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Abstract Title: Observing the problem solving strategies of students
Abstract: We have observed first year undergraduate physics students at the University of Edinburgh attempting physics problems using the think-aloud protocol. A Livescribe smart pen was used to capture the students' pen strokes and speech in synchronisation.  This approach provides a less intrusive means of measuring students' behaviour than methods such as video recording, and more authentically captures how students would normally solve problems: without observers present, and with ordinary paper and pen. Problem solving activities were characterised by coding the think-aloud recordings with respect to identified problem solving behaviours, the recommended problem solving model given in class, and the representations used (diagrams, equations, words etc.).  The observed students were categorised into quartiles depending on previous exam score, allowing comparison between their quartile placing and their problem solving activities. Students in all observed quartiles showed very limited planning and self-assessment, but used multiple representations throughout the solution process.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster

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Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Ross Galloway
University of Edinburgh
James Clerk Maxwell Building
King's Buildings
Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ
and Co-Presenter(s)
Marsali Wallace, University of Edinburgh