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Physics Education Research: Laying the Basis for Improved Physics Instruction

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  1. Physics Education Research: Laying the Basis for Improved Physics Instruction David E. Meltzer Department of Physics and Astronomy Iowa State University Ames, Iowa U.S.A.

  2. Collaborators Tom Greenbowe (Department of Chemistry, ISU) Kandiah Manivannan (Southwest Missouri State University) Laura McCullough (University of Wisconsin, Stout) Leith Allen (Ohio State University) Graduate Students Jack Dostal (ISU/Montana State) Tina Fanetti (Western Iowa TCC) Ngoc-Loan Nguyen Larry Engelhardt Warren Christensen Post-doc Irene Grimberg Teaching Assistants Michael Fitzpatrick Agnès Kim Sarah Orley David Oesper Undergraduate Students Nathan Kurtz Eleanor Raulerson (Grinnell, now U. Maine) Funding National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education Division of Research, Evaluation and Communication ISU Center for Teaching Excellence Miller Faculty Fellowship 1999-2000 (with T. Greenbowe) CTE Teaching Scholar 2002-2003

  3. Collaborators Tom Greenbowe (Department of Chemistry, ISU) Kandiah Manivannan (Southwest Missouri State University) Laura McCullough (University of Wisconsin, Stout) Leith Allen (Ohio State University) Graduate Students Jack Dostal (ISU/Montana State) Tina Fanetti (Western Iowa TCC) Ngoc-Loan Nguyen Larry Engelhardt Warren Christensen Post-doc Irene Grimberg Teaching Assistants Michael Fitzpatrick Agnès Kim Sarah Orley David Oesper Undergraduate Students Nathan Kurtz Eleanor Raulerson (Grinnell, now U. Maine) Funding National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education Division of Research, Evaluation and Communication ISU Center for Teaching Excellence Miller Faculty Fellowship 1999-2000 (with T. Greenbowe) CTE Teaching Scholar 2002-2003

  4. Collaborators Tom Greenbowe (Department of Chemistry, ISU) Kandiah Manivannan (Southwest Missouri State University) Laura McCullough (University of Wisconsin, Stout) Leith Allen (Ohio State University) Graduate Students Jack Dostal (ISU/Montana State) Tina Fanetti (Western Iowa TCC) Ngoc-Loan Nguyen Larry Engelhardt Warren Christensen Post-doc Irene Grimberg Teaching Assistants Michael Fitzpatrick Agnès Kim Sarah Orley David Oesper Undergraduate Students Nathan Kurtz Eleanor Raulerson (Grinnell, now U. Maine) Funding National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education Division of Research, Evaluation and Communication ISU Center for Teaching Excellence Miller Faculty Fellowship 1999-2000 (with T. Greenbowe) CTE Teaching Scholar 2002-2003

  5. Collaborators Tom Greenbowe (Department of Chemistry, ISU) Kandiah Manivannan (Southwest Missouri State University) Laura McCullough (University of Wisconsin, Stout) Leith Allen (Ohio State University) Graduate Students Jack Dostal(ISU/Montana State) Tina Fanetti(M.S. 2001; now at UMSL) Larry Engelhardt Ngoc-Loan Nguyen Warren Christensen Post-doc Irene Grimberg Teaching Assistants Michael Fitzpatrick Agnès Kim Sarah Orley David Oesper Undergraduate Students Nathan Kurtz Eleanor Raulerson (Grinnell, now U. Maine) Funding National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education Division of Research, Evaluation and Communication ISU Center for Teaching Excellence Miller Faculty Fellowship 1999-2000 (with T. Greenbowe) CTE Teaching Scholar 2002-2003

  6. Collaborators Tom Greenbowe (Department of Chemistry, ISU) Kandiah Manivannan (Southwest Missouri State University) Laura McCullough (University of Wisconsin, Stout) Leith Allen (Ohio State University) Graduate Students Jack Dostal(ISU/Montana State) Tina Fanetti(M.S. 2001; now at UMSL) Larry Engelhardt Ngoc-Loan Nguyen (M.S. 2003) Warren Christensen Post-doc Irene Grimberg Teaching Assistants Michael Fitzpatrick Agnès Kim Sarah Orley David Oesper Undergraduate Students Nathan Kurtz Eleanor Raulerson (Grinnell, now U. Maine) Funding National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education Division of Research, Evaluation and Communication ISU Center for Teaching Excellence Miller Faculty Fellowship 1999-2000 (with T. Greenbowe) CTE Teaching Scholar 2002-2003

  7. Collaborators Tom Greenbowe (Department of Chemistry, ISU) Kandiah Manivannan (Southwest Missouri State University) Laura McCullough (University of Wisconsin, Stout) Leith Allen (Ohio State University) Graduate Students Jack Dostal(ISU/Montana State) Tina Fanetti(M.S. 2001; now at UMSL) Larry Engelhardt Ngoc-Loan Nguyen (M.S. 2003) Warren Christensen Post-doc Irene Grimberg Teaching Assistants Michael Fitzpatrick Agnès Kim Sarah Orley David Oesper Undergraduate Students Nathan Kurtz Eleanor Raulerson (Grinnell, now U. Maine) Funding National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education Division of Research, Evaluation and Communication ISU Center for Teaching Excellence Miller Faculty Fellowship 1999-2000 (with T. Greenbowe) CTE Teaching Scholar 2002-2003

  8. Collaborators Tom Greenbowe (Department of Chemistry, ISU) Kandiah Manivannan (Southwest Missouri State University) Laura McCullough (University of Wisconsin, Stout) Leith Allen (Ohio State University) Graduate Students Jack Dostal(ISU/Montana State) Tina Fanetti(M.S. 2001; now at UMSL) Larry Engelhardt Ngoc-Loan Nguyen (M.S. 2003) Warren Christensen Post-doc Irene Grimberg Teaching Assistants Michael Fitzpatrick Agnès Kim Sarah Orley David Oesper Undergraduate Students Nathan Kurtz Eleanor Raulerson (Grinnell, now U. Maine) Funding National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education Division of Research, Evaluation and Communication ISU Center for Teaching Excellence Miller Faculty Fellowship 1999-2000 (with T. Greenbowe) CTE Teaching Scholar 2002-2003

  9. Collaborators Tom Greenbowe (Department of Chemistry, ISU) Kandiah Manivannan (Southwest Missouri State University) Laura McCullough (University of Wisconsin, Stout) Leith Allen (Ohio State University) Graduate Students Jack Dostal(ISU/Montana State) Tina Fanetti(M.S. 2001; now at UMSL) Larry Engelhardt Ngoc-Loan Nguyen (M.S. 2003) Warren Christensen Post-doc Irene Grimberg Teaching Assistants Michael Fitzpatrick Agnès Kim Sarah Orley David Oesper Undergraduate Students Nathan Kurtz Eleanor Raulerson (Grinnell, now U. Maine) Funding National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education Division of Research, Evaluation and Communication ISU Center for Teaching Excellence Miller Faculty Fellowship 1999-2000 (with T. Greenbowe) CTE Teaching Scholar 2002-2003

  10. Collaborators Tom Greenbowe (Department of Chemistry, ISU) Kandiah Manivannan (Southwest Missouri State University) Laura McCullough (University of Wisconsin, Stout) Leith Allen (Ohio State University) Graduate Students Jack Dostal(ISU/Montana State) Tina Fanetti(M.S. 2001; now at UMSL) Larry Engelhardt Ngoc-Loan Nguyen (M.S. 2003) Warren Christensen Post-doc Irene Grimberg Teaching Assistants Michael Fitzpatrick Agnès Kim Sarah Orley David Oesper Undergraduate Students Nathan Kurtz Eleanor Raulerson (Grinnell, now U. Maine) Funding National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education Division of Research, Evaluation and Communication ISU Center for Teaching Excellence Miller Faculty Fellowship 1999-2000 (with T. Greenbowe) CTE Teaching Scholar 2002-2003

  11. Outline Physics Education as a Research Problem • Goals and Methods of Physics Education Research • Some Specific Issues Research-Based Curriculum Development • Principles of research-based curriculum development • Examples Research-Based Instructional Methods • Principles of research-based instruction • Examples of research-based instructional methods Assessment of Instruction • Measurement of learning gain

  12. Outline Physics Education as a Research Problem • Goals and Methods of Physics Education Research • Some Specific Issues Research-Based Curriculum Development • Principles of research-based curriculum development • Examples Research-Based Instructional Methods • Principles of research-based instruction • Examples of research-based instructional methods Assessment of Instruction • Measurement of learning gain

  13. Outline Physics Education as a Research Problem • Goals and Methods of Physics Education Research • Some Specific Issues Research-Based Curriculum Development • Principles of research-based curriculum development • Examples Research-Based Instructional Methods • Principles of research-based instruction • Examples of research-based instructional methods Assessment of Instruction • Measurement of learning gain

  14. Outline Physics Education as a Research Problem • Goals and Methods of Physics Education Research • Some Specific Issues Research-Based Curriculum Development • Principles of research-based curriculum development • Examples Research-Based Instructional Methods • Principles of research-based instruction • Examples of research-based instructional methods Assessment of Instruction • Measurement of learning gain

  15. Outline Physics Education as a Research Problem • Goals and Methods of Physics Education Research • Some Specific Issues Research-Based Curriculum Development • Principles of research-based curriculum development • Examples Research-Based Instructional Methods • Principles of research-based instruction • Examples of research-based instructional methods Assessment of Instruction • Measurement of learning gain

  16. Outline Physics Education as a Research Problem • Goals and Methods of Physics Education Research • Some Specific Issues Research-Based Curriculum Development • Principles of research-based curriculum development • Examples Research-Based Instructional Methods • Principles of research-based instruction • Examples of research-based instructional methods Assessment of Instruction • Measurement of learning gain

  17. Outline Physics Education as a Research Problem • Goals and Methods of Physics Education Research • Some Specific Issues Research-Based Curriculum Development • Principles of research-based curriculum development • Examples Research-Based Instructional Methods • Principles of research-based instruction • Examples of research-based instructional methods Assessment of Instruction • Measurement of learning gain

  18. Outline Physics Education as a Research Problem • Goals and Methods of Physics Education Research • Some Specific Issues Research-Based Curriculum Development • Principles of research-based curriculum development • Examples Research-Based Instructional Methods • Principles of research-based instruction • Examples of research-based instructional methods Assessment of Instruction • Measurement of learning gain

  19. Outline Physics Education as a Research Problem • Goals and Methods of Physics Education Research • Some Specific Issues Research-Based Curriculum Development • Principles of research-based curriculum development • Examples Research-Based Instructional Methods • Principles of research-based instruction • Examples of research-based instructional methods Assessment of Instruction • Measurement of learning gain

  20. Outline Physics Education as a Research Problem • Goals and Methods of Physics Education Research • Some Specific Issues Research-Based Curriculum Development • Principles of research-based curriculum development • Examples Research-Based Instructional Methods • Principles of research-based instruction • Examples of research-based instructional methods Assessment of Instruction • Measurement of learning gain

  21. Outline Physics Education as a Research Problem • Goals and Methods of Physics Education Research • Some Specific Issues Research-Based Curriculum Development • Principles of research-based curriculum development • Examples Research-Based Instructional Methods • Principles of research-based instruction • Examples of research-based instructional methods Assessment of Instruction • Measurement of learning gain

  22. Outline Physics Education as a Research Problem • Goals and Methods of Physics Education Research • Some Specific Issues Research-Based Curriculum Development • Principles of research-based curriculum development • Examples Research-Based Instructional Methods • Principles of research-based instruction • Examples of research-based instructional methods Assessment of Instruction • Measurement of learning gain

  23. Physics Education As a Research Problem Within the past 25 years, physicists have begun to treat the teaching and learning of physics as a research problem • Systematic observation and data collection; reproducible experiments • Identification and control of variables • In-depth probing and analysis of students’ thinking

  24. Physics Education As a Research Problem Within the past 25 years, physicists have begun to treat the teaching and learning of physics as a research problem • Systematic observation and data collection; reproducible experiments • Identification and control of variables • In-depth probing and analysis of students’ thinking

  25. Physics Education As a Research Problem Within the past 25 years, physicists have begun to treat the teaching and learning of physics as a research problem • Systematic observation and data collection; reproducible experiments • Identification and control of variables • In-depth probing and analysis of students’ thinking

  26. Physics Education As a Research Problem Within the past 25 years, physicists have begun to treat the teaching and learning of physics as a research problem • Systematic observation and data collection; reproducible experiments • Identification and control of variables • In-depth probing and analysis of students’ thinking

  27. Physics Education As a Research Problem Within the past 25 years, physicists have begun to treat the teaching and learning of physics as a research problem • Systematic observation and data collection; reproducible experiments • Identification and control of variables • In-depth probing and analysis of students’ thinking

  28. Physics Education As a Research Problem Within the past 25 years, physicists have begun to treat the teaching and learning of physics as a research problem • Systematic observation and data collection; reproducible experiments • Identification and control of variables • In-depth probing and analysis of students’ thinking PhysicsEducation Research (“PER”)

  29. Goals of PER • Improve effectiveness and efficiency of physics instruction • measure and assess learning of physics (not merely achievement) • Develop instructional methods and materials that address obstacles which impede learning • Critically assess and refine instructional innovations

  30. Goals of PER • Improve effectiveness and efficiency of physics instruction • measure and assess learning of physics (not merely achievement) • Develop instructional methods and materials that address obstacles which impede learning • Critically assess and refine instructional innovations

  31. Goals of PER • Improve effectiveness and efficiency of physics instruction • measure and assess learning of physics (not merely achievement) • Develop instructional methods and materials that address obstacles which impede learning • Critically assess and refine instructional innovations

  32. Goals of PER • Improve effectiveness and efficiency of physics instruction • measure and assess learning of physics (not merely achievement) • Develop instructional methods and materials that address obstacles which impede learning • Critically assess and refine instructional innovations

  33. Goals of PER • Improve effectiveness and efficiency of physics instruction • measure and assess learning of physics (not merely achievement) • Develop instructional methods and materials that address obstacles which impede learning • Critically assess and refine instructional innovations

  34. Methods of PER • Develop and test diagnostic instruments that assess student understanding • Probe students’ thinking through analysis of written and verbal explanations of their reasoning, supplemented by multiple-choice diagnostics • Assess learning through measures derived from pre- and post-instruction testing

  35. Methods of PER • Develop and test diagnostic instruments that assess student understanding • Probe students’ thinking through analysis of written and verbal explanations of their reasoning, supplemented by multiple-choice diagnostics • Assess learning through measures derived from pre- and post-instruction testing

  36. Methods of PER • Develop and test diagnostic instruments that assess student understanding • Probe students’ thinking through analysis of written and verbal explanations of their reasoning, supplemented by multiple-choice diagnostics • Assess learning through measures derived from pre- and post-instruction testing

  37. Methods of PER • Develop and test diagnostic instruments that assess student understanding • Probe students’ thinking through analysis of written and verbal explanations of their reasoning, supplemented by multiple-choice diagnostics • Assess learning through measures derived from pre- and post-instruction testing

  38. What PER Can NOT Do • Determine “philosophical” approach toward undergraduate education • target primarily future science professionals? • focus on maximizing achievement of best-prepared students? • achieve significant learning gains for majority of enrolled students? • try to do it all? • Specify the goals of instruction in particular learning environments • physics concept knowledge • quantitative problem-solving ability • laboratory skills • understanding nature of scientific investigation

  39. What PER Can NOT Do • Determine “philosophical” approach toward undergraduate education • focus on majority of students, or on subgroup? • Specify the goals of instruction in particular learning environments • proper balance among “concepts,” problem-solving, etc. • physics concept knowledge • quantitative problem-solving ability • laboratory skills • understanding nature of scientific investigation

  40. What PER Can NOT Do • Determine “philosophical” approach toward undergraduate education • focus on majority of students, or on subgroup? • Specify the goals of instruction in particular learning environments • proper balance among “concepts,” problem-solving, etc. • physics concept knowledge • quantitative problem-solving ability • laboratory skills • understanding nature of scientific investigation

  41. Active PER Groups in Ph.D.-granting Physics Departments **leading producers of Ph.D.’s

  42. Primary Trends in PER • Research into Student Understanding • Research-based Curriculum Development • Assessment of Instructional Methods • Preparation of K-12 Physics and Science Teachers

  43. Primary Trends in PER • Research into Student Understanding • Research-based Curriculum Development • Assessment of Instructional Methods • Preparation of K-12 Physics and Science Teachers

  44. Primary Trends in PER • Research into Student Understanding • Research-based Curriculum Development • Assessment of Instructional Methods • Preparation of K-12 Physics and Science Teachers

  45. Primary Trends in PER • Research into Student Understanding • Research-based Curriculum Development • Assessment of Instructional Methods • Preparation of K-12 Physics and Science Teachers

  46. Primary Trends in PER • Research into Student Understanding • Research-based Curriculum Development • Assessment of Instructional Methods • Preparation of K-12 Physics and Science Teachers

  47. Major Curriculum Development Projects • U.S. Air Force Academy • Just-in-Time Teaching [large classes] • U. Arizona; Montana State • Lecture Tutorials for Introductory Astronomy • Arizona State U. • Modeling Instruction [primarily high-school teachers] • Davidson College • Physlets • Harvard • ConcepTests [“Peer Instruction”] • Indiana University • Socratic-Dialogue Inducing Labs • Iowa State U. • Workbook for Introductory Physics • Kansas State U. • Visual Quantum Mechanics • U. Massachusetts, Amherst • Minds-On Physics [high school]

  48. Major Curriculum Development Projects • U.S. Air Force Academy • Just-in-Time Teaching [large classes] • U. Arizona; Montana State • Lecture Tutorials for Introductory Astronomy • Arizona State U. • Modeling Instruction [primarily high-school teachers] • Davidson College • Physlets • Harvard • ConcepTests [“Peer Instruction”] • Indiana University • Socratic-Dialogue Inducing Labs • Iowa State U. • Workbook for Introductory Physics • Kansas State U. • Visual Quantum Mechanics • U. Massachusetts, Amherst • Minds-On Physics [high school]

  49. Major Curriculum Development Projects [cont’d] • U. Maryland; U. Maine; CCNY • New Model Course in Quantum Physics; Activity-based Physics Tutorials • U. Minnesota • Cooperative Group Problem Solving • U. Nebraska; Texas Tech U. • Physics with Human Applications • North Carolina State; U. Central Florida • SCALE-UP [large classes]; Matter and Interactions • Oregon State U. • Paradigms in Physics [upper-level] • Rutgers; Ohio State U. • Investigative Science Learning Environment • San Diego State U. • Constructing Physics Understanding • Tufts; U. Oregon; Dickinson College • Real-time Physics; Workshop Physics [“MBL”] • U. Wash • Physics by Inquiry; Tutorials in Introductory Physics

  50. Types of Curriculum Development(lots of overlaps) • Lab-based • Large-class (interactive lectures) • Small-class (group learning) • High-School • Technology-based • Upper-level • Teacher Preparation