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2012 PERC Proceedings

Conference Information

Dates: August 1-2, 2012
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Theme: Cultural perspectives on learners' performance & identity in physics

Proceedings Information

Editors: Paula V. Engelhardt, Alice D. Churukian, and N. Sanjay Rebello
Published: January 24, 2013
AIP URL: AIP Conference Proceedings 1513
Info: Single book; 464 pages; 8.5 X 11 inches, double column
ISBN: 978-0-7354-1134-0
ISSN (Print): 0094-243X
ISSN (Online): 1551-7616

The theme of the 2012 PER conference was “Cultural perspectives on learners’ performance and identity in physics.” There were roughly 345 attendees who participated in talks, poster sessions, workshops, and roundtable discussions. In addition to the papers addressing the theme, there were also papers on a variety of topics in physics education research providing an annual snapshot of the field.

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
Preface
Invited Papers (10)
Peer-reviewed Papers (100)
Back Matter

INVITED MANUSCRIPTS (10)

First Author Index

Albanna · Belleau · Cochran · Gire · Langbeheim · Lindell · Miller · Sabella · Samuels · Weatherford

Invited Papers

Building Classroom and Organizational Structure Around Positive Cultural Values
Badr F. Albanna, Joel C. Corbo, Dimitri R. Dounas-Frazer, Angela Little, and Anna M. Zaniewski
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 7-10, doi:10.1063/1.4789638
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The Compass Project is a self-formed group of graduate and undergraduate students in the physical sciences at UC Berkeley. Our goals are to improve undergraduate physics education, provide opportunities for professional development, and increase retention of students–especially those from populations typically underrepresented in the physical sciences. Compass fosters a diverse, collaborative student community by providing a wide range of services, including a summer program and fall/spring seminar courses. We describe Compass’s cultural values, discuss how community members are introduced to and help shape those values, and demonstrate how a single set of values informs the structure of both our classroom and organization.We emphasize that all members of the Compass community participate in, and benefit from, our cultural values, regardless of status as student, teacher, or otherwise.

B. F. Albanna, J. C. Corbo, D. R. Dounas-Frazer, A. Little, and A. M. Zaniewski, Building Classroom and Organizational Structure Around Positive Cultural Values, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 7-10 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789638.

Critical Classroom Structures for Empowering Students to Participate in Science Discourse
Shelly N. Belleau and Valerie K. Otero
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 11-14, doi:10.1063/1.4789639
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We compared contextual characteristics that impacted the nature and substance of “summarizing discussions” in a physics and a chemistry classroom in an Hispanic-serving urban high school. Specifically, we evaluated structural components of curricula and classrooms necessary to develop a culture of critical inquiry. Using the Physics and Everyday Thinking (PET) curriculum in the physics course, we found that students demonstrated critical thinking, critical evaluation, and used laboratory evidence to support ideas in whole-class summarizing discussions. We then implemented a model similar to PET in the chemistry course. However, chemistry students’ statements lacked evidence, opposition and critical evaluation, and required greater teacher facilitation. We hypothesize that the designed laboratories and the research basis of PET influenced the extent to which physics students verbalized substantive scientific thought, authentic appeals to evidence, and a sense of empowerment to participate in the classroom scientific community.

S. N. Belleau and V. K. Otero, Critical Classroom Structures for Empowering Students to Participate in Science Discourse, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 11-14 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789639.

A framework for assessing learning assistants' reflective writing assignments
Geraldine L. Cochran, David T. Brookes, and Laird H. Kramer
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 15-18, doi:10.1063/1.4789640
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At Florida International University we have implemented a learning assistant (LA) program based on the Colorado Learning Assistant Model. As a part of this program, students take a course on science and mathematics education theory and practice in which they are required to submit written reflections. Past anecdotal evidence suggests that students in the LAP at Florida International University are using these writing assignments to reflect on their teaching experiences. The purpose of this study was to a) determine if the writing assignments submitted give evidence that our students are engaging in reflection and b) determine if our students are engaging in deep levels of reflection. In this investigation, we relied on a rubric based on Hatton and Smith’s (1995) “Criteria for the Recognition of Evidence for Different Types of Reflective Writing.” In this paper, we document a) a system for characterizing student reflections and b) how we give them feedback.

G. L. Cochran, D. T. Brookes, and L. H. Kramer, A framework for assessing learning assistants' reflective writing assignments, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 15-18 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789640.

Supporting and sustaining the holistic development of students into practicing physicists
Elizabeth Gire, Mary Bridget Kustusch, and Corinne A. Manogue
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 19-22, doi:10.1063/1.4789641
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This PERC workshop leveraged the broad expertise inherent in the PERC community to begin structuring a research agenda that might guide future efforts to support the holistic development of students into practicing physicists. In small groups, participants identified and discussed those concepts, habits of mind, skills, and representations that thread through the sub-disciplines of upper-division physics. Then separate small groups and later the whole group discussed the following questions: 1) What are the characteristics of curricula that scaffold student acquisition of these concepts, habits of mind, skills, and representations throughout the upper-division? 2) What aspects of institutional culture might facilitate the development, support, and sustainability of these curricula? 3) What models of research are currently available to address the questions above and where are new models needed? The conclusions of this workshop are summarized here for the benefit of the entire community.

E. Gire, M. B. Kustusch, and C. A. Manogue, Supporting and sustaining the holistic development of students into practicing physicists, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 19-22 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789641.

Design guidelines for adapting scientific research articles: An example from an introductory level, interdisciplinary program on soft matter
Elon Langbeheim, Samuel A. Safran, and Edit Yerushalmi
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 23-26, doi:10.1063/1.4789642
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We present design guidelines for using Adapted Primary Literature (APL) as part of current interdisciplinary topics to introductory physics students. APL is a text genre that allows students to comprehend a scientific article, while maintaining the core features of the communication among scientists, thus representing an authentic scientific discourse. We describe the adaptation of a research paper by Nobel Laureate Paul Flory on phase equilibrium in polymer-solvent mixtures that was presented to high school students in a project-based unit on soft matter. The adaptation followed two design strategies: a) Making explicit the interplay between the theory and experiment. b) Re-structuring the text to map the theory onto the students' prior knowledge. Specifically, we map the theory of polymer-solvent systems onto a model for binary mixtures of small molecules of equal size that was already studied in class.

E. Langbeheim, S. A. Safran, and E. Yerushalmi, Design guidelines for adapting scientific research articles: An example from an introductory level, interdisciplinary program on soft matter, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 23-26 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789642.

Establishing reliability and validity: An ongoing process
Rebecca S. Lindell and Lin Ding
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 27-29, doi:10.1063/1.4789643
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Establishing validity and reliability is a necessary step in any conceptual assessment instrument. But once validity and reliability are established, it is not the end of the story. Reliability and validity are not an inherent property of the assessment instrument or its individual items, but something that must be reestablished with any changes of the instrument items, order, administration techniques or population being studied. In this paper we will discuss how validity and reliability can be established or reestablished. We will also discuss common instances in instrument development and use that requires reliability and validity to be reestablished.

R. S. Lindell and L. Ding, Establishing reliability and validity: An ongoing process, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 27-29 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789643.

Initial Replication Results Of Learning Assistants In University Physics
Paul M. Miller, Jeffrey S. Carver , Aniketa Shinde, Betsy Ratcliff, and Ashley N. Murphy
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 30-33, doi:10.1063/1.4789644
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West Virginia University recently began a learning assistants (LA) program in its introductory calculus-based physics course targeted at increasing course effectiveness and recruiting future STEM teachers. The LA program was modeled after the Colorado Learning Assistant model. This paper describes the setting and initial results from the implementation including changes in learning gains (measured with the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation) and attitudes (measured with the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey). These data are combined with demographic data about the individual students and compared to baseline data collected prior to the implementation of the LA program.

P. M. Miller, J. S. Carver, A. Shinde, B. Ratcliff, and A. N. Murphy, Initial Replication Results Of Learning Assistants In University Physics, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 30-33 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789644.

Cultural toolkits in the urban physics learning community
Mel Sabella and Andrea Van Duzor
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 34-37
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Chicago State University has been involved in curriculum development, teacher preparation, and education research that targets urban physics learners on the south-side of Chicago. Through this work we have begun to recognize specific cultural norms that our students bring to the classroom. These cultural norms appear to help our students establish strong communities in classes. Because of the homogeneity of our population, with most students coming from within a five-mile radius of our campus, there are a set of shared experiences that help establish a level of trust and sense of community that manifests itself in the science learning environment. Aspects of community play a major role in the preparation of teachers. In this paper we discuss our understanding of CSU student culture, its importance in the development of community, and its role in the preparation of future physics teachers.

M. Sabella and A. V. Duzor, Cultural toolkits in the urban physics learning community, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 34-37 (2013)].

Instructional changes based on cogenerative physics reform
Natan Samuels, Eric Brewe, and Laird H. Kramer
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 38-41, doi:10.1063/1.4789646
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We describe changes in a physics teacher's pedagogy and cultural awareness that resulted from her students' involvement in reforming their classroom. For this case study, we examined a veteran high school teacher's semester-long use of CMPLE (the Cogenerative Mediation Process for Learning Environments) in her Modeling Instruction classroom. CMPLE is a formative intervention designed to help students and instructors collaborate to change classroom dynamics, based on how closely the environment matches their learning preferences. Analysis of classroom videos, interviews, and other artifacts indicates that adapting the environment to align with the preferences of that shared culture affected the instructor in complex ways. We will trace her teaching practices and her self-described awareness of the culture of learning, to highlight notable changes. The teacher espoused deeper understanding of her students' physics learning experience, which she gained from including students in responding to their own individual and collective learning preferences.

N. Samuels, E. Brewe, and L. H. Kramer, Instructional changes based on cogenerative physics reform, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 38-41 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789646.

Student predictions of functional but incomplete example programs in introductory calculus-based physics
Shawn Weatherford and Ruth Chabay
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 42-45, doi:10.1063/1.4789647
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Computational activities for Matter & Interactions were redesigned to focus student attention to the interpretation and prediction of functional, but incomplete example programs before modifying the program with additional program code. Evaluation of the instructional activities in experimental lab settings reveals student predictions that are based on the expected dynamics of real-world systems in addition to the information gathered through the interpretation of the example program code.

S. Weatherford and R. Chabay, Student predictions of functional but incomplete example programs in introductory calculus-based physics, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 42-45 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789647.

PEER REVIEWED MANUSCRIPTS (100)

Note: Only 84 of the 100 peer-reviewed articles published in the 2012 PERC Proceedings are currently available for free download in PER-Central. The complete set of articles is available from AIP Conference Proceedings 1513.

First Author Index

Aiken · Atkins · Baily · Barniol · Barrera-Garrido · Barthelemy · Beatty · Bergner · Bonham · Brookes · Chase · Chini · Clark · Close · Daane · Ding · Dreyfus · Franklin · Garza · Geller · Gire · Goszewski · Hazelton · Henderson · Heron · Hinko · Hull · Hutchison · Irving · John · Jones · Kaczynski · Khan · Khatri · Ko · Kryjevskaia · Kuo · Kustusch · Lasry · Li · Lin · Loverude · Lung · Madsen · Mahadeo · Maries · McCaskey · Nissen · Pollock · Potter · Price · Rebello · Richards · Ridenour · Rodriguez · Ross · Rouinfar · Sadaghiani · Salter · Sawtelle · Scaife · Schmidt · Semak · Singh · Smith · Southey · Spike · Stewart · Stout · Suarez · Van Dusen · Wilcox · Wittmann · Wolf · Wulf · Xu · Zavala · Zwickl

Peer-reviewed Papers

Understanding student computational thinking with computational modeling
John M. Aiken, Marcos D. Caballero, Scott S. Douglas, John B. Burk, Erin M. Scanlon, Brian D. Thoms, and Michael F. Schatz
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 46-49, doi:10.1063/1.4789648
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Recently, the National Research Council's framework for next generation science standards highlighted "computational thinking" as one of its "fundamental practices". 9th Grade students taking a physics course that employed the Arizona State University's Modeling Instruction curriculum were taught to construct computational models of physical systems. Student computational thinking was assessed using a proctored programming assignment, written essay, and a series of think-aloud interviews, where the students produced and discussed a computational model of a baseball in motion via a high-level programming environment (VPython). Roughly a third of the students in the study were successful in completing the programming assignment. Student success on this assessment was tied to how students synthesized their knowledge of physics and computation. On the essay and interview assessments, students displayed unique views of the relationship between force and motion; those who spoke of this relationship in causal (rather than observational) terms tended to have more success in the programming exercise.

J. M. Aiken, M. D. Caballero, S. S. Douglas, J. B. Burk, E. M. Scanlon, B. D. Thoms, and M. F. Schatz, Understanding student computational thinking with computational modeling, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 46-49 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789648.

Using Scientists' Notebooks to Foster Authentic Scientific Practices
Leslie J. Atkins and Irene Y. Salter
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 50-53, doi:10.1063/1.4789649
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Scientific Inquiry is an introductory undergraduate course for preservice elementary teachers that aims to engage students in authentic scientific practices where these practices are not viewed as a mere course requirement but are understood as essential practices for constructing knowledge in the discipline. Many of these practices (e.g., representational practices, control-of-variables) evolve over the course of the semester as we work to answer complex questions. However, we hoped to have students- from the start of the term- keep detailed scientific notebooks. We describe an activity designed to foster practices related to the use of scientific notebooks, detail how we use images from scientists’ notebooks, discuss the rubrics students create for their own notebooks, and share outcomes, including images of students’ notebooks and students' reactions to the activity.

L. J. Atkins and I. Y. Salter, Using Scientists' Notebooks to Foster Authentic Scientific Practices, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 50-53 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789649.

Research-Based Course Materials and Assessments for Upper-Division Electrodynamics (E&M II)
Charles Baily, Michael Dubson, and Steven J. Pollock
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 54-57, doi:10.1063/1.4789650
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Favorable outcomes from ongoing research at the University of Colorado Boulder on student learning in junior-level electrostatics (E&M I) have led us to extend this work to upper-division electrodynamics (E&M II). We describe here our development of a set of research-based instructional materials designed to actively engage students during lecture (including clicker questions and other in-class activities); and an instrument for assessing whether our faculty-consensus learning goals are being met. We also discuss preliminary results from several recent implementations of our transformed curriculum, plans for the dissemination and further refinement of these materials, and offer some insights into student difficulties in advanced undergraduate electromagnetism.

C. Baily, M. Dubson, and S. J. Pollock, Research-Based Course Materials and Assessments for Upper-Division Electrodynamics (E&M II), 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 54-57 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789650.

Students' Difficulties in Interpreting the Torque Vector in a Physical Situation
Pablo Barniol, Genaro Zavala, and Carlos Hinojosa
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 58-61, doi:10.1063/1.4789651
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In this article we investigate students’ difficulties in interpreting the torque vector in a physical situation. To identify these difficulties, we carried out task-based interviews with undergraduate physics majors completing a junior level course in mechanics. In the task, we presented a drawing of a beam that is initially at equilibrium over a fulcrum. Later, a weight is hung from the left side. We detected an alternative conception in which students thought that the left side of the beam and the weight would have additional motion in the direction of the torque vector. To quantify students having this alternative conception, we designed and administered a multiple-choice question to undergraduate physics majors completing a sophomore-level modern physics course. We found that 18% of the students had this conception. Based on these results, we present some suggestions for instruction of the torque vector concept.

P. Barniol, G. Zavala, and C. Hinojosa, Students' Difficulties in Interpreting the Torque Vector in a Physical Situation, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 58-61 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789651.

Introduction of Studio Physics Teaching in Panama
Azael Barrera-Garrido
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 62-65, doi:10.1063/1.4789652
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Physics Studio teaching was recently introduced at an international and multicultural academic program of a U.S. university in Panama. The results of introducing and implementing studio-style teaching on the conceptual understanding of calculus-based introductory physics have been measured by comparing before and during studio implementation. The research was carried on over the last five years in different semesters. The measurement tool was the Force Concept Inventory. The initial learning stage of the incoming diverse students has been found to be at a significantly lower level than generally reported in the U.S. The normalized gain in conceptual understanding was significantly larger than in the former traditional system, and has become consistent in the last semesters. Multicultural aspects that may affect the entry level and performance enhancement are discussed.

A. Barrera-Garrido, Introduction of Studio Physics Teaching in Panama, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 62-65 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789652.

The Graduate Research Field Choice of Women in Academic Physics and Astronomy: A Pilot Study
Ramón S. Barthelemy, Megan L. Grunert, and Charles R. Henderson
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 66-69, doi:10.1063/1.4789653
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The low representation of women in physics is apparent at the undergraduate level through faculty positions. However, when looking at the percentage of PhD women graduates in the closely related field astronomy (40%) and women PhDs in physics education research (30%), it is found that those areas have higher representations of women compared to women physics PhD graduates (18%). This study seeks to understand the research subfield choice of women in academic physics and astronomy at large US research universities through in-depth interviews and a grounded theory analytical approach. Though preliminary results have not shown why women chose their graduate research field, they have shown that positive pre-college experiences are bringing these women to physics, while supportive advisors and collaboration amongst students are encouraging these women to persist.

R. S. Barthelemy, M. L. Grunert, and C. R. Henderson, The Graduate Research Field Choice of Women in Academic Physics and Astronomy: A Pilot Study, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 66-69 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789653.

Improving Physics Instruction by Analyzing Video Games
Ian D. Beatty
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 70-73, doi:10.1063/1.4789654
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Video games can be very powerful teaching systems, and game designers have become adept at optimizing player engagement while scaffolding development of complex skills and situated knowledge. One implication is that we might create games to teach physics. Another, which I explore here, is that we might learn to improve classroom physics instruction by studying effective games. James Gee, in his book What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (2007), articulates 36 principles that make good video games highly effective as learning environments. In this theoretical work, I identify 16 themes running through Gee's principles, and explore how these themes and Gee’s principles could be applied to the design of an on-campus physics course. I argue that the process pushes us to confront aspects of learning that physics instructors and even physics education researchers generally neglect, and suggest some novel ideas for course design.

I. D. Beatty, Improving Physics Instruction by Analyzing Video Games, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 70-73 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789654.

Multidimensional Student Skills with Collaborative Filtering
Yoav Bergner, Saif Rayyan, Daniel T. Seaton, and David E. Pritchard
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 74-77, doi:10.1063/1.4789655
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Despite the fact that a physics course typically culminates in one final grade for the student, many instructors and researchers believe that there are multiple skills that students acquire to achieve mastery. Assessment validation and data analysis in general may thus benefit from extension to multidimensional ability. This paper introduces an approach for model determination and dimensionality analysis using collaborative filtering (CF), which is related to factor analysis and item response theory (IRT). Model selection is guided by machine learning perspectives, seeking to maximize the accuracy in predicting which students will answer which items correctly. We apply the CF to response data for the Mechanics Baseline Test and combine the results with prior analysis using unidimensional IRT.

Y. Bergner, S. Rayyan, D. T. Seaton, and D. E. Pritchard, Multidimensional Student Skills with Collaborative Filtering, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 74-77 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789655.

Evaluation of a Multiple Goal Revision of a Physics Laboratory
Scott W. Bonham, Doug L. Harper, and Lance Pauley
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 82-85, doi:10.1063/1.4789657
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This paper reports on the revision of the University Physics laboratory at Western Kentucky University. Multiple learning objectives were negotiated among faculty, and a curriculum was developed to address all of them. A full pilot was run in Spring 2012 with three experimental sections and two control sections. Data was collected using the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation, a self-efficacy survey, and performance on the laboratory final. Data from the pilot shows gains in conceptual understanding on certain topics, differences in a few laboratory skills, and improvement in technical writing ability as measured by both a writing sample and student perception.

S. W. Bonham, D. L. Harper, and L. Pauley, Evaluation of a Multiple Goal Revision of a Physics Laboratory, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 82-85 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789657.

Student Interactions Leading to Learning and Transfer: A Participationist Perspective
David T. Brookes, Alexander Moncion, and Yuhfen Lin
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 86-89, doi:10.1063/1.4789658
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At Florida International University we have been experimenting with a novel exam format. We have been giving our introductory physics students a group exam followed by an individual exam that contains transfer questions related to the group exam. The group exam requires students to work together on a difficult new problem. This format reflects one of our primary learning goals for our students: to be able to learn physics on their own. Videos of the group exam reveal that students are highly collaborative and engage in productive learning activities; such as, sense-making and constructing new representations. The question addressed in this paper is: Is students’ participation in the group exam related to their ability to transfer their knowledge to the embedded questions? We present analysis that shows that students’ ability to transfer their knowledge is related to how much they participate and more subtly, how they participate in sense-making and representational activities.

D. T. Brookes, A. Moncion, and Y. Lin, Student Interactions Leading to Learning and Transfer: A Participationist Perspective, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 86-89 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789658.

Evidence of Embodied Cognition Via Speech and Gesture Complementarity
Evan A. Chase and Michael C. Wittmann
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 94-97, doi:10.1063/1.4789660
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We are studying how students talk and gesture about physics problems involving directionality. Students discussing physics use more than words and equations; gestures are also a meaningful element of their thinking. Data come from one-on-one interviews in which students were asked to gesture about the sign and direction of velocity, acceleration, and other quantities. Specific contexts are a ball toss in the presence and absence of air resistance, including situations where the ball starts at greater than terminal velocity. Students show an aptitude for representing up to 6 characteristics of the ball with 2 hands. They switch quickly while talking about velocity, acceleration, and the different forces, frequently representing more than one quantity using a single hand. We believe that much of their thinking resides in their hands, and that their gestures complement their speech, as indicated by moments when speech and gesture represent different quantities.

E. A. Chase and M. C. Wittmann, Evidence of Embodied Cognition Via Speech and Gesture Complementarity, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 94-97 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789660.

Alignment of TAs' Beliefs with Practice and Student Perception
Jacquelyn J. Chini and Ahlam Al-Rawi
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 98-101, doi:10.1063/1.4789661
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Graduate teaching assistants (TAs) play an important role in introductory physics courses, particularly in large enrollment courses where the TA may be viewed as more approachable and accessible than the lecture instructor. Thus, while TAs may still be in the process of developing their views on teaching physics, their practices directly influence a large number of introductory students. As the first steps in reforming our introductory courses and TA training program, we collected multiple types of data on TAs teaching in traditional algebra-based physics laboratories. Drawing on prior work on TAs' pedagogical knowledge, we explore how the beliefs expressed by TAs in interviews align with their practices during a laboratory video-taped mid-semester. Additionally, we explore how both the TAs' expressed beliefs and practices align with students' responses to an end-of-semester TA evaluation survey.

J. J. Chini and A. Al-Rawi, Alignment of TAs' Beliefs with Practice and Student Perception, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 98-101 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789661.

Comparing Student Conceptual Understanding of Thermodynamics in Physics and Engineering
Jessica W. Clark, John R. Thompson, and Donald B. Mountcastle
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 102-105, doi:10.1063/1.4789662
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Thermodynamics is a core part of curricula in physics and many engineering fields. Despite the apparent similarity in coverage, individual courses in each discipline have distinct emphases and applications. Physics education researchers have identified student difficulties with concepts such as heat, temperature, and entropy as well as with larger grain-sized ideas such as state variables, path-dependent processes, etc. Engineering education research has corroborated some of these findings and has identified additional difficulties unique to engineering contexts such as confusion between steady-state and equilibrium processes. We are beginning a project that provides an opportunity to expand the interdisciplinary research on conceptual understanding in thermodynamics. This project has two goals: first, determine the overlapping content and concepts across the disciplines; second, compare conceptual understanding between these groups using existing conceptual questions from PER and EER. We present a review of PER and EER literature in thermodynamics and highlight some concepts that we will investigate.

J. W. Clark, J. R. Thompson, and D. B. Mountcastle, Comparing Student Conceptual Understanding of Thermodynamics in Physics and Engineering, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 102-105 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789662.

Understanding the learning assistant experience with physics identity
Eleanor W. Close, Hunter G. Close, and David Donnelly
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 106-109
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Learning Assistants (LAs) have been shown to have better conceptual understanding and more favorable beliefs about science than non-LAs, and are more likely to choose a career in K-12 science teaching [1]. We propose that connections between elements of identity, persistence, and participation in an LA program can be explained using the concept of the community of practice and its intimate relationship to identity [2]. In separate work, Hazari et al. found that physics identity was highly correlated to expressed career plans in physics [3]. We hypothesize that a thriving LA program has many features of a well-functioning community of practice and contributes to all four elements of physics identity: personal interest, student performance, competence, and recognition by others. We explore how this analysis of the LA experience might shape decisions and influence outcomes of adoption and adaptations of the LA model.

E. W. Close, H. G. Close, and D. Donnelly, Understanding the learning assistant experience with physics identity, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 106-109 (2013)].

Nesting in graphical representations in physics
Hunter G. Close, Eleanor W. Close, and David Donnelly
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 110-113, doi:10.1063/1.4789664
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We develop a theoretical model for understanding one way, “nesting,” that space is used in graphics from within and outside physics. Nesting can be used to increase a graphic’s capacity for displaying several dimensions of information, beyond the two dimensions afforded by a flat page. We use the model of nesting to analyze previously observed student difficulties with electromagnetic waves, to predict how physics students would interact with certain graphics, and to generate new multivariate graphics in physics for instruction and for research on student thinking. Finally we apply the nesting model to explain the multidimensionality of certain kinds of gestures in physics education.

H. G. Close, E. W. Close, and D. Donnelly, Nesting in graphical representations in physics, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 110-113 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789664.

Conserving energy in physics and society: Creating an integrated model of energy and the second law of thermodynamics
Abigail R. Daane, Stamatis Vokos, and Rachel E. Scherr
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 114-117, doi:10.1063/1.4789665
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The second law of thermodynamics is typically not a central focus either in introductory university physics textbooks or in national standards for secondary education. However, the second law is a key part of a strong conceptual model of energy, especially for connecting energy conservation to energy degradation and the irreversibility of processes. We present the beginnings of a conceptual model of the second law as it relates to energy, with the aim of creating models and representations that link energy degradation, the second law, and entropy in a meaningful way for learners analyzing real-life energy scenarios. Our goal is to develop tools for use with elementary and secondary teachers and secondary and university students.

A. R. Daane, S. Vokos, and R. E. Scherr, Conserving energy in physics and society: Creating an integrated model of energy and the second law of thermodynamics, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 114-117 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789665.

A comparative study of middle school and high school students’ views about physics and learning physics
Lin Ding
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 118-121, doi:10.1063/1.4789666
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Previous studies of student epistemological beliefs about physics and learning physics focused on college and post-college students in Western countries. However, little is known about early-grade students in Asian countries. This paper reports Chinese middle and high school students’ views about the nature of physics and learning physics, measured by the Colorado Learning Attitudes Survey about Science (CLASS). Two variables—school level and gender—are examined for a series of comparative analyses. Results show that although middle school students received fewer years of education in physics, they demonstrated more expert-like conceptions about this subject matter than high school students. Also, male students in general exhibited more expert-like views than their female counterparts. While such a gender difference remained constant across both middle and high schools, for the most part it was a small-size difference.

L. Ding, A comparative study of middle school and high school students’ views about physics and learning physics, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 118-121 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789666.

Students' interdisciplinary reasoning about "high-energy bonds" and ATP
Benjamin W. Dreyfus, Benjamin D. Geller, Vashti Sawtelle, Julia Svoboda, Chandra Turpen, and Edward F. Redish
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 122-125, doi:10.1063/1.4789667
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Students' sometimes contradictory ideas about ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and the nature of chemical bonds have been studied in the biology and chemistry education literatures, but these topics are rarely part of the introductory physics curriculum. We present qualitative data from an introductory physics course for undergraduate biology majors that seeks to build greater interdisciplinary coherence and therefore includes these topics. In these data, students grapple with the apparent contradiction between the energy released when the phosphate bond in ATP is broken and the idea that an energy input is required to break a bond. We see that students' perceptions of how each scientific discipline bounds the system of interest can influence how they justify their reasoning about a topic that crosses disciplines. This has consequences for a vision of interdisciplinary education that respects disciplinary perspectives while bringing them into interaction in ways that demonstrate consistency amongst the perspectives

B. W. Dreyfus, B. D. Geller, V. Sawtelle, J. Svoboda, C. Turpen, and E. F. Redish, Students' interdisciplinary reasoning about "high-energy bonds" and ATP, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 122-125 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789667.

Diversity of Faculty Practice in Workshop Classrooms
Scott V. Franklin and Tricia Chapman
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 130-133, doi:10.1063/1.4789669
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We present a temporally fine-grained characterization of faculty practice in workshop-style introductory physics courses. Practice is binned in five minute intervals and coded through two complementary observational protocols: the Reform Teaching Observation Protocol provides a summative assessment of fidelity to reform-teaching principles, while the Teaching Dimensions Observation Protocol records direct practice. We find that the TDOP’s direct coding of practice explains nuances in the holistic RTOP score, with higher RTOP scores corresponding to less lecture, but not necessarily more student-directed activities. Despite using similar materials, faculty show significant differences in practice that manifests in both TDOP and RTOP scores. We also find a significant dependence of practice on course subject reflected in both RTOP and TDOP scores, with Electricity & Magnetism using more instructor-centered practices (lecture, illustration, etc.) than Mechanics courses.

S. V. Franklin and T. Chapman, Diversity of Faculty Practice in Workshop Classrooms, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 130-133 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789669.

Contrasting students’ understanding of electric field and electric force
Alejandro Garza and Genaro Zavala
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 142-145, doi:10.1063/1.4789672
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Students may have greater difficulties in understanding electric interactions because they have less day to day experience with them than with mechanics. There may also be differences in understanding of different electric concepts like electric force and field. This study presents the results of students’ responses to two sequences of superposition principle isomorphic questions in which the only difference was that in one of the sequences, the electric force was used and in the other, the electric field. We administered one of the sequences to 249 students at a large private Mexican university after covering electrostatics in an Electricity and Magnetism class. The students’ answers, reasoning and drawings were analyzed. We found that students who took the force sequence were better able to correctly answer the questions using the superposition principle than those students with the field sequence. The analysis of the students’ reasoning and drawings helped us to examine their understanding of electric field and the use of electric field lines.

A. Garza and G. Zavala, Contrasting students’ understanding of electric field and electric force, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 142-145 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789672.

Students' reasoning about interdisciplinarity
Benjamin D. Geller, Benjamin W. Dreyfus, Vashti Sawtelle, Julia Svoboda, Chandra Turpen, and Edward F. Redish
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 146-149, doi:10.1063/1.4789673
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We present case-study data of undergraduates describing the relationship between scientific disciplines. Rather than viewing biology, chemistry, and physics as existing in disconnected silos, or as overlapping only in narrow regions of common interest, these students exhibit a range of nuanced views about disciplinary relationships. Some students describe hierarchical arrangements that order the disciplines by degree of system complexity or by the scale used to examine a particular system. In other instances students want physics embedded in a context that positions its relationship to biology via analogy, or reference the way in which general physical principles like energy conservation or entropy maximization impose constraints on biological systems. We argue that these case studies illustrate the varied resources that students possess for seeking coherence across disciplines, as well as the potential barriers to interdisciplinary learning that such views might create when adopted to the exclusion of others.

B. D. Geller, B. W. Dreyfus, V. Sawtelle, J. Svoboda, C. Turpen, and E. F. Redish, Students' reasoning about interdisciplinarity, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 146-149 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789673.

Arrows as anchors: Conceptual blending and student use of electric field vector arrows
Elizabeth Gire and Edward Price
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 150-153, doi:10.1063/1.4789674
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We use the theory of conceptual blending with material anchors to describe how people make meaning of the vector arrows representation of electric fields. We describe this representation as a conceptual blend of a spatial (coordinate) input space and an electric-field-as-arrows space (which itself is a blend of electric field concept with arrows). This representation possesses material features including the use of spatial extent (e.g., distance on paper) to represent the coordinate space and to represent the magnitude of electric field vectors. As a result, this representation supports a geometric interpretation of the electric field, breaking the field into components, and the addition of two fields at a point. The material features also emphasize the spatial relationships between the source(s) and points where the field is represented. However, the material features also necessitate sampling and do not generally support the rapid superposition of two fields at all points. We illustrate this analysis with examples from clinical problem-solving interviews with upper-division physics majors, and interpret students' errors in using this representation as resulting from conflict between the input spaces in the blend.

E. Gire and E. Price, Arrows as anchors: Conceptual blending and student use of electric field vector arrows, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 150-153 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789674.

Arrows as anchors: Conceptual blending and student use of electric field vector arrows
Elizabeth Gire and Edward Price
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 150-153, doi:10.1063/1.4789674
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We use the theory of conceptual blending with material anchors to describe how people make meaning of the vector arrows representation of electric fields. We describe this representation as a conceptual blend of a spatial (coordinate) input space and an electric-field-as-arrows space (which itself is a blend of electric field concept with arrows). This representation possesses material features including the use of spatial extent (e.g., distance on paper) to represent the coordinate space and to represent the magnitude of electric field vectors. As a result, this representation supports a geometric interpretation of the electric field, breaking the field into components, and the addition of two fields at a point. The material features also emphasize the spatial relationships between the source(s) and points where the field is represented. However, the material features also necessitate sampling and do not generally support the rapid superposition of two fields at all points. We illustrate this analysis with examples from clinical problem-solving interviews with upper-division physics majors, and interpret students' errors in using this representation as resulting from conflict between the input spaces in the blend.

E. Gire and E. Price, Arrows as anchors: Conceptual blending and student use of electric field vector arrows, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 150-153 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789674.

Exploring student difficulties with pressure in a fluid
Matthew Goszewski, Adam Moyer, Zachary Bazan, and Doris J. Wagner
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 154-157, doi:10.1063/1.4789675
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Our research group is developing a standardized fluids assessment, covering buoyancy and pressure. Much of the prior research of student difficulties with pressure involves young children. Many of the questions on the beta-version of the assessment used this past year were designed to test the prevalence of those difficulties in college students. In this paper we will describe several pressure-related assessment questions, the misconceptions they probe, and the preliminary results from the beta version of the assessment.

M. Goszewski, A. Moyer, Z. Bazan, and D. J. Wagner, Exploring student difficulties with pressure in a fluid, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 154-157 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789675.

Investigating student ability to apply basic electrostatics concepts to conductors
Ryan L. C. Hazelton, MacKenzie R. Stetzer, Paula R. L. Heron, and Peter S. Shaffer
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 166-169, doi:10.1063/1.4789678
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In teaching electrostatics and electric circuits, it is necessary to introduce abstract ideas such as electric fields and electric potential before discussions of circuits can take place. The Physics Education Group at the University of Washington has found that students in introductory courses can build a functional understanding of some aspects of electric fields and potential, but their understanding of these concepts appears to falter when applied to systems involving conductors. Some specific examples will be discussed. The results will be used to inform the further development of tutorials in electrostatics.

R. L. C. Hazelton, M. R. Stetzer, P. R. L. Heron, and P. S. Shaffer, Investigating student ability to apply basic electrostatics concepts to conductors, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 166-169 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789678.

Department-level change: Using social network analysis to map the hidden structure of academic departments
Charles R. Henderson and Kathleen Quardokus
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 170-173, doi:10.1063/1.4789679
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Efforts to improve teaching in higher education have often focused on individual faculty. However, there is a growing consensus that the academic department is a more productive focus of change initiatives. Yet, academic departments are not all the same. Understanding the structure of relationships within a department is important for identifying who should be involved in the change effort and in what roles. It is also likely that a successful change effort will modify the structure of relationships within a department. This paper presents the preliminary results from a study of two academic departments at a research university. A social network for each department was constructed based on a web survey that asked faculty to identify colleagues with whom they had teaching-related conversations. We identify characteristics of the individuals and departments and describe how learning about this hidden structure can be beneficial to change agents.

C. R. Henderson and K. Quardokus, Department-level change: Using social network analysis to map the hidden structure of academic departments, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 170-173 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789679.

Student performance on conceptual questions: Does instruction matter?
Paula R. L. Heron
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 174-177, doi:10.1063/1.4789680
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As part of the tutorial component of introductory calculus-based physics at the University of Washington, students take weekly pretests that consist of conceptual questions. Pretests are so named because they precede each tutorial, but they are frequently administered after lecture instruction. Many variables associated with class composition and prior instruction (if any) could, in principle, affect student performance on these questions. Nonetheless, the results are often found to be "essentially the same" in all classes. With data available from a large number of classes, it is possible to characterize the typical variation quantitatively. In this paper three questions for which we have accumulated thousands of responses, from dozens of classes representing different conditions with respect to the textbook in use, the amount of prior instruction, etc., serve as examples. For each question, we examine the variation in student performance across all classes. We also compare subsets categorized according to the amount of relevant prior instruction each class had received. A preliminary analysis suggests that the variation in performance is essentially random. No statistically significant difference is observed between results obtained before relevant instruction begins and after it has been completed. The results provide evidence that exposure to concepts in lecture and textbook is not sufficient to ensure an improvement in performance on questions that require qualitative reasoning.

P. R. L. Heron, Student performance on conceptual questions: Does instruction matter?, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 174-177 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789680.

Impacting university physics students through participation in informal science
Kathleen Hinko and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 178-181, doi:10.1063/1.4789681
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Informal education programs organized by university physics departments are a popular means of reaching out to communities and satisfying grant requirements. The outcomes of these programs are often described in terms of broader impacts on the community. Comparatively little attention, however, has been paid to the influence of such programs on those students facilitating the informal science programs. Through Partnerships for Informal Science Education in the Community (PISEC) at the University of Colorado Boulder, undergraduate and graduate physics students coach elementary and middle school children during an inquiry-based science after school program. As part of their participation in PISEC, university students complete preparation in pedagogy, communication and diversity, engage with children on a weekly basis and provide regular feedback about the program. We present findings that indicate these experiences improve the ability of university students to communicate in everyday language and positively influence their perspectives on teaching and learning.

K. Hinko and N. D. Finkelstein, Impacting university physics students through participation in informal science, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 178-181 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789681.

A conceptual physics class where students found meaning in calculations
Michael M. Hull and Andrew Elby
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 190-193, doi:10.1063/1.4789684
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Prior to taking a translated version of the Maryland Open Source Tutorials (OSTs) as a stand-alone course, most students at Tokyo Gakugei University in Japan had experienced physics as memorizing laws and equations to use as computational tools. We might expect this reformed physics class, which emphasizes common sense and conceptual reasoning and rarely invokes equations, to produce students who see a disconnect between equation use and intuitive/conceptual reasoning. Many students at Gakugei, however, somehow learned to integrate mathematics into their “constructivist” epistemologies of physics, even though OSTs do not emphasize this integration. Tadao, for example, came to see that although a common-sense solution to a problem is preferable for explaining to someone who doesn’t know physics, solving the problem with a quantitative calculation (that connects to physical meaning) can bring clarity and concreteness to communication between experts. How this integration occurred remains an open question for future research.

M. M. Hull and A. Elby, A conceptual physics class where students found meaning in calculations, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 190-193 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789684.

Evidence of epistemological framing in survey question misinterpretation
Paul Hutchison and Andrew Elby
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 194-197, doi:10.1063/1.4789685
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Physics students' views about what kinds of learning and knowledge-generating activities are expected in class, their epistemological framing, influences their reasoning and what they learn. In previous work, we observed that students' likelihood of correctly answering a kinematics question easily solved through common sense depended on whether preceding questions on the survey were designed to prime "sense-making" or schoolish "answermaking". To get insight into students' reasoning we collected 24 think-alouds. The think-aloud data indicate that some participants who incorrectly answered the question misinterpreted the physical situation it describes. On its face this observation might be seen as evidence that inferring answer-making from an incorrect answer lacks validity. However, analysis indicates that students misinterpret the question because of how they frame their approach to answering it. So, misinterpretation of the kinematics question is a signal of epistemological framing, not an impediment to seeing it.

P. Hutchison and A. Elby, Evidence of epistemological framing in survey question misinterpretation, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 194-197 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789685.

Upper-Level Physics Students’ Conceptions Of Understanding
Paul Irving and Eleanor C. Sayre
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 198-201, doi:10.1063/1.4789686
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As part of a larger study into upper-level physics student identity development that is currently underway students were questioned about their conception of understanding. Contained with this paper are the results for students’ conceptions of understanding which correlate significantly to those found by Waterhouse and Prosser. However, having carried out pilot interviews of the interview protocol used to examine identity and cognitive development, the researchers noticed a large frequency in the amount of students that indicated their conception of understanding to be “when you can explain it to others or yourself.” This prompted a further examination of this conception of understanding via phenomenographic interview and analysis.

P. Irving and E. C. Sayre, Upper-Level Physics Students’ Conceptions Of Understanding, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 198-201 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789686.

DC circuits: Context dependence of student responses
Ignatius John and Saalih Allie
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 202-205, doi:10.1063/1.4789687
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We report on a study with first year university physics students in which we investigated the effect on student responses when small contextual changes were made to the presentation of an “open circuit”. The eight question instrument that we designed included representational, linguistic and circuit element variations. Our findings indicate that while the changes might appear trivial they significantly affect the way in which students respond.

I. John and S. Allie, DC circuits: Context dependence of student responses, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 202-205 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789687.

Comparing Physics and Math Problems
Dyan L. Jones and Reni B. Roseman
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 206-209, doi:10.1063/1.4789688
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Presented is a subsection of a larger project to understand and facilitate students’ use of mathematics when solving physics problems. Specifically, this study is an examination of how students group/pair problems in math and physics. The results show that whether students examine surface or structure is in part dependent on context.

D. L. Jones and R. B. Roseman, Comparing Physics and Math Problems, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 206-209 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789688.

Student expectations in a group learning activity on harmonic motion
Adam Kaczynski and Michael C. Wittmann
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 210-213, doi:10.1063/1.4789689
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Students in a sophomore-level mechanics course participated in a new group learning activity that was intended to support model-building and finding coherence between multiple representations in the context of an underdamped harmonic system. Not all of the student groups framed the activity in the same way, and many attempted tasks that existed outside of the prompts of the activity. For one group, this meant that instead of providing a rich verbal description, they framed the activity as finding a mathematical expression.

A. Kaczynski and M. C. Wittmann, Student expectations in a group learning activity on harmonic motion, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 210-213 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789689.

Comparing The Use Of Multimedia Animations And Written Solutions In Facilitating Problem Solving
Neelam Khan, Dong-Hai Nguyen, Zhongzhou Chen, and N. Sanjay Rebello
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 214-217, doi:10.1063/1.4789690
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We compared the use of solutions to a problem in the form of multimedia animations and static worksheets to help students learn how to solve physics problems that required the use of mathematical integration. We administered four tasks related to electricity and magnetism problems. In each task, students individually attempted a pre-test problem followed by a worksheet problem based on the same concept. Then, we provided students the solution to the worksheet problem either as a narrated multimedia animation or in a written format. Finally, all students solved a post-test problem. Results indicate that on all four tasks, there was a statistically significant improvement in problem solving scores for both the animation and written solution treatments. We found no significant differences between the treatments.

N. Khan, D. Nguyen, Z. Chen, and N. S. Rebello, Comparing The Use Of Multimedia Animations And Written Solutions In Facilitating Problem Solving, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 214-217 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789690.

Successful propagation of educational innovations: Viewpoints from principal investigators and program
Raina Khatri, Charles R. Henderson, Renee Cole, and Jeff Froyd
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 218-221, doi:10.1063/1.4789691
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We are beginning a project to help developers of educational innovations promote adoption of their work at other institutions through deliberate propagation strategies. To gain a better understanding of the current situation with regard to the spread of educational innovations, we analyzed a web-based survey of 1284 Principal Investigators (PIs) in the NSF Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM (TUES) program and held focus groups with NSF TUES program directors (PDs). Overall, PIs tend to think of spreading their innovations through one-way transmission methods, such as publishing a paper. On the other hand, PDs think that interactive methods, such as multi-day workshops, are more effective. We conclude by advocating the need for increased explicit attention on planning and enacting propagation strategies by both PIs and PDs.

R. Khatri, C. R. Henderson, R. Cole, and J. Froyd, Successful propagation of educational innovations: Viewpoints from principal investigators and program, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 218-221 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789691.

Narratives of the double bind: Intersectionality in life stories of women of color in physics, astrophysics and astronomy
Lily T. Ko, Rachel R. Kachchaf, Maria Ong, and Apriel K. Hodari
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 222-225, doi:10.1063/1.4789692
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This paper presents themes on the life stories of women of color in physics, astrophysics and astronomy. Drawing from our NSF-sponsored project, Beyond the Double Bind: Women of Color in STEM, we share findings from 10 interviews and 41 extant texts (about 23 women in varied life stages). Employing intersectionality theory and narrative analysis, our study contributes a critical analysis of how the intersection of gender and race affects performance, identity, persistence and overall career and education experiences in the physical sciences. Our findings both support existing literature on women of color in STEM, as well as bring to light two major, emergent issues: the importance of activism, and school/work-life balance. This research will add to the knowledge base about strategies for retaining women of color—widely considered an untapped source of domestic talent that could fill the country’s scientific workforce needs.

L. T. Ko, R. R. Kachchaf, M. Ong, and A. K. Hodari, Narratives of the double bind: Intersectionality in life stories of women of color in physics, astrophysics and astronomy, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 222-225 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789692.

Examining inconsistencies in student reasoning approaches
Mila Kryjevskaia and MacKenzie R. Stetzer
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 226-229, doi:10.1063/1.4789693
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Student-centered instruction can lead to strong gains in physics learning. However, even after targeted instruction, many students still struggle to systematically analyze unfamiliar situations. We have been identifying sequences of questions that allow for an in-depth examination of inconsistencies in student reasoning approaches. On these sequences, many students demonstrate that they possess the abilities to perform the required reasoning, yet they fail to apply this reasoning to arrive at a correct answer. In certain contexts, students tend to “abandon” suitable formal reasoning in favor of reasoning that was (perhaps) more intuitively appealing at that moment. In other cases, erroneous student reasoning approaches can be attributed to the relative salience of specific features of the problem. We present results from one sequence revealing inconsistencies in student reasoning in the context of capacitors. This sequence was administered in an introductory course in which Tutorials in Introductory Physics were implemented as interactive lectures.

M. Kryjevskaia and M. R. Stetzer, Examining inconsistencies in student reasoning approaches, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 226-229 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789693.

Considering factors beyond transfer of conceptual knowledge
Eric Kuo, Danielle Champney, and Angela Little
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 230-233, doi:10.1063/1.4789694
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One thread in education research has been to investigate whether and in what ways students “transfer” conceptual knowledge from one context to another. We argue that in understanding students’ reasoning across contexts, it can additionally be productive to attend to their epistemological framing. We present a case study of one student (Will), whose reasoning on two similarly structured approximation problems does not draw on pieces of conceptual knowledge across contexts in a manner that experts might view as productive. We further show that attending to Will’s epistemological framing aids our understanding of why he draws on different types of knowledge on the two problems.

E. Kuo, D. Champney, and A. Little, Considering factors beyond transfer of conceptual knowledge, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 230-233 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789694.

An expert path through a thermo maze
Mary Bridget Kustusch, David J. Roundy, Tevian Dray, and Corinne Manogue
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 234-237, doi:10.1063/1.4789695
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Several studies in recent years have demonstrated that upper-division students struggle with partial derivatives and the complicated chain rules ubiquitous in thermodynamics. We asked several experts (primarily faculty who teach thermodynamics) to solve a challenging and novel thermodynamics problem in order to understand how they navigate through this maze. What we found was a tremendous variety in solution strategies and sense-making tools, both within and between individuals. This case study focuses on one particular expert: his solution paths, use of sense-making tools, and comparison of different approaches.

M. B. Kustusch, D. J. Roundy, T. Dray, and C. Manogue, An expert path through a thermo maze, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 234-237 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789695.

Changing classroom designs: Easy; Changing instructors' pedagogies: Not so easy...
Nathaniel Lasry, Elizabeth Charles, Chris Whittaker, Helena Dedic, and Steven Rosenfield
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 238-241, doi:10.1063/1.4789696
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Technology-rich student-centered classrooms such as SCALE-UP and TEAL are designed to actively engage students. We examine what happens when instructors adopt the classroom but not the pedagogy that goes with it. We measure the effect of using socio-technological spaces on students’ conceptual change and compare learning gains made in groups using different pedagogies (active learning vs. conventional instruction). We also correlate instructors’ self-reported instructional approach (teacher-centered, student-centered) with their classes’ normalized FCI gains. We find that technology-rich spaces are only effective when implemented with studentcentered active pedagogies. In their absence, the technology-rich classroom is not significantly different from conventional teacher-centered classrooms. We also find that instructors’ self-reported perception of studentcenteredness accounts for a large fraction of the variance (r2=0.83) in their class’ average normalized gain. Adopting student-centered pedagogies appears to be a necessary condition for the effective use of technology-rich spaces. However, adopting a new pedagogy seems more difficult than adopting new technology.

N. Lasry, E. Charles, C. Whittaker, H. Dedic, and S. Rosenfield, Changing classroom designs: Easy; Changing instructors' pedagogies: Not so easy..., 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 238-241 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789696.

Physics Learning Identity of a Successful Student: A Plot Twist
Sissi L. Li and Dedra Demaree
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 242-245, doi:10.1063/1.4789697
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Classroom interactions provide learning opportunities for understanding others and developing agency in a community of learners. Student learning identities were measured using a survey instrument targeting physics learning self-efficacy, expectations of classroom roles, and attitude toward social learning as components of physics learning identity. From a selection of students who scored relatively high or low on the survey sub scales, an academically successful student in an introductory physics course using an active engagement curriculum was selected to examine identity development. Findings indicate he didn't develop a sense of agency, nor did he feel a need to alter his participation, although there were ample opportunities to do so in the learning community. These results suggest that being a successful physics student in the traditional sense doesn't necessarily mean the student is successful at adopting meta-goals which are the non-content course goals of learning to think like a physicist. This student was prompted to engage meaningfully but didn't feel it was required for success which suggests that structural alignment is required to motivate students to achieve meta-goals.

S. L. Li and D. Demaree, Physics Learning Identity of a Successful Student: A Plot Twist, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 242-245 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789697.

Identity and Belonging: Are You a Physicist (Chemist)?
Sissi L. Li and Michael E. Loverude
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 246-249
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When science undergraduates begin their upper-division coursework, their declaration of major becomes more concrete and meaningful as they have opportunities to interact more deeply with the community of their chosen discipline. In the process of completing a major, students transition their identity towards being a member of their field. In Wenger’s community of practice framework, community membership is built on alignment of common goals, participation in social interactions, and perception of belonging in the community. But what does it mean to be a chemist or physicist from the students’ perspective? In this study, we examine junior-level chemistry and physics majors’ ideas about their science identity through semi-structured interviews and prompted reflective journals. We compare and contrast how chemistry and physics students negotiate their identity as members in their disciplinary field in terms of practice, qualifications, attitude, and in relation to other STEM communities.

S. L. Li and M. E. Loverude, Identity and Belonging: Are You a Physicist (Chemist)?, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 246-249 (2013)].

Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics
Shih-Yin Lin, Alexandru Maries, and Chandralekha Singh
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 250-253, doi:10.1063/1.4789699
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We investigate introductory physics students’ difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations and the effect of scaffolding on students’ performance. We gave a typical problem that can be solved using Gauss’s law involving a spherically symmetric charge distribution (a conducting sphere concentric with a conducting spherical shell) to 95 calculus-based introductory physics students. We asked students to write a mathematical expression for the electric field in various regions and asked them to graph the electric field. We knew from previous experience that students have great difficulty in graphing the electric field. Therefore, we implemented two scaffolding interventions to help them. Students who received the scaffolding support were either (1) asked to plot the electric field in each region first (before having to plot it as a function of distance from the center of the sphere) or (2) asked to plot the electric field in each region after explicitly evaluating the electric field at the beginning, mid and end points of each region. The comparison group was only asked to plot the electric field at the end of the problem. We found that students benefited the most from intervention (1) and that intervention (2), although intended to aid students, had an adverse effect. Also, recorded interviews were conducted with a few students in order to understand how students were impacted by the aforementioned interventions.

S. Lin, A. Maries, and C. Singh, Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 250-253 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789699.

Using Collaborative Group Exams to Investigate Students’ Ability to Learn
Yuhfen Lin and David T. Brookes
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 254-257, doi:10.1063/1.4789700
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One of our primary learning goals for our students is: we would like them to be able to learn physics on their own. Unfortunately few existing assessments can assess students’ ability to learn without being taught. We are developing a new format of exam which challenges students to work together as a class to tackle a difficult problem that requires them to learn new physics. Rather than restrict their activities, we offer them a resource-rich environment of textbooks and internet access. Students are required to transfer their knowledge by answering a related question on a more standard “individual exam” two days later. In this paper we will discuss the format of the exams, background theory, and present evidence of how students are able to learn new physics on their own. Our results show that although students struggle at first, they do surprisingly well once they get used to the format.

Y. Lin and D. T. Brookes, Using Collaborative Group Exams to Investigate Students’ Ability to Learn, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 254-257 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789700.

They Still Remember What I Never Taught Them: Student Understanding of Entropy
Michael E. Loverude
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 266-269, doi:10.1063/1.4789703
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As part of an ongoing project to examine student learning in upper-division courses in thermal and statistical physics, we have examined student reasoning about the approach of macroscopic objects to thermal equilibrium. We have examined reasoning in terms of heat transfer, entropy maximization, and statistical treatments of multiplicity and probability. In the current paper, we present student responses from a set of interviews completed 1-2 years after students had completed the thermal physics course. Students gave a variety of responses, but most students gave answers that did not correspond to the models that they had been taught in the course.

M. E. Loverude, They Still Remember What I Never Taught Them: Student Understanding of Entropy, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 266-269 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789703.

Welcome To America, Welcome To College: Comparing The Effects Of Immigrant Generation And College Generation On Physical Science and Engineering Career Intentions
Florin D. Lung, Geoff Potvin, Gerhard Sonnert, and Philip M. Sadler
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 270-273, doi:10.1063/1.4789704
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Students enter college with social, cultural, and economic resources (well described by Bourdieu's concepts of habitus and capital) that significantly impact their goals, actions, and successes. Two important determinants of the amount and type of resources available to students are their immigrant generation and college generation status. Drawing on a national sample of 6860 freshmen enrolled in college English, we compare and contrast the effects of immigrant generation with those of college generation status on physical science and engineering career intentions to explore some of the challenges faced by the first in the family to become an American and/or go to college.

F. D. Lung, G. Potvin, G. Sonnert, and P. M. Sadler, Welcome To America, Welcome To College: Comparing The Effects Of Immigrant Generation And College Generation On Physical Science and Engineering Career Intentions, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 270-273 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789704.

Do perceptually salient elements in physics problems influence students' eye movements and answer choices?
Adrian M. Madsen, Amy Rouinfar, Adam M. Larson, Lester C. Loschky, and N. Sanjay Rebello
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 274-277, doi:10.1063/1.4789705
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Several reasons have been proposed to explain students’ incorrect answers to conceptual physics problems. Heckler proposed with a perceptual basis: plausible and salient “eye catching” features in a problem capture students’ attention. Once students attend to these perceptually salient features, less salient albeit thematically relevant features are not considered and students answer the problem incorrectly based on the salient features. To test this hypothesis we recorded eye movements of introductory physics students on 15 conceptual problems with diagrams. Each diagram contained areas consistent with documented novice-like answers and other areas consistent with the scientifically correct answer. We manipulated the luminance contrast of the diagrams to produce three versions of each diagram, which differed by the area with the highest level of perceptual salience. We found no effect of the salience on the correctness of students’ answers. We also discuss how the salience manipulations influence eye movements.

A. M. Madsen, A. Rouinfar, A. M. Larson, L. C. Loschky, and N. S. Rebello, Do perceptually salient elements in physics problems influence students' eye movements and answer choices?, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 274-277 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789705.

Regression analysis exploring teacher impact on student FCI post scores
Jonathan V. Mahadeo, Seth Manthey, and Eric Brewe
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 278-281, doi:10.1063/1.4789706
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High School Modeling Workshops are designed to improve high school physics teachers’ understanding of physics and how to teach using the Modeling method. The basic assumption is that the teacher plays a critical role in their students’ physics education. This study investigated teacher impacts on students’ Force Concept Inventory scores, (FCI), with the hopes of identifying quantitative differences between teachers. This study examined student FCI scores from 18 teachers with at least a year of teaching high school physics. This data was then evaluated using a General Linear Model (GLM), which allowed for a regression equation to be fitted to the data. This regression equation was used to predict student post FCI scores, based on: teacher ID, student pre FCI score, gender, and representation. The results show 12 out of 18 teachers significantly impact their student post FCI scores. The GLM further revealed that of the 12 teachers only five have a positive impact on student post FCI scores. Given these differences among teachers it is our intention to extend our analysis to investigate pedagogical differences between them.

J. V. Mahadeo, S. Manthey, and E. Brewe, Regression analysis exploring teacher impact on student FCI post scores, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 278-281 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789706.

To use or not to use diagrams: The effect of drawing a diagram in solving introductory physics problems
Alexandru Maries and Chandralekha Singh
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 282-285, doi:10.1063/1.4789707
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Drawing appropriate diagrams is a useful problem solving heuristic that can transform a given problem into a representation that is easier to exploit for solving it. A major focus while helping introductory physics students learn problem solving is to help them appreciate that drawing diagrams facilitates problem solution. We conducted an investigation in which 111 students in an algebra-based introductory physics course were subjected to two different interventions during recitation quizzes throughout the semester. They were either (1) asked to solve problems in which the diagrams were drawn for them or (2) explicitly told to draw a diagram. A comparison group was not given any instruction regarding diagrams. We developed a rubric to score the problem-solving performance of students in different intervention groups. We investigated two problems involving electric field and electric force and found that students who draw expert-like diagrams are more successful problem solvers and that a higher level of detail in a student’s diagram corresponds to a better score.

A. Maries and C. Singh, To use or not to use diagrams: The effect of drawing a diagram in solving introductory physics problems, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 282-285 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789707.

Using Student Notecards as an Epistemological Lens
Timothy L. McCaskey
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 290-293, doi:10.1063/1.4789709
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In an effort to shift course goals away from equation memorizing, I allowed two different introductory physics classes the opportunity to prepare a card or sheet of notes for the exams. I analyze and categorize the items students choose to include on a case-by-case basis. Students include some mixture of definitions (both mathematical and otherwise), equations (both general and specific), unit information, physical constants, statements of laws or concepts, math review, guides to symbols and variables, diagrams, and worked examples. I compare my two classes, look at some individual students in depth, and try to gain insight on how we can use these artifacts to see what students perceive as important in the courses (or at least what’s worth committing to paper).

T. L. McCaskey, Using Student Notecards as an Epistemological Lens, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 290-293 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789709.

The experience sampling method: Investigating students' affective experience
Jayson M. Nissen, MacKenzie R. Stetzer, and Jonathan T. Shemwell
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 294-297, doi:10.1063/1.4789710
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Improving non-cognitive outcomes such as attitudes, efficacy, and persistence in physics courses is an important goal of physics education. This investigation implemented an in-the-moment surveying technique called the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) to measure students' affective experience in physics. Measurements included: self-efficacy, cognitive efficiency, activation, intrinsic motivation, and affect. Data are presented that show contrasts in students’ experiences (e.g., in physics vs. non-physics courses).

J. M. Nissen, M. R. Stetzer, and J. T. Shemwell, The experience sampling method: Investigating students' affective experience, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 294-297 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789710.

Impacts of curricular change: Implications from 8 years of data in introductory physics
Steven J. Pollock and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 310-313, doi:10.1063/1.4789714
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Introductory calculus-based physics classes at the University of Colorado Boulder were significantly transformed beginning in 2004. They now regularly include: interactive engagement using clickers in large lecture settings, Tutorials in Introductory Physics with use of undergraduate Learning Assistants in recitation sections, and a staffed help-room setting where students work on personalized CAPA homework. We compile and summarize conceptual (FMCE and BEMA) pre- and post-data from over 9,000 unique students after 16 semesters of both Physics 1 and 2. Within a single institution with stable pre-test scores, we reproduce results of Hake's 1998 study that demonstrate the positive impacts of interactive engagement on student performance. We link the degree of faculty's use of interactive engagement techniques and their experience levels on student outcomes, and argue for the role of such systematic data collection in sustained course and institutional transformations.

S. J. Pollock and N. D. Finkelstein, Impacts of curricular change: Implications from 8 years of data in introductory physics, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 310-313 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789714.

Additional Evidence of Far Transfer of Scientific Reasoning Skills Acquired in a CLASP Reformed Physics Course
Wendell H. Potter and Robert B. Lynch
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 314-317, doi:10.1063/1.4789715
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The introductory physics course taken by biological science majors at UC Davis, Physics 7, was radically reformed 16 years ago in order to explicitly emphasize the development of scientific reasoning skills in all elements of the course. We have previously seen evidence of increased performance on the biological and physical science portions of the MCAT exam, in a rigorous systemic physiology course, and higher graduating GPAs for students who took Physics 7 rather than a traditionally taught introductory physics course. We report here on the increased performance by a group of biological-science majors in a general chemistry course who took the first quarter of Physics 7 prior to beginning the chemistry course sequence compared to a similar group who began taking physics after completing the first two quarters of general chemistry.

W. H. Potter and R. B. Lynch, Additional Evidence of Far Transfer of Scientific Reasoning Skills Acquired in a CLASP Reformed Physics Course, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 314-317 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789715.

Supporting scientific writing and evaluation in a conceptual physics course with Calibrated Peer Review
Edward Price, Fred Goldberg, Scott Patterson, and Paul Heft
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 318-321, doi:10.1063/1.4789716
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Writing tasks are one way students can apply science concepts, yet evaluating students’ writing can be difficult in large classes. With the web-based Calibrated Peer Review* (CPR) system, students submit written work and evaluate each other. Students write a response to a prompt, read and evaluate responses prepared by the curriculum developers, and receive feedback on their evaluations, allowing students to “calibrate” their evaluation skills. Students then evaluate their peers’ work and their own work. We have used CPR for two semesters in conceptual physics courses with enrollments of ~100 students. By independently assessing students’ responses, we evaluated the CPR calibration process and compared students’ peer reviews with expert evaluations. Students’ scores on their essays correlate with our independent evaluations. This poster describes these findings and our experiences with implementing CPR assignments.

E. Price, F. Goldberg, S. Patterson, and P. Heft, Supporting scientific writing and evaluation in a conceptual physics course with Calibrated Peer Review, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 318-321 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789716.

Transfer Of Argumentation Skills In Conceptual Physics Problem Solving
Carina M. Rebello and N. Sanjay Rebello
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 322-325, doi:10.1063/1.4789717
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We investigate the integration of argumentation in a physics course for future elementary teachers. Students were divided into two groups – construct and evaluate – to solve conceptual physics problems using corresponding forms of written argumentation. After training in small teams, each group received tasks that required transfer of skills to new problems requiring a different form of argumentation i.e. students trained to construct arguments were now required to evaluate arguments and vice versa. The process was repeated after three weeks during which more training was provided. Results indicate no significant improvement of argumentation on team training tasks over this period, but a statistically significant improvement on individual transfer tasks. Thus, three weeks of training did not improve students’ performance on the team tasks, but it prepared them to transfer these skills to individual argumentation tasks.

C. M. Rebello and N. S. Rebello, Transfer Of Argumentation Skills In Conceptual Physics Problem Solving, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 322-325 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789717.

Students’ Conceptions About Rolling In Multiple Contexts
N. Sanjay Rebello and Carina M. Rebello
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 326-329, doi:10.1063/1.4789718
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Research has shown that students have several misconceptions about rotational motion and rolling. Students often do not understand the relationship between the speeds of various points on a rolling wheel. They also do not understand the relationship between the translational and rotational speeds of a wheel that rolls without slipping. We conducted a study to extend existing research on this topic. Specifically, we explored the reasoning resources that students used with regard to rolling without slipping in three different contexts: a single rolling bicycle wheel, a horizontal plank pushed forward on a rolling drum, and two differently sized wheels in a penny-farthing bicycle. We explored the reasoning resources used by students in two different introductory physics classes at two Midwestern universities. We describe students’ reasoning resources about rolling in these different contexts.

N. S. Rebello and C. M. Rebello, Students’ Conceptions About Rolling In Multiple Contexts, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 326-329 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789718.

Students’ use of resources in understanding solar cells
AJ Richards and Eugenia Etkina
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 330-333
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We use the framework of conceptual and epistemological resources to investigate how students construct understanding of solar cells - a complex modern physics topic that requires mastery of multiple concepts. We interviewed experts and novices about their understanding of the physics of solar cells, and examined their responses for evidence of resources being activated. We used this information to create a unit dedicated to the physics of solar cells at the advanced undergraduate level, which we then implemented. Based on the patterns in the interviews and student responses in the classroom during the unit we can hypothesize what resources students draw on when they are trying to understand the complex physics involved in the functioning of solar cells.

A. Richards and E. Etkina, Students’ use of resources in understanding solar cells, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 330-333 (2013)].

Coupling epistemology and identity in explaining student interest in science
Jennifer Richards, Luke Conlin, Ayush Gupta, and Andrew Elby
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 334-337
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In this paper, we present the case of Estevan, an eighth-grader from Honduras whose interest in science lies primarily at the intersection of personal epistemology and identity. Drawing on video data from classroom interactions as well as interviews with Estevan and his teacher, Ms. K, we show how Estevan’s passionate engagement in sense-making about the seasons arose from an alignment between his epistemological stance that science involves figuring things out for yourself and his enacted identity as someone who faces challenges head-on. We use Estevan’s case to highlight the importance of remaining open to the multiplicity of connections that might exist between interest in science and students’ identities and to motivate looking deeper into such issues before prescribing how to engage students in science.

J. Richards, L. Conlin, A. Gupta, and A. Elby, Coupling epistemology and identity in explaining student interest in science, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 334-337 (2013)].

Is Conceptual Understanding Compromised By A Problem- Solving Emphasis In An Introductory Physics Course?
Joshua Ridenour, Gerald Feldman, Raluca E. Teodorescu, Larry Medsker, and Nawal Benmouna
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 338-341
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Developing competency in problem solving and enhancing conceptual understanding are primary objectives in introductory physics, and many techniques and tools are available to help instructors achieve them. Pedagogically, we use an easy-to-implement intervention, the ACCESS protocol, to develop and assess problem-solving skills in our SCALE-UP classroom environment for algebra-based physics. Based on our research and teaching experience, an important question has emerged: while primarily targeting improvements in problem-solving and cognitive development, is it necessary that conceptual understanding be compromised? To address this question, we gathered and analyzed information about student abilities, backgrounds, and instructional preferences. We report on our progress and give insights into matching the instructional tools to student profiles in order to achieve optimal learning in group-based active learning. The ultimate goal of our work is to integrate individual student learning needs into a pedagogy that moves students closer to expert-like status in problem solving.

J. Ridenour, G. Feldman, R. E. Teodorescu, L. Medsker, and N. Benmouna, Is Conceptual Understanding Compromised By A Problem- Solving Emphasis In An Introductory Physics Course?, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 338-341 (2013)].

Cookies as agents for community membership
Idaykis Rodriguez, Renee Michelle Goertzen, Eric Brewe, and Laird H. Kramer
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 342-345
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When becoming a member of a community of practice, a novice must adopt certain community norms to participate, and these include the social norms of the group. Using the analytical perspective of Legitimate Peripheral Participation in a Community of Practice, this paper explores the social role of cookies as agents for community participation and membership in a physics research group. We analyze data from an ethnographic case study of a physics research group weekly research meeting. The mentors bring cookies to each meeting and view the cookies as a token of appreciation for the graduate students’ work. These cookies take on a subtler role of initiating guests and students into scientific conversations and participation. Via the cookies, members also share personal histories and stories that help members strengthen their membership. The study of social norms in this research group is part of a larger study of physics expert identity development.

I. Rodriguez, R. M. Goertzen, E. Brewe, and L. H. Kramer, Cookies as agents for community membership, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 342-345 (2013)].

Challenging traditional assumptions of secondary science through the PET curriculum
Michael J. Ross and Valerie K. Otero
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 350-353
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This study seeks to illustrate aspects of a physics classroom experience in an underserved high school through the perspective of the students. This context was chosen with the intent of determining factors that lead to successful secondary physics education outcomes for populations historically underrepresented in STEM. Two class periods of physics were observed and interviewed in an urban high school while using the Physics and Everyday Thinking (PET) curriculum. Findings indicate that students came to value and positively identify with the activities of physics through instruction that fosters a more dignified student experience than traditional approaches. Specifically, this experience was characterized by the valuing of students’ naïve and developing understandings and shifting the authority for validating science knowledge from the instructor to laboratory evidence and social consensus.

M. J. Ross and V. K. Otero, Challenging traditional assumptions of secondary science through the PET curriculum, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 350-353 (2013)].

Scaffolding students’ understanding of force in pulley systems
Amy Rouinfar, Adrian M. Madsen, Tram Do Ngoc Hoang, Sadhana Puntambekar, and N. Sanjay Rebello
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 354-357
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Recent research results have found that students using virtual manipulatives perform as well or better on measures of conceptual understanding than their peers who used physical equipment. We report on a study with students in a conceptual physics laboratory using either physical or virtual manipulatives to investigate forces in pulley systems. Written materials guided students through a sequence of activities designed to scaffold their understanding of force in pulley systems. The activity sequences facilitated students' sense making by requiring them to make and test predictions about various pulley systems by building and comparing different systems. We investigate the ways in which students discuss force while navigating the scaffolding activities and how these discussions compare between the physical and virtual treatments.

A. Rouinfar, A. M. Madsen, T. D. N. Hoang, S. Puntambekar, and N. S. Rebello, Scaffolding students’ understanding of force in pulley systems, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 354-357 (2013)].

Mathematical vs. Conceptual Understanding: Where Do We Draw The Line?
Homeyra R. Sadaghiani and Nicholas Aguilera
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 358-361
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This research involved high school physics students and how they learn to understand Newton’s laws as they relate to falling bodies and projectile motion. Students in introductory, algebra-based, high school physics classes were evaluated based on their prior knowledge through a pretest, designed to assess their initial comprehension of the motion of falling bodies and projectiles. Groups were divided and taught separately with an emphasis on either mathematical derivation of equations, followed by brief conceptual discussions, or on thorough conceptual analysis, followed by a brief mathematical verification. After a post-test was given, an evaluation of the responses and explanations of each group of students was used to determine which method of instruction was more effective. Results indicate that after the conceptual group and math groups achieved similar scores on the pretest, the conceptual group obtained a slightly higher normalized gain of 25% on the post-test, compared to the mathematical group’s normalized gain of 16% (unpaired two-tailed t-test P value for post-test results was 0.1037) and, while within standard deviations, also achieved higher overall scores on all post-test questions and higher normalized gains on all but one post-test question. Further, most students, even those in the mathematically-instructed group, were more inclined to give conceptually-based responses on post-test questions than mathematically-based ones. In the context of this topic, the dominating difficulty for both groups was in analyzing two-dimensional projectile motion and, more specifically, the behavior of each one-dimensional component of such motion.

H. R. Sadaghiani and N. Aguilera, Mathematical vs. Conceptual Understanding: Where Do We Draw The Line?, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 358-361 (2013)].

Surveys fail to measure grasp of scientific practice
Irene Y. Salter and Leslie J. Atkins
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 362-365
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There is debate in the science education literature about how best to improve students' understanding of the nature of science: Can an “immersion” experience in the process of doing science like scientists outperform explicit instruction on the nature of science? Central in resolving that debate is the development of appropriate measures of students’ understanding of the nature of science. We report on a course in which students engaged in sophisticated scientific practices, and yet student responses to a standard nature of science survey showed surprisingly few pre-post changes. We argue that this data suggests that when students do science like scientists do, they gain a grasp of scientific practice that cannot be measured by declarative means such as surveys and interviews.

I. Y. Salter and L. J. Atkins, Surveys fail to measure grasp of scientific practice, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 362-365 (2013)].

Examining the Positioning of Ideas in the Disciplines
Vashti Sawtelle, Tiffany-Rose Sikorski, Chandra Turpen, and Edward F. Redish
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 366-369
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We present a qualitative analysis of a group of students working through a task designed to build connections between biology, chemistry, and physics. During the discussion, members of the group explicitly index some of the ideas being presented as coming from “chemistry” and from “physics.” While there is evidence that students seek coherence between outside knowledge and in-class knowledge, the evidence of the group’s progress in co-constructing these ideas is subtle. In this paper, we present evidence that the progress students make in addressing and coordinating each other's ideas can be understood through a positional lens. We examine how students position ideas as having value for the discussion.

V. Sawtelle, T. Sikorski, C. Turpen, and E. F. Redish, Examining the Positioning of Ideas in the Disciplines, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 366-369 (2013)].

The dependence of instructional outcomes on individual differences: An example from DC circuits
Thomas M. Scaife and Andrew F. Heckler
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 370-373, doi:10.1063/1.4789729
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In a study of student understanding of the power dissipated through simple networks of resistors, two consistent, contradictory response patterns were identified: a greater equivalent resistance always dissipates more power, and a lesser equivalent resistance always dissipates more power. After completing one of two sequences of practice-questions, the performance of students who had initially thought that less resistance meant more power improved, while the performance of the opposing group did not—despite one of the practice sequences specifically addressing the idea that more resistance means more power. Because one prior conception appears to be susceptible to practice while the other does not, specific attention must be given to interactions between differing ideas and the physical concept being taught. If an instructor only examines the performance of the entire class, an overall increase in performance might mask a misalignment between instruction and the understanding of a significant, pre-defined number of students.

T. M. Scaife and A. F. Heckler, The dependence of instructional outcomes on individual differences: An example from DC circuits, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 370-373 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789729.

Effect of paper color on students' physics exam performances
David R. Schmidt, Todd G. Ruskell, and Patrick B. Kohl
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 374-377, doi:10.1063/1.4789730
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Prior work has established the existence of a color-performance relationship in achievement contexts and has demonstrated its presence in some undergraduate course examinations. This study examines the manifestation of such a relationship in an introductory, 430-student, calculus-based electricity and magnetism course during which the paper color used in examinations was varied. In this report, we analyze three separate exams and differentiate between students’ multiple choice, written response, conceptual, and computational performances. Also considered are factors such as the time students require to complete exams and their confidence levels prior to and immediately following assessment. Performance in all categories appears to be independent of paper color.

D. R. Schmidt, T. G. Ruskell, and P. B. Kohl, Effect of paper color on students' physics exam performances, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 374-377 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789730.

Predicting FCI gain with a nonverbal intelligence test
M. R. Semak, R. D. Dietz, R. H. Pearson, and C. W. Willis
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 378-381, doi:10.1063/1.4789731
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We have administered both a commercial, nonverbal intelligence test (the GAMA) and Lawson’s Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning to students in two introductory physics classes to determine if either test can successfully predict normalized gains on the Force Concept Inventory. Since gain on the FCI is known to be related to gender, we adopted a linear model with gain on the FCI as the dependent variable and gender and a test score as the independent variables. We found that the GAMA score did not predict a significant amount of variation beyond gender. Lawson’s test, however, did predict a small but significant variation beyond gender. When simple linear regressions were run separately for males and females with the Lawson score as a predictor, we found that the Lawson score did not significantly predict gains for females but was a marginally significant predictor for males.

M. R. Semak, R. D. Dietz, R. H. Pearson, and C. W. Willis, Predicting FCI gain with a nonverbal intelligence test, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 378-381 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789731.

Core graduate courses: A missed learning opportunity?
Chandralekha Singh and Alexandru Maries
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 382-385
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An important goal of graduate physics core courses is to help students develop expertise in problem solving and improve their reasoning and meta-cognitive skills. We explore the conceptual difficulties of physics graduate students by administering conceptual problems on topics covered in undergraduate physics courses before and after instruction in related first year core graduate courses. Here, we focus on physics graduate students' difficulties manifested by their performance on two qualitative problems involving diagrammatic representation of vector fields. Some graduate students had great difficulty in recognizing whether the diagrams of the vector fields had divergence and/or curl but they had no difficulty computing the divergence and curl of the vector fields mathematically. We also conducted individual discussions with various faculty members who regularly teach first year graduate physics core courses about the goals of these courses and the performance of graduate students on the conceptual problems after related instruction in core courses.

C. Singh and A. Maries, Core graduate courses: A missed learning opportunity?, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 382-385 (2013)].

Identifying student difficulties with conflicting ideas in statistical mechanics
Trevor I. Smith, Donald B. Mountcastle, and John R. Thompson
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 386-389
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In statistical mechanics there are two quantities that directly relate to the probability that a system at a temperature fixed by a thermal reservoir has a particular energy. The density of states function is related to the multiplicity of the system and indicates that occupation probability increases with energy. The Boltzmann factor is related to the multiplicity of the reservoir and indicates that occupation probability decreases with energy. This seems contradictory until one remembers that a complete probability distribution is determined by the total multiplicity of the system and its surroundings, requiring the product of these two functions. We present evidence from individual and group interviews that students knew how each of these functions relates to multiplicity but did not recognize the need to combine the two to characterize the physical scenario.

T. I. Smith, D. B. Mountcastle, and J. R. Thompson, Identifying student difficulties with conflicting ideas in statistical mechanics, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 386-389 (2013)].

Students’ Understanding of Density: A Cognitive Linguistics Perspective
Philip Southey, Saalih Allie, and Dedra Demaree
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 390-393, doi:10.1063/1.4789734
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Density is an important, multifaceted concept that occurs at many levels of physics education. Previous research has shown that a primary instantiation of the concept, mass density, is not well understood by high school or university students. This study seeks to determine how students understand the broad concept of density, and whether particular aspects of their understanding are helpful in structuring the concept of charge density. Qualitative data were gathered in the form of questionnaires distributed to 172 freshmen comprising three different academic groups. Broad, open ended questions prompted for responses involving free writing and drawn diagrams. The data were analyzed by an approach suggested by Grounded Theory. Using the theoretical lens of Conceptual Metaphor Theory, six underlying (foothold) concepts were identified in terms of which density was conceptualized: ‘filled container’; ‘packing’; ‘weight/heaviness’; ‘intensive property’; ‘floating/sinking’; ‘impenetrability/solidity’. The foothold concept of ‘packing’ proved to be the most productive for conceptualizing ‘charge density’.

P. Southey, S. Allie, and D. Demaree, Students’ Understanding of Density: A Cognitive Linguistics Perspective, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 390-393 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789734.

Applying a framework for characterizing physics teaching assistants’ beliefs and practices
Benjamin T. Spike and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 394-397
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Teaching Assistants (TAs) play an important role in supporting research-based instructional environments, yet the connection between TAs' pedagogical beliefs and instructional practices is not well understood. We build upon a broad foundation of research on the nature of pedagogical content knowledge to develop an analytic framework for characterizing how physics TAs both describe and enact their roles as teachers. In a previous work [1], we started developing a framework for TA pedagogical beliefs and highlighted examples of emergent differences between TAs along one particular dimension, agency. In this paper, we extend this framework to include TAs' instructional goals, and their methods and purpose of assessment. Using examples drawn from several semesters of interviews and classroom videotape, we apply this framework and describe instances of both strong and weak coordination between TA beliefs and practices.

B. T. Spike and N. D. Finkelstein, Applying a framework for characterizing physics teaching assistants’ beliefs and practices, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 394-397 (2013)].

"Learning Arc": The process of resolving concerns through student-student discourse
Sean Stewart, Maria Angarita, Jared Durden, and Vashti Sawtelle
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 398-401
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In reformed classrooms that utilize student-student interactions, a student’s concerns can often be resolved through student-student discourse with minimal to no direct input from the instructor. To gain insight into such interactions, we used video data from a Florida International University reformed introductory physics classroom. We micro-analyzed a segment in which the discourse between a group of students leads to the resolution of a concern. In this study, we identified a pattern of discourse which we are calling a “Learning Arc.” In this paper, we present the “Learning Arc” as a 3-stage process by which students use discourse as a means to achieve a consensus that resolves a concern.

S. Stewart, M. Angarita, J. Durden, and V. Sawtelle, "Learning Arc": The process of resolving concerns through student-student discourse, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 398-401 (2013)].

How a gender gap in belonging contributes to the gender gap in physics participation
Jane Stout, Tiffany A. Ito, Noah D. Finkelstein, and Steven J. Pollock
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 402-405
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A great deal of research indicates that feeling a secure sense of belonging in academic settings is critical to students’ achievement. In the current work, we present data collected over multiple semesters of a calculus-based introductory physics class indicating that women feel a lower sense of belonging than men in physics. This finding is important because our data also indicate that having a strong sense of belonging in physics positively predicts the degree to which all students see the value of physics in their daily life (an outcome that predicts motivation and persistence in achievement settings) as well as performance on exams in the course. We identify one potential antecedent of women’s relatively lower sense of belonging in physics, namely, negative cultural stereotypes about women’s inferior ability in physics compared to men. We then discuss pedagogical strategies that might be employed to enhance women’s sense of belonging in physics.

J. Stout, T. A. Ito, N. D. Finkelstein, and S. J. Pollock, How a gender gap in belonging contributes to the gender gap in physics participation, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 402-405 (2013)].

3rd grade English language learners making sense of sound
Enrique Suarez and Valerie K. Otero
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 406-409
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Despite the extensive body of research that supports scientific inquiry and argumentation as cornerstones of physics learning, these strategies continue to be virtually absent in most classrooms, especially those that involve students who are learning English as a second language. This study presents results from an investigation of 3rd grade students’ discourse about how length and tension affect the sound produced by a string. These students came from a variety of language backgrounds, and all were learning English as a second language. Our results demonstrate varying levels, and uses, of experiential, imaginative, and mechanistic reasoning strategies. Using specific examples from students’ discourse, we will demonstrate some of the productive aspects of working within multiple language frameworks for making sense of physics. Conjectures will be made about how to utilize physics as a context for English Language Learners to further conceptual understanding, while developing their competence in the English language.

E. Suarez and V. K. Otero, 3rd grade English language learners making sense of sound, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 406-409 (2013)].

Influencing students’ relationships with physics through culturally relevant tools
Ben Van Dusen and Valerie K. Otero
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 410-413
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This study investigates how an urban, high school physics class responded to the inclusion of a classroom set of iPads and associated applications, such as screencasting. The participatory roles of students and the expressions of their relationships to physics were examined. Findings suggest that iPad technology altered classroom norms and student relationships to include increased student agency and use of evidence. Findings also suggest that the iPad provided a connection between physics, social status, and play. Videos, observations, interviews, and survey responses were analyzed to provide insight into the nature of these changes.

B. V. Dusen and V. K. Otero, Influencing students’ relationships with physics through culturally relevant tools, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 410-413 (2013)].

Upper-division student understanding of Coulomb's law: Difficulties with continuous charge distributions
Bethany R. Wilcox, Marcos D. Caballero, Rachel E. Pepper, and Steven J. Pollock
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 418-421, doi:10.1063/1.4789741
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Utilizing the integral expression of Coulomb’s Law to determine the electric potential from a continuous charge distribution is a canonical exercise in Electricity and Magnetism (E&M). In this study, we use both think-aloud interviews and responses to traditional exam questions to investigate student difficulties with this topic at the upper-division level. Leveraging a theoretical framework for the use of mathematics in physics, we discuss how students activate, construct, execute and reflect on the integral form of Coulomb’s Law when solving problems with continuous charge distributions. We present evidence that junior-level E&M students have difficulty mapping physical systems onto the mathematical expression for the Coulomb potential. Common challenges include difficulty expressing the difference vector in appropriate coordinates as well as determining expressions for the differential charge element and limits of integration for a specific charge distribution. We discuss possible implications of these findings for future research directions and instructional strategies.

B. R. Wilcox, M. D. Caballero, R. E. Pepper, and S. J. Pollock, Upper-division student understanding of Coulomb's law: Difficulties with continuous charge distributions, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 418-421 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789741.

New ways of investigating the canonical coin toss acceleration problem
Michael C. Wittmann and Jeffrey M. Hawkins
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 422-425
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Asking students about the acceleration of a tossed object is a well-studied problem in physics education research. Students frequently respond using reasoning that describes the velocity of the object, in particular that acceleration is zero at the top. We created new versions of the canonical multiple-choice Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation coin-toss questions to investigate what other reasoning students might use. Some students were asked "is the acceleration zero at the top?" Other students were told "the acceleration is not zero" and asked to explain. A third group answered the original multiple-choice version of the question. Our results suggest that some students give answers that they can explain are incorrect. We also find that some students’ responses about the acceleration at the turnaround point are affected by question format.

M. C. Wittmann and J. M. Hawkins, New ways of investigating the canonical coin toss acceleration problem, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 422-425 (2013)].

Differentiating expert and novice cognitive structures
Steven F. Wolf, Daniel P. Dougherty, and Gerd Kortemeyer
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 426-429, doi:10.1063/1.4789743
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A seminal study by Chi et al. firmly established the paradigm that novices categorize physics problems by “surface features” (e.g. “incline,” “pendulum,” “projectile motion,” . . . ), while experts use “deep structure” (e.g. “energy conservation,” “Newton 2,” . . . ). Yet, efforts to replicate the study frequently fail, since the ability to distinguish experts from novices is highly sensitive to the problem set being used. But what properties of problems are most important in problem sets that discriminate experts from novices in a measurable way? To answer this question, we studied the categorizations by known physics experts and novices using a large, diverse set of problems, in order to subsequently study how well these two groups can be discriminated using small subsets. Having a large initial set allowed us to form a large number of smaller subsets and study their properties. We found that the number of questions required to accurately classify experts and novices could be surprisingly small so long as the problem set is carefully crafted to be composed of problems with particular pedagogical and contextual features.

S. F. Wolf, D. P. Dougherty, and G. Kortemeyer, Differentiating expert and novice cognitive structures, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 426-429 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789743.

Promoting children's agency and communication skills in an informal science program
Rosemary Wulf, Kathleen Hinko, and Noah D. Finkelstein
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 430-433, doi:10.1063/1.4789744
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The Partnerships for Informal Science Education in the Community (PISEC) program at the University of Colorado Boulder brings together university and community institutions to create an environment where K-12 students join with university educators to engage in inquiry-based scientific practices after school. In our original framing, these after-school activities were developed to reinforce the traditional learning goals of the classroom, including mastering scientific content, skills and processes. Recently, the primary focus of the PISEC curriculum has been shifted towards the development of students’ scientific identity, an explicit objective of informal learning environments. The new curriculum offers students more activity choices, affords opportunities for scientific drawings and descriptions, and provides incentive for students to design their own experiments. We have analyzed student science notebooks from both old and new curricula and find that with the redesigned curriculum, students exhibit increased agency and more instances of scientific communication while still demonstrating substantial content learning gains.

R. Wulf, K. Hinko, and N. D. Finkelstein, Promoting children's agency and communication skills in an informal science program, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 430-433 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789744.

Authentic assessment of students' problem solving
Qing Xu, Kenneth Heller, Leonardo Hsu, and Bijaya Aryal
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 434-437, doi:10.1063/1.4789745
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Improving curricular materials and practices aimed at complex cognitive processes such as problem solving requires careful planning and useful tools for assessment. To illustrate the challenges of measuring a change in students’ problem solving in physics, we present the results of and a reflection on a pilot assessment of the effectiveness of computer problem-solving coaches in a large (200+ student) section of an introductory physics course.

Q. Xu, K. Heller, L. Hsu, and B. Aryal, Authentic assessment of students' problem solving, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 434-437 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789745.

Students’ understanding of dot product as a projection in no-context, work and electric flux problems
Genaro Zavala and Pablo Barniol
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 438-441, doi:10.1063/1.4789746
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In this article we investigate students’ understanding of dot product as a projection. In the first part, we compare students’ performance in three isomorphic multiple-choice problems: no-context, work and electric flux. We administered one of the three problems to 422 students who were in the process of completing required introductory physics courses. In the second part, we analyze the students’ ability to connect the physical concepts with the dot product’s formal representation. We carried out interviews with 14 students, in which they were asked to solve the same three isomorphic problems. Following the tests, we found a difference that was statistically significant: both physical context problems helped students select the projection interpretation option. However, the percentages of students that selected this option remained very low in the three problems. Moreover, during the interviews we noticed that students had serious difficulties in developing a coherent conceptual framework between the physical concepts and the dot product’s formal representation.

G. Zavala and P. Barniol, Students’ understanding of dot product as a projection in no-context, work and electric flux problems, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 438-441 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789746.

Development and Validation of the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey for Experimental Physics
Benjamin M. Zwickl, Noah D. Finkelstein, and H. J. Lewandowski
AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, pp. 442-445, doi:10.1063/1.4789747
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As part of a comprehensive effort to transform our undergraduate physics laboratories and evaluate the impacts of these efforts, we have developed the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey for Experimental Physics (E-CLASS). The E-CLASS assesses the changes in students’ attitudes about a variety of scientific laboratory practices before and after a lab course and compares attitudes with perceptions of the course grading requirements and laboratory practices. The E-CLASS is designed to give researchers insight into students’ attitudes and also to provide actionable evidence to instructors looking for feedback on their courses. We present the development, validation, and preliminary results from the initial implementation of the survey in three undergraduate physics lab courses.

B. M. Zwickl, N. D. Finkelstein, and H. J. Lewandowski, Development and Validation of the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey for Experimental Physics, 2012 PERC Proceedings [Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012], edited by P. V. Engelhardt, A. D. Churukian, and N. S. Rebello [AIP Conf. Proc. 1513, 442-445 (2013)], doi:10.1063/1.4789747.