Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What Mathematicians Might Learn From Physicists - Response by Bressoud

In response to “What Mathematicians Might Learn From Physicists” [Hake (2012)], David Bressoud wrote to me (quoted with permission; my bold text; my inserts at “ . . .[[insert]]. . . . . . .”):

“I am very much aware of the Force Concept Inventory and Jerry's Calculus Concept Inventory. I attribute to the FCI much of the reason why the physics community has moved so effectively to rethink their approaches to introductory physics. It is precisely Michigan's notable results on the CCI that are the primary reason that the MAA's Calculus Study . . . . .[[ ]]. . . . . will be visiting them this fall to conduct a case study.”

I’m delighted to learn that David Bressoud is aware of:

(a) the importance of the FCI in stimulating reform pedagogy in physics, even though Henderson et al. (2012) and many Physics Education Researchers seem NOT to be aware;

(b) the effective utilization of Epstein's CCI at the University of Michigan - see e.g., “How Do We Evaluate Student Understanding?” [Rhea (2009].

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles:
Links to SDI Labs:

REFERENCES [URL’s shortened by and accessed on 15August 2012.]
Hake, R.R. 2012. “What Mathematicians Might Learn From Physicists,” online on the OPEN AERA-L archives at Post of 13 Aug 2012 16:59:34-0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists and are on my blog “Hake'sEdStuff” at

Henderson, C., M. Dancy, & M. Niewiadomska-Bugaj. 2012. “The Use of Research-Based Instructional Strategies in Introductory Physics: Where do Faculty Leave the Innovation-Decision Process?” Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research 8(2), online as a 934 kB pdf at

Rhea, K. 2009. “How Do We Evaluate Student Understanding?” online as a 209 kB pdf at .

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