Van de Bogart, Dounas-Frazer, Lewandowski, and Stetzer on metacognition in troubleshooting

Kevin L. Van De Bogart, Dimitri R. Dounas-Frazer, H. J. Lewandowski, and MacKenzie R. Stetzer

The Role of Metacognition in Troubleshooting: An Example From Electronics

2015 Physics Education Research Conference
Published Dec 18, 2015

Students in physics laboratory courses, particularly at the upper division, are often expected to engage in troubleshooting. Although there are numerous ways in which students may proceed when diagnosing a problem, not all approaches are equivalent in terms of providing meaningful insight. It is reasonable to believe that metacognition, by assisting students in making informed decisions, is an integral component of effective troubleshooting. We report on an investigation of authentic student troubleshooting in the context of junior-level electronics courses at two institutions. Think-aloud interviews were conducted with pairs of students as they attempted to repair a malfunctioning operational-amplifier circuit. Video data from the interviews have been analyzed to examine the relationship between each group's troubleshooting activities and instances of socially mediated metacognition. We present an analysis of a short episode from one interview.

Dounas-Frazer, Van De Bogart, Stetzer, and Lewandowski on troubleshooting in electronics labs

Dmitri R. Dounas-Frazer, Kevin L. Van De Bogart, MacKenzie R. Stetzer, and H. J. Lewandowski

The role of modeling in troubleshooting: An example from electronics

2015 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
Published Dec 18, 2015

Troubleshooting systems is integral to experimental physics in both research and instructional laboratory settings. The recently adopted AAPT Lab Guidelines identify troubleshooting as an important learning outcome of the undergraduate laboratory curriculum. We investigate students' model-based reasoning on a troubleshooting task using data collected in think-aloud interviews during which pairs of students attempted to diagnose and repair a malfunctioning circuit. Our analysis scheme is informed by the Experimental Modeling Framework (EMF), which describes physicists' use of mathematical and conceptual models when reasoning about experimental systems. We show how students' work on a troubleshooting task can be mapped onto the EMF.

Wittmann, Alvarado, and Millay on PD and teachers' goals for teaching energy

Michael C. Wittmann, Carolina Alvarado, and Laura Millay

Teacher responses to their multiple goals for teaching energy

2015 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
Published Dec 18, 2015

Teachers discussing pedagogical strategies to help students with an incorrect idea about potential energy expressed competing goals for guiding student thinking: keep it simple and explore complexity. On the one hand, teachers wished to avoid being "overly complicated" in their teaching, suggesting that they should have students stick to naming forms of energy in a system and naming principles like the law of conservation of energy. On the other hand, teachers recognized that students might also engage with, won-der about, and have good ideas about systems, mechanisms, and causality. In addition, teachers themselves showed a need develop operational understandings of energy transformation, conservation, and system even in a simple energy scenario, rather than simply identifying forms and principles. Thus, the initial de-sire for keeping instruction simple was contradicted both by the recognition that students were capable of more complex analysis, even if it interfered with the goals of simple instruction, and by an awareness that understanding even a simple energy scenario involves grappling with complex ideas.

Axthelm, Wittmann, Alvarado, and Millay on Idea Use Curves

Alex Axthelm, Michael C. Wittmann, Carolina Alvarado, and Laura Millay

Idea Use Curves

2015 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
Published Dec 18, 2015

A variety of tools have been created to understand student performance on multiple-choice tests, including analysis of normalized gain, item response curves, and more. These methods typically focus on correct answers. Many incorrect responses contain value and can be used as building blocks for instruction, but present tools do not account for productive reasoning leading to an incorrect response. Inspired by Item Response Curves, we introduce Idea Use Curves, which relate frequency with which an idea is used to student performance. We use this tool to consider ideas which may be present in both correct responses and distractors, letting us attend more to students’ conceptual understanding. This tool is made with the goal of identifying ideas that are consistently used by students who perform well or poorly, allowing researchers and instructors to look beyond the “correct/incorrect” paradigm. We explore student reasoning about energy as a proof of concept for this method.

Kranich, Wittmann, and Alvarado on teacher content knowledge affecting assessments

Greg Kranich, Michael C. Wittmann, and Carolina Alvarado

Teachers’ conflicting conceptual models and the efficacy of formative assessments

2015 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
Published Dec 18, 2015

Abstract: We studied a group of middle school teachers as they modified curriculum and developed common formative assessments on force and motion concepts. While designing an item and discussing goals for student understanding of acceleration, two of the teachers held opposing models (one of them being incomplete) about the implications of the sign of acceleration on the direction of an object’s motion and whether it was speeding up or slowing down. Failing to resolve the inconsistency between their individual models, the teachers wrote an assessment item for which both models would provide the same correct response, albeit for different reasons. The potential to elicit correct answers for incorrect reasons created ambiguity in the ability to recognize probable alternative conceptions. More specifically, the item had limited ability both to refine the teachers’ own conceptual understanding and to accurately inform their instruction, interventions, and feedback that would support students in identifying their mistakes.


Laverty MST on teacher knowledge

Dan Laverty
Investigating Teachers' Content Knowledge and Pedogogical Content Knowledge in a Middle School Physical Science Curriculum on Force and Motion

Teaching is a profession that requires the incorporation of many types of knowledge in order to create effective instructional experiences that promote student learning. Teachers need to blend their knowledge of the content with the methods for delivering that content and an understanding of their students' thinking. With increasing concern in the United States over student achievement in science and mathematics, there is ongoing discussion about which elements of teacher knowledge most directly correlate with effective instruction. How do specific strands of teacher knowledge blend to influence student learning outcomes? This study explores the roles of teacher content knowledge (CK) and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), particularly teacher knowledge of student ideas (KSI), in the context of a middle-school physical science curriculum on force and motion. The study takes place within the Maine Physical Sciences Partnership (MainePSP). The primary focus of the MainePSP is the professional development of physical science instructors in grades 6-9 via curriculum renewal using common instructional resources across multiple school districts in rural Maine.

Teachers and their students were given multiple-choice assessment items to examine teachers’ CK as well as the learning gains of their students. To measure teacher KSI, teachers were additionally asked to predict if a significant portion of their students [>10%) would select a multiple-choice option on a certain assessment item and to articulate student reasoning for selecting that choice. For both the CK and the KSI surveys, teacher performance varied widely, between 10% and 90% of the maximum score on each survey represented, with little to no correlation between CK and KSI scores. Overall results from the student assessment indicate that students come into the curriculum with incorrect ideas about force and motion, but are on par with comparable populations seen in the literature. Furthermore, there was little shift in student understanding of force and motion concepts after instruction of the curriculum. Additionally, teacher CK and KSI were not strong predictors of student performance when related to the narrow learning gains observed. We discuss possible factors to which this lack of correlation may be attributed, including the implementation process and elements of the curriculum itself, and also the resolution of the KSI instrument. Recommendations for future research are provided.

Recommended Citation
Laverty, Daniel Patrick, "Investigating Teachers' Content Knowledge and Pedogogical Content Knowledge in a Middle School Physical Science Curriculum on Force and Motion" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2410.