which student achievement increased equitably for social categories such as ethnicity, class, and native language. The route toward higher achievement was paved by expanded roles for science teachers and students.

K. Tobin, Fostering Science Learning In Diverse Urban Settings, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 50-52 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021271.

Effect of Self Diagnosis on Subsequent Problem Solving Performance
Edit Yerushalmi, Andrew J. Mason, Elisheva Cohen, and Chandralekha Singh
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 53-56, doi:10.1063/1.3021272
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Self-diagnosis tasks aim at fostering diagnostic behavior by explicitly requiring students to present diagnosis as part of the activity of reviewing their problem solutions. The recitation classes in an introductory physics class (~200 students) were split into a control group and three experimental groups in which different levels of guidance was provided for performing the self-diagnosis activities. We have been a) investigating how students in each group performed on subsequent near and far transfer questions given as part of the exams; and b) comparing student's initial scores on their quizzes with their performance on the exams, as well as comparing student's self-diagnosis scores with their performance on the exams. We discuss some hypotheses about the students' ability to self-diagnose with different levels of scaffolding support and emphasize the importance of teaching students how to diagnosis their own mistakes. Our findings suggest that struggling with minimal support during in-class self-diagnosis can trigger out-of-class self-diagnosis. Students therefore may be motivated to make sense of the problem they may have not been able to self diagnose, whether independently or in a collaborative effort.

E. Yerushalmi, A. J. Mason, E. Cohen, and C. Singh, Effect of Self Diagnosis on Subsequent Problem Solving Performance, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 53-56 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021272.

PEER REVIEWED MANUSCRIPTS (44)

First Author Index

Adams · Atkins · Baily · Bing · Bonham · Brewe · Brookes · Byun · Chasteen · Cochran · Cohen · Cummings · Demaree · Duda · Gire · Goertzen · Gray · Haynicz · Henderson · Kohl · Kost · Marx · Mason · Mateycik · Mayhew · McBride · Monteyne · Podolefsky · Pollock · Price · Ramlo · Rosenblatt · Rosengrant · Sadaghiani · Sayre · Singh · Teodorescu · Turpen · Undreiu · Warren · Watkins · Wells · Zavala

Peer-reviewed Papers

What Levels of Guidance Promote Engaged Exploration with Interactive Simulations?
Wendy K. Adams, Archie Paulson, and Carl E. Wieman
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 59-62, doi:10.1063/1.3021273
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We became teachers because we want everyone to be able to see through science the elegance in nature as we do. Our instincts and training may lead us to “tell” students about science and math as we understand it. Unfortunately research has shown that simply telling is not always the most effective way to share our understanding. Simulations are a valuable instructional resource and can provide a wealth of data about student engagement and learning. Approximately 250 interviews have been conducted with simulations developed by the Physics Education Technology (PhET) Project. We’ve conducted interviews using several different levels of guidance and found that the nature of guidance influences the amount of student engagement. Minimal but nonzero guidance with many of these simulations promotes optimum engaged exploration and learning.

W. K. Adams, A. Paulson, and C. E. Wieman, What Levels of Guidance Promote Engaged Exploration with Interactive Simulations?, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 59-62 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021273.

The Roles of Evidence in Scientific Argument
Leslie J. Atkins
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 63-66, doi:10.1063/1.3021274
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Over the past decades, education researchers have shifted their understanding of science from “a rhetoric of conclusions” – that is, a fixed canon of content – to a social process of knowledge construction. While much of the research has investigated individual learners as they engage with scientific ideas, experiments, and methods, increasingly researchers are turning to the social processes of science as it is constructed in a community, with particular interest in scientific argumentation. This emphasis on argument recasts the role of evidence and data in scientific classrooms: rather than being used to demonstrate the scientific canon or even to guide students to construct correct scientific principles, it is the grounds on which claims – generated by students in the process of argumentation – are warranted. In this paper, I explore a transcript of scientific discourse, exploring the rules by which participants in the discourse endorse or reject scientific claims. I appeal for a more nuanced understanding of evidence as one of many criteria by which scientific claims are evaluated, and that evidence, at times, is incommensurable with other, possibly more scientific, criteria for evaluating claims. This view of argumentation, and the peculiar discourse games associated with argumentation, is particularly relevant for understanding difficulties that diverse student populations may face.

L. J. Atkins, The Roles of Evidence in Scientific Argument, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 63-66 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021274.

Student Perspectives in Quantum Physics
Charles Baily and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 67-70, doi:10.1063/1.3021275
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Introductory courses in classical physics are promoting in students a realist perspective, made up in part by the belief that all physical properties of a system can be simultaneously specified, and thus determined at all future times. Such a perspective can be problematic for introductory quantum physics students, who must develop new framings of epistemic and ontological resources in order to properly interpret what it means to have knowledge of quantum systems. We document this evolution in student thinking in part through pre/post instruction evaluations using the CLASS attitude survey. We further characterize variations in student epistemic and ontological commitments by examining responses to an essay question, coupled with responses to supplemental quantum attitude statements. We find that, after instruction in modern physics, many students are still exhibiting a realist perspective in contexts where a quantum perspective is needed. We also find that this effect can be significantly influenced by instruction, where we observe variations for courses with differing learning goals.

C. Baily and N. D. Finkelstein, Student Perspectives in Quantum Physics, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 67-70 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021275.

Using Warrants As a Window to Epistemic Framing
Thomas J. Bing and Edward F. Redish
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 71-74, doi:10.1063/1.3021276
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Mathematics can serve many functions in physics. It can provide a computational system, reflect a physical idea, conveniently encode a rule, and so forth. A physics student thus has many different options for using mathematics in his physics problem solving. We present a short example from the problem solving work of upper level physics students and use it to illustrate the epistemic framing process: “framing” because these students are focusing on a subset of their total math knowledge, “epistemic” because their choice of subset relates to what they see (at that particular time) as the nature of the math knowledge in play. We illustrate how looking for students’ warrants, the often unspoken reasons they think their evidence supports their mathematical claims, serves as a window to their epistemic framing. These warrants provide a powerful, concise piece of evidence of these students’ epistemic framing.

T. J. Bing and E. F. Redish, Using Warrants As a Window to Epistemic Framing, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 71-74 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021276.

Latent Response Times and Cognitive Processing on the FMCE
Scott W. Bonham
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 75-78, doi:10.1063/1.3021277
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Latent response time analysis of students on an electronic version of the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation (FMCE) provides information on student reading patterns and the role of mental models in student reasoning. Regression analysis looked at the dependence of response times on characteristics of questions, such as amount of text and inclusion of graphs. Results indicate that students generally read through the question text and instructions when first presented, but do not systematically read through answer choices and graphs. Comparison of average response times between pre- and post-instructional assessment found a drop in response times when students used Newtonian ideas but no change for responses using the main alternative concept. The average response time for students who answered using a mix of Newtonian and alternative concepts was not different from those using primarily one or the other; questions rarely activated both concepts at the same time.

S. W. Bonham, Latent Response Times and Cognitive Processing on the FMCE, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 75-78 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021277.

CLASS Shifts in Modeling Instruction
Eric Brewe, Laird H. Kramer, and George O'Brien
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 79-82, doi:10.1063/1.3021278
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Among the most surprising findings in Physics Education Research is the lack of positive results on attitudinal measures, such as Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey (CLASS) and Maryland Physics Expectations Survey (MPEX). The uniformity with which physics teaching manages to negatively shift attitudes toward physics learning is striking. Strategies which have been shown to improve learning, such as interactive engagement and studio format classes, provide more authentic science experiences for students, yet do not produce positive attitudinal results. Florida International University’s Physics Education Research Group has implemented Modeling Instruction in University Physics classes. Using the CLASS as a pre/post measure has shown attitudinal improvements through both semesters of the introductory physics sequence. In this paper, we report positive shifts on the CLASS in two sections of Modeling Physics, one in Mechanics (N=30) and one in Electricity and Magnetism, (N=31) and examine how these results reflect on Modeling Instruction.

E. Brewe, L. H. Kramer, and G. O'Brien, CLASS Shifts in Modeling Instruction, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 79-82 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021278.

The Specificity Effect: An Example from Refraction
David T. Brookes, Brian H. Ross, and Jose P. Mestre
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 83-86, doi:10.1063/1.3021280
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In physics instruction we often begin by presenting students with an abstract principle, and then illustrating the principle with one or more examples. We hope that students will use the examples to refine their understanding of the principle and be able to transfer the principle to new situations. However, research in cognitive science has shown that students’ understanding of a new principle may become bound up with the example(s) used to illustrate it. We report on a study with physics students to see if this “specificity effect” was present in their reasoning. The data show that even students who understand and can implement a particular physics principle have a strong tendency to discard that principle when the transfer task appears superficially similar to their training example.

D. T. Brookes, B. H. Ross, and J. P. Mestre, The Specificity Effect: An Example from Refraction, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 83-86 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021280.

Identifying Student Difficulty in Problem Solving Process via the Framework of the House Model (HM)
Taejin Byun, Sangwoo Ha, and Gyoungho Lee
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 87-90, doi:10.1063/1.3021281
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Recently, many students have been losing their interest in physics. One of the essential reasons why students look away from physics is the fact that they face difficulty in solving physics problems. Since mechanics is a fundamental subject in physics, many researchers have studied how students learn mechanics and solve problems related to mechanics. However, there is little research on the students' specific difficulties in the process of problem solving. This study investigated degree of students’ difficulties in process and the core sources of these difficulties. 24 university students who majored in physics education participated in this study. We have developed a framework, House Model (HM), for helping and analyzing students' problem solving. We found that students felt greater difficulty in planning and executing steps than in visualizing, knowing and finding steps. As the problems grew in difficulty, this pattern became more distinct. We also found the sources of the students’ difficulties and discussed the educational implications of these results.

T. Byun, S. Ha, and G. Lee, Identifying Student Difficulty in Problem Solving Process via the Framework of the House Model (HM), 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 87-90 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021281.

Transforming Upper-Division Electricity and Magnetism
Stephanie V. Chasteen and Steven J. Pollock
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 91-94, doi:10.1063/1.3021282
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We transformed an upper-division electricity and magnetism course for physics and engineering majors using principles of active engagement and learning theory. The teaching practices and new curricular materials were guided by observations and interviews to identify common student difficulties. We established explicit learning goals for the course, created homework that addressed key aspects of those learning goals, offered interactive help room sessions, created and ran small-group tutorial sessions, and used interactive classroom techniques such as peer discussion and “clickers.” We find that students in the transformed course exhibit improved performance over the traditional course, as assessed by common exam questions and a newly developed conceptual post-test. These results suggest that it is valuable to further investigate how physics is taught at the upper-division, and how PER may be applied in this context.

S. V. Chasteen and S. J. Pollock, Transforming Upper-Division Electricity and Magnetism, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 91-94 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021282.

Understanding and Encouraging Effective Collaboration in Introductory Physics Courses
Geraldine L. Cochran and Mel Sabella
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 95-98, doi:10.1063/1.3021283
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Anecdotal evidence from the introductory physics classrooms at Chicago State University suggests that our students view collaboration as an important tool in their learning. Despite this, students often need additional instruction and support in order for collaboration to be effective. In order to aid students in establishing effective collaborations we may be able to capitalize on the fact that students at CSU readily accept the inquiry approach to instruction. In this paper, we present the initial stage of this work. Specifically, we have begun to videotape student interactions in the classroom, interview students about the nature of learning, and develop and administer instruments that assess the value students place on the use of guided inquiry. By utilizing a specific criteria and analyzing the occurrence of specific behaviors in the classroom we can determine the effectiveness of collaboration during group work. Responses regarding how students value the use of questions in instruction indicate the level of feasibility in utilizing peer questioning to promote effective collaboration.

G. L. Cochran and M. Sabella, Understanding and Encouraging Effective Collaboration in Introductory Physics Courses, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 95-98 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021283.

Identifying Differences in Diagnostic Skills between Physics Students: Students' Self-Diagnostic Performance Given Alternative Scaffolding
Elisheva Cohen, Andrew J. Mason, Chandralekha Singh, and Edit Yerushalmi
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 99-102, doi:10.1063/1.3021284
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“Self-diagnosis tasks” aim at fostering diagnostic behavior by explicitly requiring students to present diagnosis as part of the activity of reviewing their problem solutions. We have been investigating the extent to which introductory physics students can diagnose their own mistakes when explicitly asked to do so with different levels of scaffolding support provided to them. In our study in an introductory physics class with more than 200 students, the recitation classes were split into three different experimental groups in which different levels of guidance were provided for performing the self-diagnosis activities. We present our findings that students' performance was far from perfect. However, differences in the scaffolding in the three experimental groups (i.e. providing a correct solution and a self-diagnosis rubric) noticeably affected the resulting diagnosis.

E. Cohen, A. J. Mason, C. Singh, and E. Yerushalmi, Identifying Differences in Diagnostic Skills between Physics Students: Students' Self-Diagnostic Performance Given Alternative Scaffolding, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 99-102 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021284.

A Study of Peer Instruction Methods with High School Physics Students
Karen Cummings and Stephen G. Roberts
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 103-106, doi:10.1063/1.3021227
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This paper reports on the results of an experiment to test the use of a Peer Instruction (PI) pedagogical model in a small class, high school environment. The study reports findings based on a population of 213 high school students attending algebra based physics courses, both Honors and A level, taught by 5 different instructors. The results show a correlation between use of Peer Instruction and improved student conceptual understanding, as demonstrated by gains on a pre-/post- assessment instrument (FCI). However, there also appears to be a number of other factors that strongly influence the resulting gains. In addition to instructor differences, the data seem to indicate that students who are more “physics-inclined” and can answer questions correctly prior to instruction and prior to any Peer Instruction discussion subsequently achieve higher gains as measured by the FCI. While this is to be expected, the use of normalized gains is intended to mitigate this result, but it appears to be prevalent nonetheless. This raises questions as to what degree the FCI gains can be attributed to the use of Peer Instruction, to teacher differences, to student ability level or to simply increased familiarity with the question types presented on the FCI.

K. Cummings and S. G. Roberts, A Study of Peer Instruction Methods with High School Physics Students, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 103-106 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021227.

Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of Student Textbook Summary Writing
Dedra Demaree, Saalih Allie, Michael Low, and Julian Taylor
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 107-110, doi:10.1063/1.3021228
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The majority of “special access” students at the University of Cape Town are second language English speakers for whom reading the physics textbook is daunting. As a strategy to encourage meaningful engagement with the text, students wrote textbook summaries due the day material was covered in class. The summaries were returned, and they could bring them or re-write them for use during their examinations. A framework was developed to analyze the summaries based on Waywood, defining three cognitive levels seen in mathematics journaling: recounting, summarizing, and dialoging. This framework was refined, expanded, and tested. Interviews with students were conducted for their views on summary writing and survey questions were included on their final exams. The study was carried out in the 2007 spring semester of the “Foundation Physics Course,” a component of the special access program.

D. Demaree, S. Allie, M. Low, and J. Taylor, Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of Student Textbook Summary Writing, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 107-110 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021228.

Probing Student Online Discussion Behavior with a Course Blog in Introductory Physics
Gintaras Duda and Katherine Garrett
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 111-114, doi:10.1063/1.3021229
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Since fall of 2005 a course blog has been used in introductory physics courses at Creighton University to discuss real-world applications of physics and engage students in discussion and thinking outside of class. Specifically, the blog was created to address elements of the “hidden curriculum” that are difficult to cover in class, and a previous work showed that students who posted to and read the blog did not suffer a deterioration in attitude/expectations as seen elsewhere using the MPEX or CLASS instrument. Here we analyze the content of student posts to the blog along several dimensions: student interactivity, the introduction of new knowledge, application of knowledge to real-life situations or other disciplines, self-disclosure of prior knowledge, and fascination/interest. Students’ online discussion behavior is analyzed and compared to results on the FMCE (The Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation) to determine if certain types of discussion behavior are correlated with student learning. We also present several interesting gender differences in students’ online discussion behaviors.

G. Duda and K. Garrett, Probing Student Online Discussion Behavior with a Course Blog in Introductory Physics, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 111-114 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021229.

Resources Students Use to Understand Quantum Mechanical Operators
Elizabeth Gire and Corinne A. Manogue
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 115-118, doi:10.1063/1.3021230
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The Paradigms team at Oregon State University has developed a quantum mechanics curriculum aimed at middle division students that begins with a strong emphasis on using operators, matrices and Dirac notation to describe quantum systems. The curriculum begins with spin systems, and this content ordering relies on students being able to understand quantum mechanical operators, eigenstates and quantum measurement without prior instruction on wave functions. We have analyzed classroom and an interview video to identify resources students use when considering these quantum ideas. Identification of such resources will inform introductory curricula that are prerequisite to the quantum Paradigms and inform the development of Paradigms materials that will guide students to use these resources productively.

E. Gire and C. A. Manogue, Resources Students Use to Understand Quantum Mechanical Operators, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 115-118 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021230.

Indicators of Understanding: What TAs Listen for in Student Responses
Renee Michelle Goertzen, Rachel E. Scherr, and Andrew Elby
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 119-122, doi:10.1063/1.3021231
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Before we can develop effective, research-based professional development programs for graduate student physics TAs, we must first identify their current classroom practices and why they engage in these practices. Framing, a theoretical framework developed in sociology and linguistics, provides an analytical toolbox for examining the expectations that guide the actions and attention of individuals while teaching. We use framing to develop fine-grained analyses of two episodes of TAs teaching tutorials. Despite the differences in their behaviors, the two TAs are in a sense both doing the same thing; they organize their interactions with students around “searching for indicators” that the students understand the targeted ideas.

R. M. Goertzen, R. E. Scherr, and A. Elby, Indicators of Understanding: What TAs Listen for in Student Responses, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 119-122 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021231.

Analysis of Learning Assistants’ Views of Teaching and Learning
Kara E. Gray and Valerie K. Otero
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 123-126, doi:10.1063/1.3021233
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For several years the University of Colorado has been using undergraduate Learning Assistants (LAs) in their introductory science and math courses. While the LAs have teaching duties very similar to graduate Teaching Assistants (TAs), first year LAs are also required to take an education course focused on teaching methods. The purpose of this course is to first help LAs improve their teaching in the university classrooms and to encourage some of the LAs to consider careers as K-12 science teachers. Throughout the semester LAs are asked to reflect on their learning about teaching and on the applications of these concepts to their current teaching experience. This paper will present an analysis of this learning experience from the perspective of the LAs. The paper will also present how LAs evolve as teachers and as learners throughout this experience.

K. E. Gray and V. K. Otero, Analysis of Learning Assistants’ Views of Teaching and Learning, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 123-126 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021233.

Students’ Understanding of Inclined Planes Using the CoMPASS Curriculum
Jacquelyn Haynicz, N. Sanjay Rebello, and Sadhana Puntambekar
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 127-130, doi:10.1063/1.3021234
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In this paper, we discuss how students enrolled in a conceptual physics class for future elementary school teachers progress through the CoMPASS (Concept Map Project-based Activity Scaffolding System) curriculum for inclined planes. The curriculum challenges students to design the best inclined plane to lift a pool table into a van. We have found that students typically predict the correct type of board (long and smooth) to complete the challenge, but their responses include evidence of both physics and everyday reasoning. After working through the materials, the majority of students understand the relationship between distance and force in the inclined plane as well as why the inclined plane is useful to lift heavy objects. However, students have difficulty both relating a plane’s steepness to the force required to pull an object and discussing work in a scientifically correct manner.

J. Haynicz, N. S. Rebello, and S. Puntambekar, Students’ Understanding of Inclined Planes Using the CoMPASS Curriculum, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 127-130 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021234.

Facilitating Change in Undergraduate STEM: Initial Results from an Interdisciplinary Literature Review
Charles R. Henderson, Andrea Beach, Noah D. Finkelstein, and R. Sam Larson
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 131-134, doi:10.1063/1.3021235
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Although decades of research have identified effective instructional practices for improving Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, these practices are not widely implemented. Scholars in three fields are interested in promoting these practices and have engaged in research on pedagogical change: Disciplinary-based STEM Education Researchers, Faculty Development Researchers, and Higher Education Researchers. There is little interaction between the fields and efforts in all areas have met with only modest success. In this paper we present an initial examination of 130 randomly chosen articles from a set of 295 we identified as addressing efforts to promote change in the instructional practices of STEM faculty. We identify four core change strategies and note that change strategies differ by fields. Articles in all fields frequently do not provide enough evidence to convincingly argue for the success of the change strategy studied and have few connections to theoretical or empirical literature related to change. This literature review and related efforts sit within broader efforts to promote interdisciplinary directed at facilitating lasting change.

C. R. Henderson, A. Beach, N. D. Finkelstein, and R. S. Larson, Facilitating Change in Undergraduate STEM: Initial Results from an Interdisciplinary Literature Review, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 131-134 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021235.

Documenting the Conversion from Traditional to Studio Physics Formats at the Colorado School of Mines: Process and Early Results
Patrick B. Kohl , H. Vincent Kuo, and Todd G. Ruskell
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 135-138, doi:10.1063/1.3021236
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The Colorado School of Mines (CSM) has taught its first-semester introductory physics course using a hybrid lecture/Studio Physics format for several years. Over the past year we have converted the second semester of our calculus- based introductory physics course (Physics II) to a Studio Physics format, starting from a traditional lecture-based format. In this paper, we document the early stages of this conversion in order to better understand which features succeed and which do not, and in order to develop a model for switching to Studio that keeps the time and resource investment manageable. We describe the recent history of the Physics II course and of Studio at Mines, discuss the PER-based improvements that we are implementing, and characterize our progress via several metrics, including pre/post Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism (CSEM) scores, Colorado Learning About Science Survey scores (CLASS), solicited student comments, failure rates, and exam scores.

P. B. Kohl, H. V. Kuo, and T. G. Ruskell, Documenting the Conversion from Traditional to Studio Physics Formats at the Colorado School of Mines: Process and Early Results, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 135-138 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021236.

The Persistence of the Gender Gap in Introductory Physics
Lauren E. Kost, Steven J. Pollock, and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 139-142, doi:10.1063/1.3021237
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We previously showed that despite teaching with interactive engagement techniques, the gap in performance between males and females on conceptual learning surveys persisted from pre- to posttest, at our institution. Such findings were counter to previously published work. Our current work analyzes factors that may influence the observed gender gap in our courses. Posttest conceptual assessment data are modeled using both multiple regression and logistic regression analyses to estimate the gender gap in posttest scores after controlling for background factors that vary by gender. We find that at our institution the gender gap persists in interactive physics classes, but is largely due to differences in physics and math preparation and incoming attitudes and beliefs.

L. E. Kost, S. J. Pollock, and N. D. Finkelstein, The Persistence of the Gender Gap in Introductory Physics, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 139-142 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021237.

The Effect of Initial Conditions and Discussion on Students’ Predictions for Interactive Lecture Demonstrations
Jeffrey Marx
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 143-146, doi:10.1063/1.3021238
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Over the past eight years at McDaniel College, students’ Predictions for various Interactive Lecture Demonstrations (ILDs) have improved markedly. One explanation is that students have become increasingly sophisticated in their understanding of kinematics and dynamics. Another possible explanation is that the class as a whole is only slightly more sophisticated, and during the Discussion Phase of the ILD the correct Predication is very successfully transmitted within groups and between groups. The purpose of this paper is to support the proposition of this possible explanation. To begin to address this idea, I present an overview of and results from a preliminary, computer-based simulation of classroom discussion.

J. Marx, The Effect of Initial Conditions and Discussion on Students’ Predictions for Interactive Lecture Demonstrations, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 143-146 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021238.

Identifying Differences in Diagnostic Skills between Physics Students: Developing a Rubric
Andrew J. Mason, Elisheva Cohen, Edit Yerushalmi, and Chandralekha Singh
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 147-150, doi:10.1063/1.3021239
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Expert problem solvers are characterized by continuous evaluation of their progress towards a solution. One characteristic of expertise is self-diagnosis directed towards elaboration of the solvers’ conceptual understanding, knowledge organization or strategic approach. “Self-diagnosis tasks” aim at fostering diagnostic behavior by explicitly requiring students to present diagnosis as part of the activity of reviewing their problem solutions. We have been investigating how introductory physics students perform in such tasks. Developing a robust rubric is essential for objective evaluation of students' self-diagnosis skills. We discuss the development of a grading rubric that takes into account introductory physics students' content knowledge as well as analysis, planning and presentation skills. Using this rubric, we have found the inter-rater reliability to be better than 80%. The rubric can easily be adapted to other problems, as will be discussed in a companion paper.

A. J. Mason, E. Cohen, E. Yerushalmi, and C. Singh, Identifying Differences in Diagnostic Skills between Physics Students: Developing a Rubric, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 147-150 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021239.

Use Of Structure Maps To Facilitate Problem Solving In Algebra-Based Physics
Frances Mateycik, David Jonassen, and N. Sanjay Rebello
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 151-154, doi:10.1063/1.3021240
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In this study we explore the use of expert-designed structure maps by students in an algebra-based physics course and the evolution of these maps based upon students’ reactions and feedback collected over one semester. The participants were trained to use structure maps while solving problems sharing similar deep-structure elements. They met for one hour every week to work on the problems using the maps. We report here on the ways in which students used the structure maps during the interviews, the difficulties faced by students as they attempted to use these maps as well as the feedback offered by students regarding the maps. We also report on how we changed the maps based on feedback from the students and to facilitate their use during problem solving.

F. Mateycik, D. Jonassen, and N. S. Rebello, Use Of Structure Maps To Facilitate Problem Solving In Algebra-Based Physics, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 151-154 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021240.

New Media and Models for Engaging Under-Represented Students in Science
Laurel Mayhew and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 155-158, doi:10.1063/1.3021241
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We describe the University of Colorado Partnerships for Informal Science Education in the Community (PISEC) program in which university students participate in classroom and after school science activities with local precollege children. Across several different formal and informal educational environments, we use new technological tools, such as stop action motion (SAM) movies [1] to engage children so that they may develop an understanding of science through play and “show and tell”. This approach provides a complementary avenue for reaching children who are otherwise underrepresented in science and under-supported in more formal educational settings. We present the model of university community partnership and demonstrate its utility in a case study involving an African American third grade student learning about velocity and acceleration. We describe the University of Colorado Partnerships for Informal Science Education in the Community (PISEC) program in which university students participate in classroom and after school science activities with local precollege children. Across several different formal and informal educational environments, we use new technological tools, such as stop action motion (SAM) movies [1] to engage children so that they may develop an understanding of science through play and “show and tell”. This approach provides a complementary avenue for reaching children who are otherwise underrepresented in science and under-supported in more formal educational settings. We present the model of university community partnership and demonstrate its utility in a case study involving an African American third grade student learning about velocity and acceleration.

L. Mayhew and N. D. Finkelstein, New Media and Models for Engaging Under-Represented Students in Science, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 155-158 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021241.

Examining Student Responses for Meaningful Understanding in the Context of Wavefront Aberrometry
Dyan L. McBride and Dean A. Zollman
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 159-162, doi:10.1063/1.3021242
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We present a qualitative study from group learning and teaching interviews that were conducted as part of ongoing research to examine how students use their physics knowledge in novel situations. The data were analyzed for meaningful understanding using techniques previously presented by Lawson et al. and Nieswandt and Bellomo. Preliminary results indicate that students primarily utilize lower-level concepts and concept links when attempting to construct an understanding of wavefront aberrometry.

D. L. McBride and D. A. Zollman, Examining Student Responses for Meaningful Understanding in the Context of Wavefront Aberrometry, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 159-162 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021242.

An Interdisciplinary Investigation of Student Ability to Connect Particulate and Macroscopic Representations of a Gas
Kereen Monteyne, Barbara L. Gonzalez, and Michael E. Loverude
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 163-166, doi:10.1063/1.3021244
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This interdisciplinary project assessed the extent to which students in general education courses across two departments understood the assumptions of small-particle models and the ways in which these models relate to measurable properties. As part of this project, we embedded conceptually-oriented questions on written assessments in general education courses in physics and chemistry. Questions were drawn from the published literature in chemical and physics education and were developed by the research team. The results of this project provide a baseline measurement of the extent to which a diverse population of students in introductory physical science courses was able to develop and use particulate models to reason about macroscopic observables.

K. Monteyne, B. L. Gonzalez, and M. E. Loverude, An Interdisciplinary Investigation of Student Ability to Connect Particulate and Macroscopic Representations of a Gas, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 163-166 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021244.

How Abstract is Abstract? Layering Meaning in Physics
Noah S. Podolefsky and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 167-170, doi:10.1063/1.3021245
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External representations, including pictures, graphs, text, gestures, and utterances, are key components of all curricular materials in physics. Such representations play a key role in cognitive function, particularly insofar as individuals interpret the meanings of and apply meanings to these representations. We previously proposed a model of how individuals can make meaning of and with external representations through layered analogies and applied this model to learning abstract ideas in physics, i.e. EM waves. We extend this model in two ways. We distinguish individuals’ interpretations of representations, which can be highly variable and fleeting, from the physics community’s agreed upon interpretations, which are more stable and coherent. We describe these two dimensions of representation use: abstraction based on the community consensus of concepts and salience based on readily accessible pieces of knowledge for an individual.

N. S. Podolefsky and N. D. Finkelstein, How Abstract is Abstract? Layering Meaning in Physics, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 167-170 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021245.

Comparing Student Learning with Multiple Research-Based Conceptual Surveys: CSEM and BEMA
Steven J. Pollock
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 171-174, doi:10.1063/1.3021246
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We present results demonstrating similar distributions of student scores, and statistically indistinguishable gains on two popular research-based assessment tools: the Brief Electricity and Magnetism Assessment (BEMA) and the Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism(CSEM). To deepen our understanding of student learning in our course environment and of these assessment tools as measures of student learning, we identify systematic trends and differences in results from these two instruments. We investigate correlations of both pre- and post- conceptual scores with other measures including traditional exam scores and course grades, student background (earlier grades), gender, a pretest of scientific reasoning, and tests of attitudes and beliefs about science and learning science. Overall, for practical purposes, we find the BEMA and CSEM are roughly equivalently useful instruments for measuring student learning in our course.

S. J. Pollock, Comparing Student Learning with Multiple Research-Based Conceptual Surveys: CSEM and BEMA, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 171-174 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021246.

Archiving Student Solutions with Tablet PCs in a Discussion-based Introductory Physics Class
Edward Price and Charles De Leone
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 175-178, doi:10.1063/1.3021247
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Many active learning based physics courses use whiteboards as a space for groups to respond to prompts based on short lab activities, problem solving, or inquiry-oriented activities. Whiteboards are volatile; once erased, the material is lost. Tablet PCs and software such as Ubiquitous Presenter can be used as digital whiteboards in active learning classes. This enables automatic capture and archiving of student work for online review by students, instructors, and researchers. We studied the use of digital whiteboards in an active-learning introductory physics course at California State University, San Marcos. In this paper we examine the archival features of digital whiteboards’, and characterize the use of these features by students and instructors, and explore possible uses for researchers and curriculum developers.

E. Price and C. D. Leone, Archiving Student Solutions with Tablet PCs in a Discussion-based Introductory Physics Class, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 175-178 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021247.

Determining The Various Perspectives And Consensus Within A Classroom Using Q Methodology
Susan Ramlo
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 179-182, doi:10.1063/1.3021248
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Q methodology was developed by PhD physicist and psychologist William Stevenson 73 years ago as a new way of investigating people’s views of any topic. Yet its application has primarily been in the fields of marketing, psychology, and political science. Still, Q offers an opportunity for the physics education research community to determine the perspectives and consensus within a group, such as a classroom, related to topics of interest such as the nature of science and epistemology. This paper presents the basics of using Q methodology with a classroom application as an example and subsequent comparisons of this example’s results to similar studies using qualitative and survey methods.

S. Ramlo, Determining The Various Perspectives And Consensus Within A Classroom Using Q Methodology, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 179-182 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021248.

Toward a Comprehensive Picture of Student Understanding of Force, Velocity, and Acceleration
Rebecca Rosenblatt, Eleanor C. Sayre, and Andrew F. Heckler
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 183-186, doi:10.1063/1.3021249
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Students’ difficulties with conceptual questions about force, velocity, and acceleration have been well documented. However, there has been no single systematic study of student understanding of all paired relations among the concepts of force, velocity, and acceleration. For example, a student who believes an object with a net force on it must be moving might not believe an accelerating object must be moving. In this paper, we describe the development of a test to build a more comprehensive picture of student understanding. We describe modifications to increase the validity of the test by reducing false positives and unwanted inconsistencies. We also report preliminary data suggesting that there are definite patterns in student understanding of the various relations between force, velocity, and acceleration. For example, there are a higher number of students reporting that force and velocity are directionally related then that acceleration and velocity are directionally related.

R. Rosenblatt, E. C. Sayre, and A. F. Heckler, Toward a Comprehensive Picture of Student Understanding of Force, Velocity, and Acceleration, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 183-186 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021249.

Preliminary Study of Impulse-Momentum Diagrams
David Rosengrant and Taha Mzoughi
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 187-190, doi:10.1063/1.3021250
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In this paper we present a new representation to help students learn about momentum, impulse and conservation of momentum which we call an Impulse-Momentum Diagram. We include a description of this diagram as well as examples of how instructors can use them in the classroom. Next we present preliminary quantitative and qualitative data of a study we conducted where students used these representations. Our final analysis shows how students benefited from these representations.

D. Rosengrant and T. Mzoughi, Preliminary Study of Impulse-Momentum Diagrams, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 187-190 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021250.

Physics By Inquiry: Addressing Student Learning and Attitude
Homeyra R. Sadaghiani
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 191-194, doi:10.1063/1.3021251
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In the last decade, the results of Physics Education Research and research-based instructional materials have been disseminated from traditional research universities to a wide variety of colleges and universities. Nevertheless, the ways in which different institutions implement these materials depend on their students and the institutional context. Even with the widespread use of these curriculums, the research documenting the effectiveness of these materials with different student populations is scarce. This paper describes the challenges associated with implementing Physics by Inquiry at California State Polytechnic University Pomona and confirms its effectiveness in promoting student conceptual knowledge of physics. However, despite the positive effect on student learning, the evidence suggests that the students did not appreciate the self-discovery aspect of the inquiry approach and characterized the learning process as difficult and unpleasant.

H. R. Sadaghiani, Physics By Inquiry: Addressing Student Learning and Attitude, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 191-194 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021251.

Evolution of Student Knowledge in a Traditional Introductory Classroom
Eleanor C. Sayre and Andrew F. Heckler
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 195-198, doi:10.1063/1.3021252
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In the physics education research community, a common format for evaluation is pre- and post-tests. In this study, we collect student test data many times throughout a course, allowing for the measurement of the changes of student knowledge with a time resolution on the order of a few days. The data cover the first two quarters (mechanics, E&M) of a calculus-based introductory sequence populated primarily by first- and second-year engineering majors. To avoid the possibility of test-retest effects, separate and quasi-random subpopulations of students are evaluated every week of the quarter on a variety of tasks. Unsurprisingly for a traditional introductory course, there is little change on many conceptual questions. However, the data suggest that some student ideas peak and decay rapidly during a quarter, a pattern consistent with memory research yet unmeasurable by pre-/post-testing.

E. C. Sayre and A. F. Heckler, Evolution of Student Knowledge in a Traditional Introductory Classroom, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 195-198 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021252.

Coupling Conceptual and Quantitative Problems to Develop Expertise in Introductory Physics Students
Chandralekha Singh
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 199-202, doi:10.1063/1.3021253
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We discuss the effect of administering conceptual and quantitative isomorphic problem pairs (CQIPP) back to back vs. asking students to solve only one of the problems in the CQIPP in introductory physics courses. Students who answered both questions in a CQIPP often performed better on the conceptual questions than those who answered the corresponding conceptual questions only. Although students often took advantage of the quantitative counterpart to answer a conceptual question of a CQIPP correctly, when only given the conceptual question, students seldom tried to convert it into a quantitative question, solve it and then reason about the solution conceptually. Even in individual interviews, when students who were only given conceptual questions had difficulty and the interviewer explicitly encouraged them to convert the conceptual question into the corresponding quantitative problem by choosing appropriate variables, a majority of students were reluctant and preferred to guess the answer to the conceptual question based upon their gut feeling.

C. Singh, Coupling Conceptual and Quantitative Problems to Develop Expertise in Introductory Physics Students, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 199-202 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021253.

Enhancing Cognitive Development through Physics Problem Solving: A Taxonomy of Introductory Physics Problems
Raluca E. Teodorescu, Cornelius Bennhold, and Gerald Feldman
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 203-206, doi:10.1063/1.3021255
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As part of an ongoing project to reform the introductory algebra-based physics courses at George Washington University, we are developing a taxonomy of introductory physics problems (TIPP) that establishes a connection between the physics problems, the type of physics knowledge they involve and the cognitive processes they develop in students. This taxonomy will provide, besides an algorithm for classifying physics problems, an organized and relatively easy-to-use database of physics problems that contains the majority of already created text-based and research-based types of problems. In addition, this taxonomy will reveal the kinds of physics problems that are still lacking and that are found to be necessary to enhance students’ cognitive development. For this reason, we expect it to be a valuable teaching resource for physics instructors which will enable them to select the problems used in their curricular materials based on the specifics of their students’ cognition and the learning objectives they want to achieve in their class. This organization scheme will also provide a framework for creating physics-related assessments with a cognitive component.

R. E. Teodorescu, C. Bennhold, and G. Feldman, Enhancing Cognitive Development through Physics Problem Solving: A Taxonomy of Introductory Physics Problems, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 203-206 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021255.

Institutionalizing Reform in Introductory Physics
Chandra Turpen and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 207-210, doi:10.1063/1.3021256
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We examine how the University of Colorado at Boulder has created the sustained the use of a research-based curriculum in the introductory calculus-based physics sequence, despite the significant increases in cost and time commitment. The adoption of the University of Washington Tutorials in Introductory Physics curriculum required significant pedagogical shifts in the students’ role, educator’s role, and student-educator interactions. We discuss how the wide-spread adoption of this curriculum was achieved at our institution. We analyze the commitment of funding and resources over time from external agencies, institutional levels, and the physics department. We then examine the reasons given by six individual faculty members for adopting the curriculum and find that key reasons for adoption include: the recognition that the old mode of lecturing in recitation was not effective, locally collected data on student learning was compelling, specific aspects of the Tutorials curriculum were convincing and the availability of additional resources for the implementation was persuasive.

C. Turpen and N. D. Finkelstein, Institutionalizing Reform in Introductory Physics, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 207-210 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021256.

Reasoning Modes, Knowledge Elements and Their Interplay in Optics Problem-Solving
Adriana Undreiu, David Schuster, and Betty Adams
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 211-214, doi:10.1063/1.3021257
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We have investigated how students tackle problems in geometric optics involving ray construction, to try to understand the nature and origin of the surprisingly wide variety of students’ solution attempts. We find that students use various reasoning modes and knowledge elements in conjunction. Their thinking may usefully be described as an interplay of principle-based and case-based reasoning, drawing on a knowledge mixture of basic principles, procedures, specific cases and recalled result features. Even though we usually present solutions and teach problem solving as a systematic application of principles, real cognition is more complex. Associative thinking in terms of prior cases seems to be a strong natural tendency of both novices and experts. However, novices are not easily able to discriminate the specific from the general, and tend to lack epistemic awareness and metacognitive skills. Our research findings will be illustrated by examples of student thinking on a basic reflection problem. Implications for learning and instruction are discussed.

A. Undreiu, D. Schuster, and B. Adams, Reasoning Modes, Knowledge Elements and Their Interplay in Optics Problem-Solving, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 211-214 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021257.

Interactive Problem Solving Tutorials Through Visual Programming
Lucian Undreiu, David Schuster, and Adriana Undreiu
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 215-218, doi:10.1063/1.3021258
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We have used LabVIEW visual programming to build an interactive tutorial to promote conceptual understanding in physics problem solving. This programming environment is able to offer a web-accessible problem solving experience that enables students to work at their own pace and receive feedback. Intuitive graphical symbols, modular structures and the ability to create templates are just a few of the advantages this software has to offer. The architecture of an application can be designed in a way that allows instructors with little knowledge of LabVIEW to easily personalize it. Both the physics solution and the interactive pedagogy can be visually programmed in LabVIEW. Our physics pedagogy approach is that of cognitive apprenticeship, in that the tutorial guides students to develop conceptual understanding and physical insight into phenomena, rather than purely formula-based solutions. We demonstrate how this model is reflected in the design and programming of the interactive tutorials.

L. Undreiu, D. Schuster, and A. Undreiu, Interactive Problem Solving Tutorials Through Visual Programming, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 215-218 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021258.

Network Analysis of Social Interactions in Laboratories
Aaron R. Warren
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 219-222, doi:10.1063/1.3021259
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An ongoing study of the structure, function, and evolution of individual activity within lab groups is introduced. This study makes extensive use of techniques from social network analysis. These techniques allow rigorous quantification and hypothesis-testing of the interactions inherent in social groups and the impact of intrinsic characteristics of individuals on their social interactions. As these techniques are novel within the physics education research community, an overview of their meaning and application is given. We then present preliminary results from videotaped laboratory groups involving mixed populations of traditional and non-traditional students in an introductory algebra-based physics course.

A. R. Warren, Network Analysis of Social Interactions in Laboratories, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 219-222 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021259.

Examining the Effectiveness of Clickers on Promoting Learning by Tracking the Evolution of Student Responses
Erica Watkins and Mel Sabella
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 223-226, doi:10.1063/1.3021260
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Personal Response Systems or clickers have been used for a number of years to help create active learning environments in the lecture classroom. Researchers have shown that the use of clickers stimulate student-student and student-lecturer interaction. In addition, students value the use of clickers and feel that these devices contribute to their understanding. Even though clickers have been used for quite some time, there are relatively few research studies focusing on how student knowledge is enhanced through the use of clickers. To contribute to this body of research, we compared student responses on exam questions to similar or identical clicker questions that were presented during lecture. The analysis of the responses to both clicker and exam questions show how individual student knowledge evolves during instruction. Although there is evidence of improvement during lecture, many students were unable to respond correctly when the questions were posed on the exam, despite the similarity in the questions.

E. Watkins and M. Sabella, Examining the Effectiveness of Clickers on Promoting Learning by Tracking the Evolution of Student Responses, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 223-226 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021260.

Impact of the FIU PhysTEC Reform of Introductory Physics Labs
Leanne Wells, Romona Valenzuela, Eric Brewe, Laird H. Kramer, George O'Brien, and Edgardo Zamalloa
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 227-230, doi:10.1063/1.3021261
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We report results from a study of pre and post assessments of students enrolled in reformed and non-reformed introductory physics laboratories. This study assesses the impact of Florida International University’s (FIU) PhysTEC (Physics Teacher Education Coalition) reform of introductory physics labs. Prospective pre-service teachers were trained and placed in six lab sections serving as undergraduate Learning Assistants (LAs) and implementing tutorial-based curriculum. LAs facilitated epistemological discussions designed to challenge and then refine student understanding of physics concepts. Students completed the Force Concept Inventory (FCI), the Maryland Physics Expectation Survey (MPEX 2), and common exam questions embedded in the exams for their physics classes. We find significant differences in normalized gain on the FCI and common exam questions in favor of students in the reformed labs. There was no significant difference in pre and post MPEX 2 scores for reformed lab students, generally agreed to be a positive outcome.

L. Wells, R. Valenzuela, E. Brewe, L. H. Kramer, G. O'Brien, and E. Zamalloa, Impact of the FIU PhysTEC Reform of Introductory Physics Labs, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 227-230 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021261.

Evaluation of Instruction Using the Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism in Mexico
Genaro Zavala and Hugo Alarcon
AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, pp. 231-234, doi:10.1063/1.3021262
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A modified version of the Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism (CSEM) is regularly administered to students at the beginning of the semester as a pretest and at the end of the semester as a post-test in a large private university in Mexico. About 500 students each semester, from different engineering majors, take electricity and magnetism in the introductory level, divided into sections of 30-40 students so there are several different instructors, both full-time and part-time. We report on the analysis of the CSEM data using concentration analysis for the purpose of evaluation of instruction. The results showed that students' learning varies with respect to instructor and to CSEM concept area. Students have large learning gains in some concept areas but small learning gains in others. Deeper analysis of a concept area showed that some instructors may tend to strengthen some misconceptions that students have. The analysis can be used to give feedback to instructors for the purpose of improving instruction.

G. Zavala and H. Alarcon, Evaluation of Instruction Using the Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism in Mexico, 2008 PERC Proceedings [Edmonton, CA, July 23-24, 2008], edited by C. Henderson, M. Sabella, and L. Hsu [AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, 231-234 (2008)], doi:10.1063/1.3021262.