This paper presents a case study into implementation of a standardised test probing conceptual understanding in physics within academic instructional practice.
We report the research conducted on first year students enrolled in Natural Science bachelors at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB, Belgium). The aim of the implemented test is to assess conceptual understanding in the domain of physics, and its improvement over a first semester introductory course. A pre-test is used to identify conceptual pitfalls, a post-test to measure the average conceptual gain for two introductory courses.
Results show that the ratio of the average gain to the maximum possible average gain for the two courses under study is low to moderate, as compared to international physics education research (mainly US) carried out with the same instrument (Force Concept Inventory). Also, pre-test results show a significant gender-gap at the beginning of the semester. While research suggests that instructional practices promoting interactive engagement of the students have a potential to achieve higher gains and to bridge the gender-gap this does not appear in the present study. Traditional courses are less proficient, as in the case of the VUB. In the context of inclusive higher education, concrete pedagogical implications can be put forward based on repeated standardised testing of conceptual understanding.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 29th Annual EAIR Forum: In search of Identity: Dilemmas in Higher Education”, 26-29 August 2007, Innsbruck, Austria.
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 21 Sep 200925 Sep 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 29th Annual EAIR Forum: In search of Identity: Dilemmas in Higher Education”, 26-29 August 2007, Innsbruck, Austria.

Conference

ConferenceFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet
CountrySweden
CityStockholm
Period21/09/0925/09/09

    Research areas

  • Assessment/Evaluation, Feedback- staff to students, Inclusive Higher Education, Teaching methods

ID: 1812269