Education research: MPEX pre- and post-instruction results (Cuesta College, spring semester 2014)

The Maryland Physics Expectations survey (MPEX, Redish, Saul, and Steinberg, 1998) was administered to Cuesta College Physics 205B (college physics, algebra-based, mandatory adjunct laboratory) students at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA. The MPEX was given during the first week of the semester, and then on the last week of the semester, to quantify student attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions about physics using six question categories, rating responses as either favorable or unfavorable towards:
  1. Independence--beliefs about learning physics--whether it means receiving information or involves an active process of reconstructing one's own understanding;
  2. Coherence--beliefs about the structure of physics knowledge--as a collection of isolated pieces or as a single coherent system;
  3. Concepts--beliefs about the content of physics knowledge--as formulas or as concepts that underlie the formulas;
  4. Reality Link--beliefs about the connection between physics and reality--whether physics is unrelated to experiences outside the classroom or whether it is useful to think about them together;
  5. Math Link--beliefs about the role of mathematics in learning physics--whether the mathematical formalism is used as a way of representing information about physical phenomena or mathematics is just used to calculate numbers;
  6. Effort--beliefs about the kind of activities and work necessary to make sense out of physics--whether they expect to think carefully and evaluate what they are doing based on available materials and feedback or not.
Cuesta College
Physics 205B spring semester 2014 sections 30882, 30883
San Luis Obispo, CA campus
(N = 33, matched pairs only, excluding negative informed consent form responses)

Percentage of (favorable:unfavorable) responses
Overall   Independence   Coherence   Concepts   Reality link   Math link   Effort   
Initial   56:2142:2050:2650:2277:0452:2570:16
Final   55:2352:1848:2956:2273:1356:1856:20

Of note this semester is the positive shift in independence (belief in active process of understanding). Nearly all previous semesters of MPEX results for this course have shown negative shifts in this category. This semester had an increased emphasis on the flipped classroom format (with "just-in-time teaching" online reading assignments), and in-class group problem-solving worksheets ("lecture-tutorials), in addition to the somewhat de-emphasized use of flashcards ("peer instruction") as compared to previous semesters.

Previous posts:

No comments: