Date of Award
Master of Science
Donald R Franceschetti
There are several factors that contribute to the low success rates of introductory, calculus-based physics courses. A significant factor is prior experience. The Physics Experience Survey instrument that measures a student‘s prior experience learning physics will be discussed. A student is classified as either a novice learner, continuing learner, or experienced learner based on their responses to questions about prior coursework and confidence with specific physics topics. Administration of this survey to 123 students is an attempt to identify novice physics learners in calculus-based introductory physics courses who might benefit from a low-cost, 7-week (14 total contact hours) course supplement emphasizing fundamental skills and topics. Correlations between experience level and final course grade, first exam grade, and learner level are discussed. The course supplement and its impact on novice physics learners‘ conceptual understanding (as measured by the Force Concept Inventory) and problem solving skills (as measured by the Problem Solving Assessment) is described.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Foster, R Wesley, "Preparatory Physics for Scientists and Engineers: An Interactive Course Supplement based on the Assessment of the Initial Conditions of Physics Experience" (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 208.