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Abstract Title: Assessing a laboratory-based, inquiry-based algebra course
Abstract: We discuss the assessment of a laboratory-based, algebra-based physics course, taught in an inquiry-based environment without a text. The course was designed 10 years ago and never fully assessed. The materials, developed with funding from two NSF grants (1), began as a modification of Workshop Physics (2) and evolved to incorporate materials designed for other populations (engineering students, pre-service teachers), modifying and adapting those materials for students in the algebra-based physics course and integrating them with our own materials. It is taught in an inquiry-based environment, with the students working through the materials, performing experiments, developing models (both qualitative and mathematical) and periodic Socratic dialog discussions with the instructors.  We have now assessed the course as part of a large-scale departmental assessment, using conceptual inventories, written pre- and post-tests and scientific attitude surveys, such as CLASS. We present the results and discuss the need to develop more comprehensive assessment instruments.

This project is supported by the NIH grant 5RC1GM090897-02.

(1) CCLI #9981031: National Science Foundation - Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement grant Workshop Physics with Health Science Applications. and CCLI-EMD #0088780: National Science Foundation - Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement grant Humanized Physics -- Reforming Physics Using Multimedia and Mathematical Modeling.

(2)Priscilla W. Laws, Workshop Physics Activity Guide, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1999).
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Beth Thacker
Texas Tech University
Physics Dept., MS 41051
Lubbock, TX 79409
Phone: 806-742-2996
Fax: 806-742-1182
and Co-Presenter(s)
Keith West