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Abstract Title: Evaluating students' sense of authority when evaluating the quality of measurements
Abstract: Recent research at the introductory level suggests that most students judge the quality of a measurement based on a comparison with theory. To probe this dimension of students' judgments based on authority, we sought to evaluate whether students' responses about evaluations of authority in theory depended on context. We asked students which measurement of the acceleration due to gravity was 'better': (1) one given with uncertainty and found by `you and your friend' or `you and your research group' or (2) a textbook value with no reported uncertainty but more significant figures. Neither provided measurement was equal to the typically used value of 9.81 m/s^2. By deliberately structuring multiple possible forms of authority (e.g., precision, expertise, equipment, theory) we intended to draw out nuances in students' sense of authority in evaluating the quality of measurements. Here, we report on the judgments and justifications that students provide for the various contexts.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session II
Poster Number: B31
Contributed Paper Record: Contributed Paper Information
Contributed Paper Download: Download Contributed Paper

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Emily M Smith
Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics, Cornell University
and Co-Presenter(s)
Nicole Chodkowski, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University
N.G. Holmes, Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics, Cornell University