Physics Education Research Conference
"The Practice of Analysis as a Window on Theory"

August 6-7, 2003
Monona Terrace Convention Center - Madison WI

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Targeted Poster Session Abstracts

Abstracts are listed in order of their position in each session (x refers to session P, Q, or R). See the Schedule for more information.

Session xA: "The dynamics of student reasoning during an interview"

Organizer: Sanjay Rebello, Kansas State University
Sessions: PA (8:45 - 10) and RA (2 - 3:15)

In this targeted poster session we discuss the processes by which university students' reasoning patterns evolve during an interview. Our research spans several topical areas and our research participants include physical science, life-science, engineering and non-science majors in at least three different institutions. We focus on the ways in which students assemble various knowledge elements in a dynamic process of knowledge construction during an interview. These sense-making processes are examined in contexts that include situations similar to textbook problems, demonstrations, experiments, applications to real-world devices, and everyday phenomena.

Many researchers have used theoretical frameworks spanning a wide range of grain sizes to describe student knowledge from disjointed phenomenological primitives to comprehensive theories. We examine whether and how these frameworks can be adapted to explain the dynamics of student reasoning.

Additional details

Session xB: "Physics Education Research with special populations: How do we characterize and evaluate the special needs and resources of students who are underrepresented in STEM education?"

Organizer: Mel Sabella, Chicago State University
Sessions: PB (8:45 - 10) and QB (10:30 - 11:45)

The Physics Education Research community has grown rapidly in the last few years. Many new members of the field were trained at large traditional research universities, but have now taken positions and begun research programs at different types of colleges and universities throughout the country. These researchers are now in positions in which the student population is quite different than the populations they have encountered and worked with during their training. In addition, because PER-based materials, for the most part, have been developed and tested at large research universities, there is relatively little data documenting the effectiveness of these materials with students at smaller colleges and universities. At the same time, several members of the PER community are investigating the special needs and resources of the populations of students who are underrepresented in STEM education. This targeted poster session will be an opportunity for researchers who are beginning to conduct research on student learning at institutions that serve these students to share results and discuss future avenues of research.

Additional details

Session xC: "Women in the physics classroom: Considering gender as a variable for understanding our students" (Targeted Poster Session)

Organizers: Laura McCullough, University of Wisconsin - Stout and Heidi Fencl, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
Sessions: QC (10:30 - 11:45) and RC (2 - 3:15)

PER has a strong history of studying students as learners of physics and applying the resulting knowledge to the classroom. More recently, gender has been considered as a variable for understanding student experiences as learners of physics. In this session, presenters will explore how their methods and analyses have contributed to our understanding of students, especially women. Perspectives from chemistry as well as from physics will allow participants to contrast several approaches for a broader exploration.

Additional Details

Session xD: "Probing students' process skills and higher-level thinking"

Organizer: Xueli Zou, California State University, Chico
Sessions: PD (8:45 - 10) and QD (10:30-11:45)

Several NSF-supported projects in physics education have established their goals to help students not only develop a solid conceptual foundation but also gain process skills and higher-level thinking abilities. For instance, one of the goals of the Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE) is to help introductory physics students develop scientific investigation abilities. Investigating, developing, and evaluating the state of student meta-learning attitudes and skills is a goal of the Learning How To Learn Science project. The Remodeling University Physics aims to help introductory physics students acquire the modeling approach to problem solving.

A foundational challenge here is how to assess students' process skills and higher-level thinking, including questions as follows: How do we know that students possess the desired abilities and skills? What indicators do we have? What data can be used as evidence? How do we collect these data, analyze, and interpret them? This poster session will present some of ongoing studies related to these questions. The session will focus on the data collection and analytical approaches used to study the development of students' process skills and thinking abilities.

Additional details

Session xE: "Considering data from a broad perspective: what about including social, political, and economic factors in Physics Education Research?"

Organizer: Noah Finkelstein, University of Colorado, Boulder
Sessions: PE (8:45 - 10) and RE (2 - 3:15)

Each of these posters examines a particular data set from a lens that includes social, cultural, historical, political and or economic drives which shape and are shaped by the environments from which they are drawn. The explicit goal of this session is to describe the importance of including this broadest scale of analysis when creating and studying educational reforms.

Additional details

Session xF: "Methodologies of problem solving research"

Organizers: Thomas H. Foster, Southern Illinois University ­ Edwardsville and Kathleen A. Harper, The Ohio State University
Sessions: QF (10:30 - 11:45) and RF (2 - 3:15)

We propose a targeted poster session on methodologies of problem solving research. The focus will be on the different types of data one might collect and the subsequent analysis, and how these decisions relate to the specific area probed by the research. Each presenter will be asked to describe a useful technique, explain valid applications of that technique, and discuss how the generated data is analyzed.

Additional details

Session xG: "The Enrico Fermi School on Physics Education Research"

Organizer: David May, University of Maryland
Sessions: PG (8:45 - 10) and RG (2 - 3:15)

Additional details TBA

Contact Information

Michael C. Wittmann
Department of Physics and Astronomy
5709 Bennett Hall
University of Maine
Orono ME 04401-5709

tel: 207 - 581 - 1237
fax: 207 - 581 - 3410

Rachel E. Scherr
Department of Physics
University of Maryland
College Park MD 20742-4111

tel: 301 - 405 - 6179
fax: 301 - 314 - 9531

Home | Schedule | Session Formats | Presenters | Abstracts | Proceedings | PERC Series
Last updated 2003.07.28