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Abstract Title: Modeling Middle Student Learning with Cognitive Developmental Psychology
Abstract: Cognitive developmental psychology often seeks to describe students' qualitative understanding of physical phenomena.  In turn, educators can use this research to improve instruction.  Siegler (1981) developed the "rule assessment" model for characterizing children's development of multi-factor reasoning.  By conceptualizing a multi-factor domain as a phenomenon comprised of dominant and subordinate factors, this model analyzes students' responses to discern whether their thinking appropriately includes neither factor, only one factor, or the relationship between both factors.  Students' rule levels can then be used in future analyses.  Here, we provide several examples and a demonstration of how we have used this method with middle-school students who learned about torque, projectile motion, and collisions using different instructional methods around simulations.  We show how the technique helps characterize various levels of qualitative reasoning, how these relate to quantitative reasoning, and how the method helps pinpoint the factors students attend to in their reasoning.
Abstract Type: Symposium Poster
Targeted Session: Adopting Theories and Methods from Outside PER

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Nicole Hallinen
Stanford University

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