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How traditional physics coursework limits problem-solving opportunities
written by Barron J. Montgomery, Argenta M. Price, and Carl E. Wieman
A major goal of physics education is for students to develop problem-solving skills. To become expert problem-solvers, students need to deliberately practice those skills. In this analysis, we defined problem-solving skills as a set of 29 decisions that were previously identified as defining the problem-solving process of expert scientists. We quantified the amount of practice undergraduate physics students get at making each decision by coding the decisions required in assignments from introductory, intermediate, and advanced physics courses at a prestigious university. A research-focused lab course was the only example that offered substantial practice at a large range of decisions. Problems assigned in the traditional coursework required only a few decisions and routinely removed potential opportunities for students to make other decisions. This analysis suggests that to better prepare undergraduates for solving problems in the real world, we must offer more opportunities for students to make and act on problem-solving decisions.
Physics Education Research Conference 2023
Part of the PER Conference series
Sacramento, CA: July 19-20, 2023
Pages 230-235
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Applied Research
- Instructional Material Design
= Problem/Question
Education - Basic Research
- Problem Solving
= Expert-Novice Comparisons
= Processes
- Student Characteristics
= Skills
- Upper Undergraduate
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Researchers
- Professional/Practitioners
- Educators
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Format:
application/pdf
Mirror:
https://doi.org/10.1119/perc.2023…
Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the published article's author(s), title, proceedings citation, and DOI.
Rights Holder:
American Association of Physics Teachers
DOI:
10.1119/perc.2023.pr.Montgomery
Keyword:
PERC 2023
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created September 20, 2023 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
September 27, 2023 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
October 15, 2023
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Record Link
AIP Format
B. Montgomery, A. Price, and C. Wieman, , presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2023, Sacramento, CA, 2023, WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=16588&DocID=5768).
AJP/PRST-PER
B. Montgomery, A. Price, and C. Wieman, How traditional physics coursework limits problem-solving opportunities, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2023, Sacramento, CA, 2023, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=16588&DocID=5768>.
APA Format
Montgomery, B., Price, A., & Wieman, C. (2023, July 19-20). How traditional physics coursework limits problem-solving opportunities. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2023, Sacramento, CA. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=16588&DocID=5768
Chicago Format
Montgomery, B, A. Price, and C. Wieman. "How traditional physics coursework limits problem-solving opportunities." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2023, Sacramento, CA, July 19-20, 2023. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=16588&DocID=5768 (accessed 21 February 2024).
MLA Format
Montgomery, Barron J., Argenta M. Price, and Carl Wieman. "How traditional physics coursework limits problem-solving opportunities." Physics Education Research Conference 2023. Sacramento, CA: 2023. 230-235 of PER Conference. 21 Feb. 2024 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=16588&DocID=5768>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{ Author = "Barron J. Montgomery and Argenta M. Price and Carl Wieman", Title = {How traditional physics coursework limits problem-solving opportunities}, BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2023}, Pages = {230-235}, Address = {Sacramento, CA}, Series = {PER Conference}, Month = {July 19-20}, Year = {2023} }
Refer Export Format

%A Barron J. Montgomery %A Argenta M. Price %A Carl Wieman %T How traditional physics coursework limits problem-solving opportunities %S PER Conference %D July 19-20 2023 %P 230-235 %C Sacramento, CA %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=16588&DocID=5768 %O Physics Education Research Conference 2023 %O July 19-20 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Conference Proceedings %A Montgomery, Barron J. %A Price, Argenta M. %A Wieman, Carl %D July 19-20 2023 %T How traditional physics coursework limits problem-solving opportunities %B Physics Education Research Conference 2023 %C Sacramento, CA %P 230-235 %S PER Conference %8 July 19-20 %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=16588&DocID=5768


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