Department of Physics
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Detecting Changes in Student Understanding
As a field, physics education research is fundamentally concerned with modeling how people think about physics. In this talk, I discuss two research programs for measuring how, what, and why students learn physics. In the first, a large between-groups study of introductory students reveals learning and forgetting curves predicted by cognitive science but heretofore unmeasured in physics. In the second, qualitative case-studies of middle- and upper-division physics majors allows the construction of developmental trends for pre-service physicists. These developmental trends lead to theory-backed curriculum development, which I will discuss briefly.