Student learning in upper-level thermal physics: Comparisons and contrasts with students in introductory courses

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

We found that students in an upper-level thermal physics course were in general quicker than introductory students at grasping and applying fundamental concepts. Upper-level students seemed, in general, more receptive to employing qualitative reasoning using multiple representations, and capable of using it more effectively than introductory students. In addition, upper-level students were better able to utilize guided-inquiry curricular materials in the sense of reasoning with greater depth and grasping more subtle issues. However, although the overall level of preparation and ability was higher in the upper-level course, the broad range of preparation represented among the students presented various practical challenges to implementing active-learning instructional strategies. Moreover, even quite capable upper-level students would falter unexpectedly and unpredictably on various conceptual difficulties that are common among introductory students. The unpredictable and inconsistent nature of this effect demonstrated that instructors must always be prepared to detect and address such difficulties in upper-level courses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2004 PHYSICS EDUCATION RESEARCH CONFERENCE
Pages31-34
Number of pages4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 16 2005
Externally publishedYes
Event2004 PHYSICS EDUCATION RESEARCH CONFERENCE - Sacramento, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 4 2004Aug 5 2004

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
Volume790
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616

Other

Other2004 PHYSICS EDUCATION RESEARCH CONFERENCE
CountryUnited States
CitySacramento, CA
Period8/4/048/5/04

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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    Meltzer, D. E. (2005). Student learning in upper-level thermal physics: Comparisons and contrasts with students in introductory courses. In 2004 PHYSICS EDUCATION RESEARCH CONFERENCE (pp. 31-34). (AIP Conference Proceedings; Vol. 790). https://doi.org/10.1063/1.2084694