FCI post-test comparison: Cuesta College versus UC-Davis

Students at both Cuesta College (San Luis Obispo, CA) and the University of California at Davis were administered the Force Concept Inventory (Doug Hestenes, et al.) during the last week of instruction, in order to follow up on the pre-test results from the first week of instruction (which showed no statistical difference between pre-test scores).

Cuesta College UC-Davis
Physics 5A Physics 7B
Fall Semester Summer Session II
2007 2002
N 31 students 76 students
low 4 3
mean 13.4 +/- 5.0 12.7 +/- 5.4
high 22 26

A "Student" t-test of the null hypothesis results in p = 0.51, thus there is no significant difference between Cuesta College and UC-Davis FCI post-test scores.

The pre- to post-test gain for this semester at Cuesta College is:
Physics 5A Fall Semester 2007 sections 0906, 0907
N = 31
<initial%> = 30% +/- 14%
<final%> = 46% +/- 17%
<g> = 0.23

This is higher than the gains for algebra-based introductory physics at UC-Davis (0.16), and for calculus-based introductory physics at Cuesta College (0.14-0.16), as discussed in previous postings on this blog.

Notable about this Physics 5A class at Cuesta College is the implementation of electronic response system "clickers" (Classroom Performance System, einstruction.com), compared to the traditional lecture of Physics 8A at Cuesta College, and the reformed peer-instruction centered approach at UC-Davis. More analysis on the impact of using clickers on this introductory physics class will be forthcoming.

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