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PERC 2009 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: What Do A Students Learn that D Students Don't?
Abstract: We have compared performance of students scoring 1 standard deviation below average (D group) with students scoring 1 standard deviation above average (A group) on final exam problems requiring analytic solutions and written plans.  While the D group received 38% fewer total points than the A group, the differences were more dramatic with respect to getting an entire problem correct: for both analytic solutions and plans of attack the A group relative to the D group gave ~ 3.6 times more good answers, and failed to identify all of the physical principles about 3.8 times less often.  We found that students' written plans of attack closely correlated with their analytic solutions in both groups.  We suggest that the typical "one topic per week" organization of introductory courses does not prepare students to identify the physical principles that apply to problems that might involve any of the concepts in the course.
Abstract Type: Targeted Poster
Targeted Session: Foundations of Course Reform for Introductory Physics

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Analia Barrantes
and Co-Presenter(s)
David E. Pritchard, MIT