The effect of educational environment on representational competence in introductory physics
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The effect of educational environment on representational competence in introductory physics. Patrick Kohl and Noah Finkelstein University of Colorado at Boulder. Outline. Review of research questions and original study Performance data from additional studies

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The effect of educational environment on representational competence in introductory physics

The effect of educational environment on representational competence in introductory physics

Patrick Kohl and Noah Finkelstein

University of Colorado at Boulder


Outline
Outline competence in introductory physics

  • Review of research questions and original study

  • Performance data from additional studies

  • Analysis of representational content of course environments

  • Conclusions


Introduction
Introduction competence in introductory physics

  • Original study investigated:

    • Effect of problem representation on student performance (student representational competence)

    • Effect of providing students with a choice of problem representation (student meta-representational competence)


Introduction1
Introduction competence in introductory physics

  • Student performance was strongly affected by representation

  • Effect of representation choice was strong and either positive or negative


Research questions
Research questions competence in introductory physics

  • Can we explain the choice/control splits?

  • Will these effects be present in other courses?

  • Why or why not?


Study methods
Study methods competence in introductory physics

  • Four question pre-recitation homework

    • Verbal, mathematical, graphical, pictorial question formats

  • One question recitation quiz in one of four formats

  • Half receive format at random, half choose

  • Study covered two topic areas in each of Phys 2020 (Trad), 2010 (Reform), 2020 (Reform)


Atomic phys quizzes pictorial verbal
Atomic phys. quizzes, pictorial & verbal competence in introductory physics


Choice control splits
Choice/control splits competence in introductory physics


Choice control splits1
Choice/Control splits competence in introductory physics

  • Effect of instruction appears to be strong

  • Hypothesis: Reform style using broader selection of representation imparts broader representational skill sets, reducing splits

  • Is analysis of lectures and exams consistent?


Study methods1
Study methods competence in introductory physics

  • Videotaped several lectures from each class, analyzed in terms of representation use

  • Compared representation use on class exams

  • Conducted problem-solving interviews in 2010 (Reform) and 2020 (Reform) sections


Exams
Exams competence in introductory physics

  • Means by which students are held responsible for representation use

  • Each exam sub-problem has its representational content assessed

  • We tally fraction of points possible associated with each representation


Averaged exam content
Averaged exam content competence in introductory physics


Course analysis
Course analysis competence in introductory physics

  • Both reform-style used more representations in a more integrated way

  • Could plausibly account for quiz performance data

  • Course also included other components: recitation, lab, homeworks


Conclusions
Conclusions competence in introductory physics

  • Both micro- and macro-level sources of performance variation

  • Students have fairly robust opinions of their own representational competence

    • Opinions are cross-context; skills are not necessarily

  • Pervasive use of different/multiple representations in instruction can have a noticeable effect on student skills


Acknowledgements
Acknowledgements competence in introductory physics

  • This work was supported in part by an NSF Graduate Fellowship and by Colorado PhysTEC.

  • Special thanks to the PER group at CU-Boulder and to Drs. Beale, Munsat, and Peterson.


Performance data traditional 2020
Performance data – traditional 2020 competence in introductory physics


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