MacKenzie R. Stetzer, University of Maine
Department of Physics and Astronomy
& Maine Center for Research in STEM Education
Seminar: Investigating the Nature of Student Reasoning in Physics: New Methodologies*
Abstract: For more than 30 years, research-based materials developed by the physics education research community have helped transform introductory physics instruction. Many of these materials focus on the development of student conceptual understanding, place considerable emphasis on qualitative inferential reasoning, and scaffold that reasoning via carefully crafted sequences of questions. An emerging body of research, however, suggests that poor student performance on certain physics tasks – even after research-based instruction – may stem more from the nature of student reasoning itself than from specific conceptual difficulties. As part of a larger, multi-institutional effort to investigate and characterize the nature of student reasoning in physics, we have been developing and testing instruments and methodologies to probe student reasoning in greater detail. A variety of new research tasks and associated results will be discussed. The findings from these tasks continue to provide insight into the extent to which some reasoning phenomena in physics may be accounted for by dual-process theories of reasoning and decision-making.
* This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. DUE-1431857, DUE-1431541, DUE-1431940, DUE-1432765, DUE-1432052, and DRL-0962805.
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