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Abstract Title: Examining student tendencies to explore alternate possibilities
Abstract: As part of a multi-year, multi-institutional effort, we have been investigating and assessing the development of student reasoning skills in introductory calculus-based physics courses.  Research in cognitive science suggests that there may be a link between student ability to consider alternative possibilities and student performance on physics problems –– particularly problems in which salient distracting features appear to prevent students from accessing relevant knowledge.  We have piloted new tasks designed to measure student ability to consider multiple possibilities when answering a physics problem.  These tasks measure the relative accessibility of a mental model (or possibility) as well as student ability to recognize whether or not this model is consistent with given problem constraints.  An overview of these tasks will be provided and preliminary results will be discussed.

* This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. DUE-1431857, DUE-1431541, DUE-1431940, DUE-1432765, DUE-1432052, and DRL-0962805.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session III
Poster Number: C85

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: J. Caleb Speirs
University of Maine
19 Getchell St
Brewer, ME 04412
and Co-Presenter(s)
MacKenzie R. Stetzer, University of Maine
Beth A. Lindsey, Penn State Greater Allegheny