Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Measuring Physics Understanding on Time Scales from Milliseconds to Months
(Conferences / Seminars / Lectures)
Andrew Heckler from The Ohio State University will lead a seminar on "Measuring physics understanding on time scales from milliseconds to months." more information...
How and why does student understanding of physics change with time? When simple physics questions are posed to students, not only does this result in interesting patterns of answers, but answering patterns also vary over a wide range of timescales. Such patterns provide important insight into the nature of student learning and understanding as well as the effects of instruction. In this talk, I will discuss introductory physics student performance on two time scales. First, how do student responses evolve over the term of a physics course? By randomly sampling different students throughout the term, we have found clear patterns of rapid learning, forgetting, and interference between related topics. Furthermore, these changes have been found to correspond only to relevant homework assignments rather than relevant lectures or midterms. Second, what can be learned from measuring student response times? On the scale of hundreds to thousands of milliseconds, there are clear patterns of response times that coincide with response choices. For example, on simple physics multiple choice tasks, students will often choose the response that is most rapidly processed, even at the expense of accuracy. These results suggest that performance on these physics questions is strongly influenced by automatic implicit cognitive processes that are independent of explicit physics knowledge.