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PERC 2014 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Correlations Between Math Background and Class Performance in Conceptual Physics
Abstract: The College of St. Scholastica teaches a one-semester conceptual physics class for students from a variety of majors, including pre-service teachers, students intending to become occupational therapists, and students fulfilling a natural sciences general education requirement.  There was no math pre-requisite for the class, but the class utilized math at the level of introductory middle-to-high school algebra. We investigated whether there was a correlation between students' math backgrounds and their performance in the class.  Student performance was assessed in three areas: conceptual questions, questions that required applying physics knowledge, and quantitative questions. Four years of data showed that, even controlling for student GPAs, students with less math preparation performed worse not only in the quantitative aspects of the course, but also in the conceptual and applied questions. This raises the question of why we see this disparity and how we can better support student learning in this type of class.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Lynne Raschke
The College St. Scholastica
1200 Kenwood Avenue
Duluth, MN 55811
Phone: 218-733-2241
and Co-Presenter(s)
Katheryne Anderson, The College of St. Scholastica