Wright State University Physics Department Seminar
Friday, February 14, 2014
1:15pm in 341 Oelman Hall
"Epistemic games as an analysis tool for physics final exam questions"
By Adrienne Traxler, Florida International University
The HHMI-funded FIU Science Collaborative works with faculty from biology, chemistry, and physics to plan and carry out course reform with the goal of improving and better assessing student learning. I will focus on one research project to come out of this collaboration: the analysis of common final exam questions from six classes of introductory calculus-based physics. Instructional style for the courses ranged between traditional lecture-laboratory, a modified lecture-lab-recitation, and studio-format inquiry-based sections. Scoring of the exams using an Advanced Placement rubric showed significant differences in average score between the instructional styles. To elaborate these differences and other features of the data set, we adapted Tuminaro and Redish’s framework of epistemic games to code and analyze the solutions. Example “games” played by students might involve unifying mathematical and verbal explanations, annotating a diagram of the relevant motion, or inappropriately deploying an earlier equation to solve for a target quantity. I will discuss how this analysis framework can characterize student solutions more richly than raw scores, and give preliminary results of work tying epistemic game usage to problem-solving expertise.