Advancing Physics Education: Including and Assessing Scientific Practices
A major goal of physics courses is to give students new ways to think about, interpret, and make sense of the world around them. Research has consistently shown that many students taking university courses often leave (often with good grades) unable to engage with the world around them in ways that physicists do. To address this and other concerns about the current state of physics education, there is a growing movement to include the process of doing science more explicitly in our courses. Including these "Scientific Practices" in curriculum, instruction, and assessment are now at the forefront of transformations of K-12 science. To capitalize on this, university courses need to make similar transitions. In this talk, I will discuss my work thinking about how we can assess scientific practices in exam settings and how we can work with faculty and institutions to transform their courses to include scientific practices. This work informs the development of standardized assessments, professional development programs, and future research into making them better.