Designing an Energy Assessment to Evaluate Student Understanding of Energy Topics

dc.contributor.advisorRuth Chabay, Committee Chairen_US
dc.contributor.advisorBruce Sherwood, Committee Co-Chairen_US
dc.contributor.advisorRobert Beichner, Committee Memberen_US
dc.contributor.advisorJohn Risley, Committee Memberen_US
dc.contributor.authorDing, Linen_US
dc.description.abstractThe well-established approaches to energy in traditional introductory mechanics courses are often oversimplified or even erroneous. Unlike the traditional courses, Matter & Interactions (M&I) Modern Mechanics presents students a scientific view of energy by emphasizing the energy principle and the atomic nature of matter. Motivated by a great need for an appropriate assessment tool that matches the accurate approaches to energy as employed in the M&I mechanics course, this study carries out a valid and reliable energy assessment to evaluate student understanding of energy topics. This energy assessment is a 33-item multiple-choice test and is suitable for the M&I mechanics course or courses of similar content and approaches. In general, questions in the energy assessment test higher-level thinking yet involve only short reasoning processes. Students from different academic levels participated in completing the energy assessment. The majority participants are students from the M&I mechanics course who took both the pretest and posttest in the 2006 fall semester at North Carolina State University. Results from a series of quantitative analyses show that the M&I students performed significantly better in the posttest than in the pretest not only on the entire assessment, but also on most of the individual items and all the test objectives. Moreover, a small number of student interviews were conducted to probe student reasoning. Qualitative analyses of the student interviews indicate that students are able to use the energy principle correctly to tackle physics questions if they choose to start from the fundamental principles. Another aspect highlighted in the interviews is that students are capable of performing qualitative analysis without using exact formulas.en_US
dc.rightsI hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dis sertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to NC State University or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report.en_US
dc.subjectphysics educationen_US
dc.subjectintroductory mechanicsen_US
dc.subjectintroductory physicsen_US
dc.titleDesigning an Energy Assessment to Evaluate Student Understanding of Energy Topicsen_US


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