•   Master a few major concepts well and indepth

•   Retain what is learned over the long term

•   Build a mental framework that serves as a foundation for future learning

•   Develop visualization competence, including the ability to critique, interpret, construct, and connect with physical systems

•   Develop skills (analytic and critical judgment) needed to use scientific information to make informed decisions

•   Understand the nature of science

•   Find satisfaction in engaging in real-world issues that require knowledge of science

The committee acknowledged the difficulty of identifying a common set of learning goals for science education at the undergraduate level because the missions and goals of courses and programs vary widely. Thus, this list does not represent our consensus on learning goals for undergraduate science education. However, as the following discussions of scope reveal, these goals are reflected to some extent across the fields of DBER.

Physics Education Research

The extensive scope of contemporary physics education research has been reviewed by Docktor and Mestre (2011). Over time, the focus of inquiry has expanded from narrow investigations of students’ difficulties in learning specific concepts to reflect the realization that improving physics learning is a complex and multifaceted problem. As a result of this shift, current physics education research addresses the following topics:

•   characterizing students with respect to conceptual knowledge, problem solving, use of representations, attitudes toward physics and toward learning more broadly, knowledge of scientific processes, and knowledge transfer;

•   defining goals for physics instruction based on rates of student learning, needs for future learning, transfer, or population diversity;

•   developing curricular materials and pedagogies to facilitate conceptual change, improve problem-solving skills and the use of representations, improve attitudes toward physics and general learning, or provide experiences with the practices of science;

•   investigating how students and instructors use curricular materials and pedagogies such as textbooks, problems, group work, or electronic feedback;



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