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Abstract Title: Negotiating Meaning: The Role of Assessment Rubrics and Diagnostic Guidelines
Abstract: Formative assessment, learning from instructor's sample solution, tutoring students how to deal with a textbook problem: in all these situations novices and experts operate in a context they are likely to represent differently. In Vygotsky's terms, the "situation definition" of the expert often does not correspond to that of the student. "Situation definition" in the context of solving a physics problem refers both to realization of concepts and principles in physics that should be invoked to understand a situation, as well as to "action patterns" such as what the student is expected to do when approaching a problem.

Assessment rubrics made available for students can serve to some extent to bridge the gap between students' and instructors' situation definition. Namely, assessment rubrics can serve to convey desired practices as well as to support students' in self diagnosing their work. For example, general, process-oriented problem-solving rubrics may convey desired problem solving approaches.

This targeted poster session presents
a) examples of assessment and self diagnostic rubrics;
b) Dilemmas associated with their design such as how much credit to give to communicating the reasoning vs. Correct physics; and
c) research regarding their role in supporting the process of negotiating meaning from the point of view of the student and the instructor:  Do students perceive in the rubrics the message instructors hope to convey? What is their impact on learning?
Abstract Type: Targeted Poster Session

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Edit Yerushalmi
Weizmann Institute of Science
Rehovot, Israel, 76100

Targeted Poster Session Specific Information

Poster 1 Title: Quiz corrections: Improving learning by encouraging students to reflect on their mistakes
Poster 1 Authors: Charles Henderson, Western Michigan University,
Kathleen A. Harper, Denison University
Poster 1 Abstract: Most introductory physics instructors are disheartened that students typically view tests and quizzes as summative evaluations and, therefore, miss the tremendous opportunity to learn from their mistakes. One way to address this problem is for the instructor to assign and collect written student assessment corrections.  We have experimented with methods for dealing with this sort of assessment correction that require minimal instructor time. In this poster we i) provide some theoretical arguments supporting this practice, ii) describe several variations of assessment corrections that we have used, and iii) provide some data related to its effectiveness.
Poster 2 Title: Categorization of problems to assess and improve student proficiency as teacher and learner
Poster 2 Authors: Chandralekha Singh,
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh
Poster 2 Abstract: The ability to categorize problems is a measure of expertise in a domain. In order to help students learn effectively, instructors and teaching assistants (TAs) should have pedagogical content knowledge. They must be aware of the prior knowledge of students, consider the difficulty of the problems from students' perspective and design instruction that builds on what students already know. In this targeted poster, we discuss the response of graduate students enrolled in a TA training course to categorization tasks in which they were asked to group problems first from their own perspective, and later from the perspective of introductory physics students.  A majority of the graduate students performed an expert-like categorization of physics problems. However, when asked to categorize from the perspective of introductory students', most students expressed dismay, claiming that either the task was either impossible or pointless. We will discuss how categorization can be a useful tool for scaffolding and improving pedagogical content knowledge of instructors.
Poster 3 Title: Assessment of Student Problem Solving Processes
Poster 3 Authors: Jennifer Docktor and Ken Heller, University of Minnesota
Department of Science Teaching, Weizmann Institute of Science
Poster 3 Abstract: At Minnesota we have been developing a rubric to evaluate students' written solutions to physics problems that is easy to use and reasonably valid and reliable. The rubric identifies five general problem-solving processes and defines the criteria to attain a score in each (useful description, physics approach, application of physics, math procedures, and logical progression). An important test of the instrument is to check whether these categories represent the actual processes students engage in during problem solving. We will report an analysis of problem-solving interviews conducted with students enrolled in an introductory physics course and discuss the implications of these results for the rubric.
Poster 4 Title: Self-diagnosis, Scaffolding and Transfer: A Tale of Two Problems
Poster 4 Authors: Andrew Mason, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh
Elisheva Cohen, Department of Science Teaching, Weizmann Institute of Science
Chandralekha Singh, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh
Edit Yerushalmi, Department of Science Teaching, Weizmann Institute of Science
Poster 4 Abstract: Helping students learn from their own mistakes can help them develop habits of mind while learning physics content.  Based upon cognitive apprenticeship model, we asked students to self-diagnose their mistakes and learn from reflecting on their problem solution.  Varying levels of scaffolding support were provided to students in different groups to diagnose their errors on two context-rich problems that students originally solved in recitation quizzes.  The level of scaffolding necessary for successful self-diagnosis and performance on the transfer task was strongly dependent on the difficulty in invoking and applying physics principles to solve the problems and how far the transfer was. Moreover, a high level of sustained scaffolding may be necessary to teach students problem-solving skills. This targeted poster will summarize our findings from self-diagnosis and near and far transfer associated with two context-rich problems that students self-diagnosed such that one self-diagnosed problem was unusually difficult.
Poster 5 Title: Students' Perceptions of a Self-Diagnosis task
Poster 5 Authors: Rafi' Safadi, The Academic Arab College for Education in Israel, Haifa.
Department of Science Teaching, Weizmann Institute of Science.
Edit Yerushalmi, Department of Science Teaching, Weizmann Institute of Science.
Poster 5 Abstract: Teachers frequently make sample solutions available to their students, expecting them to learn from their mistakes. However many teachers are concerned that only few of their students engage in such an activity. What happens when students are given time and credit for identifying mistakes they have made by referring to the sample solution? What do students believe qualifies as "diagnosis"?

Our data consists of diagnosis work by 180 Arab-Israeli high school physics students, and 30 American students taking introductory algebra based physics. The findings indicate that while the instructor expected students to focus on the weaknesses of their solutions, many reflected also on their personal involvement in the solution process, their opinion as to the adequacy of the problem statement, etc. Students used the sample solution as a template and identified as deficiency any external deviation of their solution from it.