Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Research on Physics First

Some blog followers might be interested in a recent post “Research on Physics First” [Hake (2011b)].


ABSTRACT: In response to my earlier postRe: Physics First empirical studies” [Hake (2011a)]:

(1) Zahra Sana Hazari wrote: “Check out Sadler & Tai's ‘Science’ report ‘The Two High-School Pillars Supporting College Science’ ” http://bit.ly/elkueZ ;

(2) Boris Korsunsky wrote (paraphrasing): “I've written two articles on Physics First students’ attitudes and expectations for ‘The Physics Teacher’: ‘Physics First? Survey First!’ at http://bit.ly/f0Is4V and another that will appear this Spring.”

Regarding Hazari's reference, I think Sadler & Tai's claim that their research casts doubt on the advisability of the physics/chemistry/biology sequence of the Physics First regime is problematic because their reliance on course grades to measure college student learning has been shown to be invalid by research on physics education and on collegiate education generally as described in Academically Adrift http://bit.ly/hOOK09.

Among recent reports that offer evidence in favor of the Physics First sequence are “Squaring the Circle: A Mathematically Rigorous Physics First” [Goodman & Etkina (2008)] and “Effectiveness of Ninth-Grade Physics in Maine: Conceptual Understanding” [O’Brien & Thompson (2009)].


To access the complete 15 kB post please click on http://bit.ly/gJIu4i .

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University

Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands

President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References which Recognize theInvention of the Internet (PEDARRII)






“Physics educators have led the way in developing and using objective tests to compare student learning gains in different types of courses, and chemists, biologists, and others are now developing similar instruments. These tests provide convincing evidence that students assimilate new knowledge more effectively in courses including active, inquiry-based, and collaborative learning, assisted by information technology, than in traditional courses.”

Wood & Gentile (2003)

REFERENCES [URL's shortened by http://bit.ly/ and accessed on 25 Jan 2011.]

Hake, R.R. 2011a. “Re: Physics First empirical studies,” online on the PhysLrnR archives at http://bit.ly/iefCMr . To access the archives of PhysLnR one needs to subscribe, but that takes only a few minutes by clicking on http://bit.ly/beuikb and then clicking on “Join or leave the list (or change settings).” If you're busy, then subscribe using the “NOMAIL” option under “Miscellaneous.” Then, as a subscriber, you may access the archives and/or post messages at any time, while receiving NO MAIL from the list!

Hake, R.R. 2011b. “Research on Physics First,” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at http://bit.ly/gJIu4i. Post of 25 Jan 2011 15:41:08-0800 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post were transmitted to various discussion lists.

Wood, W.B., & J.M. Gentile. 2003. “Teaching in a research context,” Science 302: 1510; 28 November; online to subscribers at http://bit.ly/9izfFz . A summary is online to all at http://bit.ly/9qGR6m .

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