2

The Current Status of
Undergraduate Physics
Education

The first step in improving undergraduate physics education is understanding the landscape in which the subject is being taught. Among the external forces that are shaping higher education, some offer opportunities not available even a few short years ago, while others constrain possibilities that could spur innovation. Internal factors associated with curriculum, instructional practices, and diversity also help define the challenges the physics community faces in trying to achieve widespread and sustained improvement in undergraduate physics education. This chapter surveys the landscape, identifying areas of concern, sources for optimism, and strategies worth supporting.

Among the most predominant characteristics of the landscape is the existence of change. Classes have gotten bigger, student demographics have shifted, and technology is transforming the way students communicate with each other and with educators. Strong economic pressures are bearing down on educational institutions such that discussions about “value added assessment” and “accountability,” which have had a significant impact on K-12 public education, are now affecting post-secondary education as well.

Change is also taking place in the way that undergraduate physics is taught. In recent decades, researchers, many of them physicists, have been engaged in efforts to understand the processes of learning and teaching physics. Some of that knowledge has been translated into practices that have been demonstrated to have positive impacts on student learning. Other techniques have turned out to be not nearly as effective as may have been thought (or hoped).



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 23
2 The Current Status of Undergraduate Physics Education The first step in improving undergraduate physics education is understanding the landscape in which the subject is being taught. Among the external forces that are shaping higher education, some offer opportunities not available even a few short years ago, while others constrain possibilities that could spur innovation. Internal factors associated with curriculum, instructional practices, and diversity also help define the challenges the physics community faces in trying to achieve widespread and sustained improvement in undergraduate physics education. This chapter surveys the landscape, identifying areas of concern, sources for optimism, and strategies worth supporting. Among the most predominant characteristics of the landscape is the existence of change. Classes have gotten bigger, student demographics have shifted, and tech- nology is transforming the way students communicate with each other and with educators. Strong economic pressures are bearing down on educational institutions such that discussions about “value added assessment” and “accountability,” which have had a significant impact on K-12 public education, are now affecting post- secondary education as well. Change is also taking place in the way that undergraduate physics is taught. In recent decades, researchers, many of them physicists, have been engaged in efforts to understand the processes of learning and teaching physics. Some of that knowledge has been translated into practices that have been demonstrated to have positive impacts on student learning. Other techniques have turned out to be not nearly as effective as may have been thought (or hoped). 23

OCR for page 23
24 Adapting to a Changing World The first section of this chapter, “The Students,” addresses the most impor- tant part of the evolving landscape—the students themselves. This section can be thought of as the “who, where, and why” of undergraduate physics education, start- ing by reminding readers of the variety of reasons that students take undergraduate courses in physics. Basic data about enrollment trends are presented, including figures relevant for physics majors, groups that are traditionally underrepresented in science-based careers (women and certain minorities), and future K-12 teachers. These data set the stage for the discussions in the following section. The second section, “The Educational Landscape,” addresses the “what and how” of undergraduate physics education. It is the committee’s judgment that the future of physics depends on undergraduate programs that maximize the effective- ness of instruction, educate students in both fundamental physics and contempo- rary topics, recruit and retain the most talented students from all segments of the population, and ensure that tomorrow’s K-12 teachers can prepare tomorrow’s K-12 students for the challenges of higher education. Meeting these challenges in turn relies on the existence of tools for gauging the extent to which changes produce the desired outcomes, and on physics faculty who are both equipped to engage in educational innovation and supported in doing so. Throughout this chapter, recent national studies are drawn upon that have examined a particular aspect of physics education in depth, such as teacher prepa- ration, the status of women and minorities in physics, or characteristics of thriving programs. A list of these studies and other resources can be found in Box 3.1. THE STUDENTS Undergraduate Education in General Many of the changes taking place in undergraduate physics classrooms reflect more general transformations happening across higher education. The d ­ emographics of those enrolled in undergraduate institutions are shifting. Over- all enrollment is increasing, as are the fraction of students who are part-time and the fraction who are over 25 years old.1 These “nontraditional” students may have different experiences and expectations, and often they are seeking degrees while working and raising families and, thus, have very different constraints than the full-time, on-campus students that many of us think of as the norm. The fraction of students from ethnic minorities is also increasing, especially at two-year colleges (TYCs). According to a recent study, “these large percentage enrollments among underrepresented students mirror the ethnic populations in the geographic communities of the two-year colleges” (Monroe et al., 2005, p. 60). 1  See National Center for Education Statistics, “Fast Facts,” available at http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/.

OCR for page 23
T h e C u r r e n t S tat u s of U n d e rg r a d uat e P h ys i c s E d u c at i o n 25 College-level education is increasingly being offered in environments not traditionally associated with undergraduate education. Almost one-third of all higher education students now take at least one course online (Sloan Consortium, 2011). Organizations that collect and disseminate “open educational resources” have grown out of the original “open courseware” movement. YouTube videos and online discussion forums offer students a wide range of learning opportunities that go beyond the curriculum offered by their instructors. Prestigious institutions are among those offering free “massive open online courses” (MOOCs). Online courses are of varying quality, but in some cases, test scores and student satisfaction are at levels equal to or greater than traditional learning environments (Lovett et al., 2008; Higher Education Funding Council for England, 2012; National Survey of Student Engagement, 2008). While distance education is hardly new, the rapid growth in the number of such courses being offered is forcing many educational institutions to look seriously for the first time at both the educational and financial implications. College-level instruction is also increasingly common on high school cam- puses. The National Center for Education Statistics reported that in 2003 more than 800,000 students at public schools were enrolled in dual credit courses, including Advanced Placement (AP) physics courses, in which they earn college and high school credit simultaneously. About two-thirds of these students were taking the courses at a postsecondary institution, the others at a high school. As these numbers increase, the availability of highly qualified high school teachers becomes critical. Undergraduate Physics Education In any given academic year, about 500,000 students take an introductory under- graduate physics course somewhere in the United States. Of those, 20 percent are at a 2-year college (White, 2012). Students take introductory physics for a variety of reasons. Some are attracted to the beauty and power of physics, which may lead to a major or minor in the subject, often beginning with an honors-level introduc- tory course. For students pursuing degrees in education, the arts, social sciences, or humanities, their interests may lead them to enroll in a nonquantitative physics course (as with titles like “physics for poets” or “physics for future presidents”). However, the majority of students take physics as a foundation for other sciences and engineering or as a foundation for training in the health sciences. The pro- grams that require physics do so for a variety of reasons, but it is not strictly for the content of introductory courses. Equally valued (or, in some cases, more valued) is the sense that physics is where students can learn to appreciate the essence of building predictive models of the world, verifying them, and using them to model reality (Van Heuvelen, 1991; Greca and Moreira, 2002; NRC, 2003). These goals and statistics are mentioned here because they are important to keep in mind when discussing the current status of physics education and future

OCR for page 23
26 Adapting to a Changing World directions. In particular, only 3 percent of all undergraduates are enrolled in an undergraduate physics course at a given point in time;2 of those, only a small percentage, slightly over 1 percent, end up with a physics degree. These numbers serve as a reminder that most students never take a physics course. Those who do have mostly practical reasons for doing so and stop as soon as they have fulfilled program requirements. The diversity of students’ motivations and interests and the range of math- ematical skills they bring to the study of physics complicate the selection of goals and topics for any introductory course. The common practice is to emphasize a wide variety of topics that differ little between algebra- and calculus-based courses. This chapter later discusses a few innovative efforts that attempt to differentiate introductory courses—tailoring them to suit the needs of different groups of stu- dents, while preserving, or even increasing, the emphasis on the fundamental ways of reasoning about the world that characterize physics. Segments of the Physics Student Population Different subpopulations of physics students present different challenges for developing an effective strategy for improving undergraduate physics education. Some brief statistics are given below about three such groups—physics majors, students from populations that are traditionally underrepresented in science-based careers, and future K-12 teachers. Other groups of students, such as those who take physics courses to fulfill general education courses, are also important but are not the focus of this report. Physics Majors For many physics faculty, physics majors are seen as the principal means by which the field is perpetuated, and for many outsiders, the number of majors enrolled in a department is viewed as the principal means for measuring that department’s vitality. Thus, despite the fact that they represent a very small fraction of the students who take physics courses, physics majors are crucial for the disci- pline. Three statistics are important to note. First, a large minority (~30 percent) of physics graduates earn degrees in departments that produce, on average, five or fewer majors per year. While local factors, such as institutional size and mission, help determine the “right” number of majors for a given department, as discussed in “Economic Forces” in Chapter 1, those departments perceived as having low 2  According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010 slightly more than 21 million students were enrolled in degree-granting institutions (Digest of Education Statistics 2011, Table 238, available at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012001.pdf).

OCR for page 23
T h e C u r r e n t S tat u s of U n d e rg r a d uat e P h ys i c s E d u c at i o n 27 enrollment may be vulnerable to cost-cutting measures that depend heavily on the number of majors. Second, while the number of physics undergraduates has increased in the past decade, over the past 40 years that number has been relatively unchanged, in con- trast to the number of graduates in all other science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines (see Figure 2.1). The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology recently called for producing 1 million additional college graduates with STEM degrees to help retain U.S. preeminence in science and tech- nology and to meet critical future workforce needs. In the committee’s judgment, increasing the number of students holding physics degrees should be an important component of the response to that call (PCAST, 2012). Third, as noted in “Future K-12 Teachers” below, only one-third of those teach- ing physics have a major in physics or physics education (Neuschatz et al., 2008). Increasing the number of physics majors has been called out as an important step in addressing this shortage (Mulvery et al., 2007). The diversity of goals for students in introductory courses extends to physics majors as well. About 35 percent of those who obtain a bachelor’s degree continue to graduate study in physics or astronomy, with another quarter entering graduate 300,000 14,000 250,000 12,000 All STEM 10,000 200,000 8,000 150,000 6,000 100,000 100 000 4,000 Physics 50,000 2,000 0 0 1965 1975 1985 1995 2005 FIGURE 2.1  Annual graduates in all STEM fields and physics for the past 40 years. SOURCE: Data from the National Center for Education Statistics; graph from Ted Hodapp, American Physical Society.

OCR for page 23
28 Adapting to a Changing World studies in other areas, while another 35 percent enter the workforce upon gradua- tion (Tesfaye and Mulvey, 2012)in a wide variety of careers (see Figure 2.2). These numbers have implications for the design of programs that prepare majors to succeed in a variety of endeavors. However, for those physics majors who will be responsible for teaching physics to future generations, the undergraduate courses they take should serve as models for how the subject should be taught. Later in this chapter, some strategies for taking these factors into account are mentioned. Underrepresented Groups There is a well-documented shortage of African American, Hispanic, Native American, and female workers in physical science- and math-based careers (Huang et al., 2000). The short supply of well-trained workers from diverse backgrounds can be traced to both the racial/ethnic and the gender representation gaps among STEM bachelor recipients (Chen and Thomas, 2009). Physics is an important Non-STEM Engineering 26% 32% Other STEM 8% Computer or Information Systems Other Natural 21% Sciences 8% Physics or Astronomy 5% FIGURE 2.2  Field of initial employment for physics bachelor’s in the private sector. STEM in this graph refers to positions in natural science, technology, engineering, and math. SOURCE: C.L. Tesfaye and P. Mulvey, Physics Bachelor’s Initial Employment—Data from the Degree Recipient Follow-Up Survey for the Classes of 2009 and 2010, Focus On, September 2011, American Institute of Physics Statistical Research Center, Figure 3, available at http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/reports/empinibs0910.pdf, accessed on September 20, 2012.

OCR for page 23
T h e C u r r e n t S tat u s of U n d e rg r a d uat e P h ys i c s E d u c at i o n 29 feeder discipline into STEM careers, yet U.S. colleges and universities are not pro- ducing a very diverse group of professional physicists. The percentage of students from these demographic groups who take physics in college is disproportionately small when compared with the demographics of the population of students (Huang et al., 2000). Both females and underrepresented ethnic minorities are less likely to pick a physics-based major initially, and if they do, they are less likely to remain in that major (Chen and Thomas, 2009). Physics majors have the lowest percentile representation of African American, Hispanic, Native American, and female students in the liberal arts and science disciplines (Figure 2.3; Native American representation is so low that it is not visible on the scale shown). The gender representation gap in physics initially appears late in high school. There is gender parity during the first high school physics course: female students are just as likely to take and successfully complete a high school physics course as their male counterparts. But a disproportionately small percentage elects to take the most challenging subsequent high school physics courses that prepare them for physics in college (White and Tesfaye, 2011a). This differential in course-taking during high school has been linked both to the gender representation gap and to a proportionally lower persistence rate of female students in STEM majors (Griffith, 2010; National Science Board, 2007). Research suggests that the affective domain, which includes factors such as student motivation, attitudes, perceptions and values, can significantly enhance, inhibit, or even prevent student learning in the sciences (Simpson et al., 1994). These factors may partially account for female underrepresentation in physics. Although many physicists see their discipline as a fun-filled, curiosity-driven endeavor, col- lege physics courses are sometimes characterized as unwelcoming, and the average course grades tend to be lower than in many other disciplines (Rojstaczer and March, 2010). In a large-sample, multiyear study conducted at Cornell University, researchers examined the effect of course grades and peer interactions on students’ persistence in science. While the researchers saw no effect on the male students and the life science students, they found that these factors strongly influenced female students’ persistence in physical science majors (Ost, 2010). Physics instructors and curriculum designers have experimented with the affective domain to improve student learning with some successes. We describe later in this chapter several pro- grams that address the affective aspects of the physics classroom. Just as there is no strong link between gender and mathematical ability, there is no support for a biologically based explanation of racial or ethnicity gaps in physics. There is strong evidence, however, that socioeconomic status accounts for much more variation in SAT scores than race and ethnicity does (White and Tesfaye, 2011b; Carnevale and Strohl, 2010). Given that high school math level is a predictor for success in college physics (Sadler and Tai, 2001), students from

OCR for page 23
30 Adapting to a Changing World 70% 60% 50% Chemistry Women 40% Math Women 30% Biology Women Physics Women 20% 10% 0% 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 9% 8% 7% 6% Physics Black Physics Hispanic 5% Biology Black 4% Biology Hispanic Chemistry Black 3% Chemistry Hispanic 2% 1% 0% 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 FIGURE 2.3  The percentage of the bachelor’s degrees granted to women from 2001 to 2009 (top). The percentage of the bachelor’s degrees granted to select underrepresented minorities from 2001 to 2009 (bottom). SOURCE: Data from National Science Foundation, “Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering,” National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, avail- able at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/tables.cfm; accessed on June 20, 2012. Graphs courtesy of Dean Zollman, Kansas State University.

OCR for page 23
T h e C u r r e n t S tat u s of U n d e rg r a d uat e P h ys i c s E d u c at i o n 31 economically disadvantaged backgrounds (and correspondingly weak college prep- aration) are understandably less inclined to choose a career path for which they feel they are not prepared. The racial/ethnicity gaps are related, at least in part, to a more fundamental problem—a gap in representation based on, and perpetuated by, poverty (Marder, 2012). For those who do intend to pursue a STEM major, it is less likely that students from underrepresented groups will persist after the first year (Griffith, 2010). Institutional characteristics can influence persistence in STEM majors. It has been shown that STEM field students from underrepresented groups at selective institu- tions that have a large graduate-to-undergraduate student ratio and that devote a significant amount of spending to research have lower persistence rates than simi- lar students at other institutions (Griffith, 2010). Thus, large research universities are less likely than smaller institutions to retain students from underrepresented groups in STEM majors. Two-year colleges (TYCs) provide an opportunity to improve the racial and ethnic diversity of the physics student population. Nearly half of the African American college students and more than half of the Hispanic and Native American college students start at a community college (White, 2012). But the percentage of students at TYCs who take physics is still only a small fraction of the students who attend TYCs. Given the overrepresentation of ethnic and racial minority freshmen at TYCs, effective recruiting and educational transformations at TYCs may have the potential to increase the diversity in the STEM workforce. In addition, policies that encourage recruitment and eliminate barriers for potential transfers to 4-year institutions could be especially fruitful. Similarly, recruitment and educational transformations at minority-­ ajority m 4-year institutions could provide an opportunity for decreasing the ethnic repre- sentation gap in physics. Some historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are already excellent models, because they produce about 45 percent of all African American B.S. physics graduates annually and about one-quarter of the Afri- can American Ph.D.s. Of the institutions that averaged the most African American B.S. physics graduates during 2004-2006, all are either an HBCU or a black serv- ing institution (Mulvey and Nicholson, 2008). Successful programs at minority serving institutions can inform improvements to current programs at majority institutions, especially the large research universities. Future K-12 Teachers Undergraduate students who become teachers of physics or physical science in K-12 schools present both special opportunities and considerations. As shown in Figure 2.4, the percentage of students enrolled in physics at the high school level has essentially doubled since 1990.

OCR for page 23
to graduation. As shown in Figure 1, we estimate that 37% of the chool students who graduated from U.S. high schools during the 2008-09 010) academic year (both public and private) had taken at least one physics course before graduation. 32 Adapting to a Changing World hool ) Figure 1 ool Physics Enrollment* in U.S. High Schools: 1948 – 2009 *Percent of seniors who have taken at least one physics course prior to graduation 08-09 URVEY HOOL CHERS cademic ntacted a l sample ublic and cross the t physics s. These FIGURE 2.4  Enrollment as a function of time for high schools physics. SOURCE: S. White and C.L. findings. Tesfaye, High School Physics Courses and Enrollments—Results from the from NCES Source: 1987 – current, AIP; data prior to 1987 2008-09 Nationwide Survey of High School Physics Teachers, Focus On, August 2010, American Institute of Physics Statistical http://www.aip.org/statistics Research Center, Figure 1, available at http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/reports/highschool3.pdf, accessed on June 19, 2012. an Physical Society • The Optical Society of America • The Acoustical Society of America • The Society of Rheology • The American Association of Physics Teachers on • American Astronomical Society • American Association of Physicists in Medicine • AVS The Science and Technology Society • American Geophysical Union This trend is significant for two reasons. First, the production of high school physics teachers is not keeping pace with the growth in high school physics enroll- ment. In fact, physics teacher education programs throughout the United States are producing only about one-third of the number needed annually. According to the 2010 report of the National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics, fewer than one-fourth of U.S. colleges and universities have graduated a student certified to teach physics in the past 2 years, and only a handful of institutions graduate more than one physics teacher per year on average: “Consequently, more students than ever before are taking physics from teachers who are inadequately prepared” (National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics, 2013, p. xi). A recent AIP report shows that only one-third of those teaching physics have a major in ­ hysics or physics education (Neuschatz et al., 2008). Strategies at national and p local levels to improve this situation are discussed later in this chapter. The second reason increasing high school enrollment is notable is that it has not translated into increased numbers of students seeking to major in physics.

OCR for page 23
T h e C u r r e n t S tat u s of U n d e rg r a d uat e P h ys i c s E d u c at i o n 33 THE EDUCATIONAL LANDSCAPE The challenges of undergraduate physics education have been considered before. In fact, many of the issues raised in reports dating back to the 1950s—and many of the recommendations that emerged—are consistent with those found in this report. For instance, a 1991 paper, “The Undergraduate Physics Major” (­ braham et al., 1991), cited a shortage of high school physics teachers and the A underrepresentation of women and minority students among their concerns. The paper also mentioned a deterioration in students’ mathematical skills and in their oral and written communication abilities. Will the situation change substantially before yet another group undertakes a major study? There are two factors that suggest that it might: (1) the explosive growth of information and computer tech- nology and (2) the emergence of research on the learning and teaching of physics. Both were mentioned in the 1991 document, but that report did not anticipate the degree to which these factors would transform the landscape in which physics is taught. The role of research on learning and teaching is discussed explicitly below. The role of technology permeates the discussion of instructional innovations. The committee cautions that it is not implying that technology will, by itself, solve subtle educational problems that have existed for decades. However, the coupling of a range of tools now available with insights gained from the scientific study of physics learning offers the strongest basis yet for sustained progress in physics education. To organize the discussion below, the current status and trends in six areas are considered: (1) the instructional methods in physics education, (2) the content and structure of physics courses and degree programs, (3) the diversity of the student body, (4) the preparation of future teachers, (5) the assessment of courses and programs, and (6) faculty development. Interested readers will find that many of the issues raised are addressed in greater depth in Chapter 3. Recommendations for supporting the most promising emerging practices can be found in Chapter 4. Instructional Methods This section begins with perhaps the most difficult task: acknowledging the shortcomings in the ways in which physics is being taught in many, if not most, institutions. All of the members of the committee, and perhaps most readers of this report, were educated in ways that worked for them and for the prominent physicists who have shaped our discipline (and to a great extent, the world around us). Sharp criticism of these methods is, thus, not always welcome, and claims about their ineffectiveness should be treated with appropriate skepticism. However, it is worth noting that only about 1 in every 500 students in introductory physics will eventually enroll in a graduate program in physics. Students are not necessarily all

OCR for page 23
T h e C u r r e n t S tat u s of U n d e rg r a d uat e P h ys i c s E d u c at i o n 47 BOX 2.3 Continued The recommendations given below are a selection excerpted from the full recommenda- tions of the task force (National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics, 2013, pp. xii-xiii). These recommendations reflect a synthesis of relevant results from the literature on science teacher education and development and address the findings identified throughout the 2-year investigation of the task force. The task force recommendations are organized in terms of various stakeholders’ commitment to physics teacher preparation and to the quality education opportunities for future physics teachers. Commitment Physics and education departments, university administrators, professional societies, and funding agencies must make a strong commitment to discipline-specific teacher education and support. 1. Institutions that consider the professional preparation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers an integral part of their mission must take concrete steps to fulfill that mission. 2. Physics departments should recognize that they have a responsibility for the professional preparation of pre-service teachers. 3. Schools of education should recognize that programs to prepare physics teachers must include pedagogical components specific to the preparation of physics teachers; broader “science education” courses are not sufficient for this purpose. 4. Federal and private funding agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education, should develop a coherent vision for discipline-specific teacher professional preparation and development. 5. Professional societies should provide support, intellectual leadership, and a coherent vi- sion for the joint work of disciplinary departments and schools of education in physics teacher preparation. Quality All components of physics teacher preparation systems should focus on improving student learning in the pre-college physics classroom. Recommendations 9(a) and 9(b) are intended to be implemented together to ensure that a higher standard for quality of preparation does not increase the length and cost of the program nor decrease the number of teachers who are qualified to teach more than one subject.   6. Teaching in physics courses at all levels should be informed by findings published in the physics education research literature.   7. Physics teacher preparation programs should provide teacher candidates with extensive physics-specific pedagogical training and physics-specific clinical experiences.   8. Physics teacher education programs should work with school systems and state agencies to provide mentoring for early career teachers.   9. (a) States should eliminate the general-science teacher certification and replace it with s ­ ubject-specific endorsements. (b) Higher education institutions should create pathways that allow prospective teachers to receive more than one endorsement without increasing the length of the degree. 10. National accreditation organizations should revise their criteria to better connect accredi- tation with evidence of candidates’ subject-specific pedagogical knowledge and skill. 11. Physics education researchers should establish a coordinated research agenda to identify and address key questions related to physics teaching quality and effective physics teacher preparation.

OCR for page 23
48 Adapting to a Changing World The task of producing a well-prepared physics teacher is complex. Physicists who have been involved in teacher education for several decades point out that in addition to knowledge of physics content and knowledge of general pedagogy, a physics teacher must employ physics-specific pedagogical knowledge in the class- room (McDermott, 1990; Etkina, 2010). In particular, teachers need a nuanced understanding of the ways in which students think about specific physics topics. The task force identified programs that focus on the development of physics- specific knowledge and skills for future teachers; however, these are not the norm. Within most universities, neither schools of education nor physics departments view physics-specific teacher preparation as their purview. Physics departments rarely offer prospective high school teachers more than the standard curriculum for majors, and faculty in colleges of education, which are typically responsible for preparing physics teachers, are seldom physics-trained. Collaborations between ­ hysics departments p and colleges of education are rare. Many programs that prepare physics teachers do little to develop physics-specific pedagogical expertise. Thus, the typical experience for future physics teachers consists of the courses leading to the physics major, plus courses in general science teaching methods that are typically taught by science teacher educators with little or no experience in physics. It has been pointed out that the topics taught in typical high school curricula are those covered quickly at the introductory level and that further study of more advanced topics does not necessar- ily deepen understanding of topics covered earlier. Thus, the typical combination of physics courses and science methods courses usually provides neither the necessary depth of understanding of content nor foundations in physics-specific pedagogy (McDermott, 1990, 2006; McDermott et al., 2006). The preparation of future elementary teachers is also a source of concern. While elementary school is where students first develop their ideas about science, and K-5 science curricula are full of physics topics, future elementary teachers typically take a small number of lecture courses for non-science majors and one science methods class in which little or no physics is taught. The Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) (http://www.phystec. org/) was created by APS, AAPT, and AIP to help increase the number of well- prepared teachers of physics. Since 2001, it has provided direct funding and other resources to more than 25 physics departments that have launched physics teacher preparation programs. It has also enlisted more than 250 institutions “dedicated to improving and promoting physics and physical science teacher education.” The program acknowledges that ensuring that students who choose to pursue K-12 teaching as a career are well prepared will not have enough of an impact if the number of these teachers remains at current levels. Therefore, one of ­ hysTEC’s P goals is to help departments ensure that students with even a slight interest in teaching have the opportunity to explore their interest and learn about their options.

OCR for page 23
T h e C u r r e n t S tat u s of U n d e rg r a d uat e P h ys i c s E d u c at i o n 49 Research-supported courses, curricula, and models that help physics depart- ments become more deeply engaged in the preparation of future teachers are avail- able. In particular, special physics courses that deepen teachers’ understanding of the content and develop physics-specific pedagogical knowledge have been shown to have positive effects for future high school and elementary school teachers (McDermott et al., 2006; Goldberg et al., 2010; Harlow, 2010). Specialized content- specific, pedagogy courses for future physics teachers have also been developed (e.g., Etkina, 2010; Henderson, 2008). Among the efforts in this area are the mate- rial for teacher physics preparation of elementary teachers found in University of Washington’s Physics by Inquiry program and the Physics and Everyday Thinking (PET) curriculum developed for elementary and high school teachers. A recent book produced in conjunction with the National Task Force, Teacher Education in Physics (Meltzer and Shaffer, 2011), is a compendium of research reports that, together, represent the state of knowledge in physics teacher education. A review of research contained within this volume concluded that: Several program characteristics are key to improving teaching effectiveness, including (1) a prolonged and intensive focus on active-learning, guided inquiry instruction; (2) use of research-based, physics-specific pedagogy, coupled with thorough study and practice of that pedagogy by prospective teachers; and (3) extensive early teaching experiences guided by physics education specialists (p. 3). Research indicates that the involvement of physics faculty in recruiting and preparing teachers can have a large impact on the quality of physics teaching in secondary schools, the interest of students in studying physics, and the preparation of undergraduates who study physics (Mulvery et al., 2007; Otero et al., 2006). Some physics departments have taken a two-pronged approach that improves education for all students while improving the education of future physics teachers. The Colorado Learning Assistant model is an example. Physics faculty transform their courses to be more aligned with educational research through the help of under- graduate learning assistants, some of whom choose to become physics teachers. Such programs have shown to increase the number of physics teachers produced as well as improving student outcomes in learning assistant-supported courses (Otero et al., 2010; Hodapp et al., 2009). Assessment The decision to undertake changes should be based on careful consideration of goals, an assessment of the degree to which existing structures are meeting those goals, and plans to gauge the impact of any changes made. Without all of these elements, systematic and cumulative progress is unlikely. Improvement and

OCR for page 23
50 Adapting to a Changing World assessment are thus inextricably linked. The increase in online education poses special challenges for assessment. Many educators assume that being on campus offers benefits to students, but it is not clear how the on-campus experience can be compared objectively to that offered by online courses. In acknowledgment of this relationship between improvement and assess- ment, the committee was charged with examining the current status of assessment. It observed that while there is no shortage of suggestions for modifications to instruction, from adopting new textbooks to restructuring entire degree programs, in many cases there are no clear guidelines for evaluating the outcomes. The measures currently available include concept evaluations, attitude assessments, problem-solving assessments, course and examination grades, and retention rates. Unfortunately, assessments can cover a very small portion of what is considered to be education. Consequently, the limited number and limited breadth of these assessment instruments fundamentally limits our ability to improve or even delin- eate progress. There are no widely agreed-on measures for assessing the degree to which courses and programs prepare students for future study, for making creative contributions to research, or for the workforce in general. One national examination does exist in physics, the ETS Major Field Test. How- ever, like any standardized exam, this one has limitations and is primarily designed to evaluate preparation for graduate school in the canonical areas of physics. ­ That said, it can be used to provide longitudinal information on a department’s content preparation, but only in a fairly narrow band of skills. More broadly, the skills and knowledge that collectively constitute “thinking like a physicist” are subtle and difficult to define operationally in a way that would enable their measurement. Without such measures, it is difficult to distinguish between innovations that have a substantive impact on learning and those that do not. Accordingly, part of the effort in the area of assessments should be to evaluate the relative value of the dif- ferent forms of assessment and focus on what can be known or at least measured. As resources become scarce, the ability to demonstrate the effectiveness of invest- ment in education becomes ever more important. Faculty Development Faculty are the key to improvements in education, but many are hesitant about change, even when it’s felt that the current system is not very effective (Henderson and Dancy, 2009). The reward structure that prevails in many colleges and uni- versities does not adequately recognize the professional effort and creativity that is part of improving student learning. With little or no professional incentive for change, in today’s climate of cutbacks, increasing class sizes, and dwindling grant funding, the lecture-course paradigm with little student activity continues to be the default practice. This issue is addressed in more detail in Chapters 3 and 4. Here,

OCR for page 23
T h e C u r r e n t S tat u s of U n d e rg r a d uat e P h ys i c s E d u c at i o n 51 the committee points out that there are professional development opportunities that can help physics faculty assess their teaching and implement new techniques, even within the prevailing system. Since 1996, the Physics and Astronomy New Faculty Workshops (NFW) pro- gram, sponsored by AAPT, APS, and AAS, and supported by NSF, has offered 17 workshops, each lasting 3 or more days. As of the time of this report, more than 650 newly hired faculty at master’s and Ph.D. degree-granting institutions and 460 new faculty at bachelor degree-granting institutions have attended. In 2008, these attendees represented 52.6 percent of the newly hired faculty in physics. A primary goal of these workshops is to provide opportunities to learn about new and successful pedagogical approaches in physics and how to assess the impact of the implemented strategies. There is strong evidence to suggest that the NFW program has been very suc- cessful at increasing participant knowledge about research-based instructional strategies and motivating participants to try these strategies (Henderson, 2012). For example, in a national survey of randomly selected U.S. physics faculty, those who had attended NFW had the largest correlation of 20 personal and situ- ational variables indicating a respondent’s knowledge about and use of at least one research-based instructional strategy (Henderson et al., 2012). See also a 2008 report on the effectiveness of the NFWs published in the American Journal of ­Physics (Henderson, 2008). Since 1991, the TYC community has provided several workshop programs at the national level that provide opportunities to TYC faculty to learn about PER- based instruction and to develop and implement PER-based instructional mate­ rials, techniques, and assessments. Paralleling somewhat the NFWs for universities and 4-year colleges, the New Faculty Teaching Experience provides an 18-month training period for new faculty at TYCs to learn about alternative teaching strate- gies, laboratory activities, and assessments of course goals and student outcomes. CONCLUSIONS Undergraduate physics education is under a variety of stresses that cannot be ignored. These stresses affect curricular goals, methods of instruction, the types of students who are attracted to physics, and variables that are beyond the classroom. Moreover, the evolution of the discipline itself, advances in research on learning, and advances in technology all suggest that traditional courses and programs should be critically examined. Many local efforts to do just that have produced research-validated instructional strategies that provide opportunities for discus- sion, argumentation, and scientific exploration on the part of the student. Through implementation of these evidenced-based teaching practices, the learning process can be improved for all students taking physics. Collectively, these practices have

OCR for page 23
52 Adapting to a Changing World raised standards for what instructors can expect students to gain from instruc- tion. None of the innovations mentioned here is perfect or applicable to every setting. Local conditions, including course goals, resources, classroom design, and the availability of faculty, are important in deciding which approaches may be appropriate. In Chapter 3, some of the work being done to expand the range of available methods and materials is described. Chapter 4 contains recommendations for supporting both proven and promising innovations. It is also important to note that, despite the clear evidence of their shortcomings, many courses (perhaps most) continue to be taught in ways that fall short of what is currently possible, given the range of empirically validated course designs, materials, and tools available. This report points to many cases in which improved conceptual understanding, problem-solving performance, and retention have been achieved. Some of the barriers that impede more widespread improvements in instruction are addressed in Chapter 3. While significant progress has been made in improving conceptual under- standing in certain topics in introductory physics, less progress has been made toward other goals of instruction. For instance, even in courses that demonstrate improvements in conceptual understanding, many students tend to continue to see physics as unconnected to their everyday lives and as being concerned mostly with verifying known principles and substituting numbers into formulas. It is perhaps not a surprise that most students who take an introductory course do not pursue physics any further. Low numbers of physics majors are jeopardizing some programs—but are enrollment trends a cause for concern at the national level? The committee believes they are, for several reasons. One is the need to heed repeated calls for increasing the number of STEM majors nationwide. Documents such as PCAST note that while the numbers of STEM majors are increasing, the demand for them is increasing more rapidly. While many students with talent and interest in STEM fields may prefer majors other than physics, unless one considers a bachelor’s degree in ­physics to be of little value to the student who earns it (or to society more broadly), the physics community should be trying to increase the numbers of students who study physics. There is no reason to expect that lowering standards will do so. Many students who do well in introductory physics choose other majors for reasons that may reflect their interests or their perceptions of the career opportunities offered by other disciplines. This would not be of concern except that introductory courses presumably play a major role in these students’ decisions, and if introductory courses do not accurately reflect the discipline, then students may not be making informed choices. If introductory physics courses were a valid reflection of the discipline, one could argue that physics is of innate interest to very few. The com- mittee does not believe this is the case, but the rapid pace, rote problem solving, and highly artificial laboratory experiments that typify introductory physics courses

OCR for page 23
T h e C u r r e n t S tat u s of U n d e rg r a d uat e P h ys i c s E d u c at i o n 53 have little do to with upper-division courses or the problems that physicists tackle today, which are as fundamental as the origins of the universe or as vital as novel energy resources or the mechanics of cell division. Even if sheer numbers of physics majors were not a concern, the physics com- munity should consider the implications of low participation of underrepresented groups on the quality of the physics student body. The discipline would surely be strengthened by recruiting talented students from throughout the population and not only from the groups that are traditionally well represented. The community should also question the implications of participation and achievement gaps in introductory courses (Sadler and Tai, 2001; Kost et al., 2009; Aud et al., 2010), which may be deterring capable students from succeeding in other STEM fields. Research results do not support common assumptions about ability and motivation being the major causes of these gaps. Aggressively exploring strategies for making introductory physics courses part of a pathway to success in STEM fields is essential. The content of courses and the structure of degree programs play an important role in recruitment and retention. Updating the curriculum while maintaining a strong focus on fundamental concepts, scientific practices, and reasoning skills can, in principle, better prepare students for the demands of further study, research, and the increasing variety of careers open to them. The issue of recruitment is also linked to the high school physics experience. At all levels, physics instructors tend to teach in a manner consistent with how they were taught. For too many high school teachers, their last physics course was at the introductory level. The studies cited here indicate that it is essential that the undergraduate experience of future teachers reflect what is known from research on learning and teaching in general and on effective teacher education in particular. Changing high school physics requires transforming introductory undergraduate physics courses and creating mechanisms to ensure that future teachers are well prepared in both physics and physics-specific pedagogy. The landscape of physics education is growing in complexity. An increasing number of nontraditional students (older, part-time) are enrolling, and increas- ing numbers of students from all backgrounds are taking physics courses in non-­ traditional venues, such as online or on high school campuses. A majority of students from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in science-based careers take their first (and too often their last) physics course at a 2-year college. It is clear that providing quality education in physics requires concerted and coor- dinated effort by faculty in 2- and 4-year colleges, research institutions, and high schools. Regardless of where and how instruction is offered, systematic and objec- tive assessment of educational outcomes is needed to ensure continuous progress.

OCR for page 23
54 Adapting to a Changing World REFERENCES AAMC-HHMI (Association of American Medical Colleges-Howard Hughes Medical Institute). 2009. Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians. Abraham, N.B., Gerhart, J.B., Hobble, R.K., McDermott, L.C., Romer, R.H., and Thomas, B.R. 1991. The under- graduate physics major. American Journal of Physics 59:106-111. Aud, S., Fox, M.A., and KewalRamani, A. 2010. Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups, National Center for Education Statistics. U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. Bandura, A. 1986. Social Foundations of Thought and Action. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Beichner, R. 2008. The SCALE-UP Project: A student-centered active learning environment for undergraduate programs. A commissioned paper for the National Research Council’s Evidence on Promising Practices in Undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Workshop 2, Octo- ber 13-14, 2008. Available at http://sites.nationalacademies.org/DBASSE/BOSE/DBASSE_071087; ­ ccesseda on April 23, 2013. Beilock, S.L., and Ramirez, G. 2011. On the interplay of emotion and cognitive control: Implications for enhanc- ing academic achievement. Pp. 137-169 in Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Volume 55: Cognition in Education (J. Mestre and B. Ross, eds.). Academic Press, San Diego, Calif. Brahmia, S. 2008. Improving learning for underrepresented groups in physics for engineering majors. PER Con- ference Invited Paper. Pp. 7-10 in 2008 Physics Education Research Conference. AIP Conference Proceedings 1064. Available at http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=7981&DocID=698; accessed on February 19, 2013. Brahmia, S., and Etkina, E. 2001. “Emphasizing the Social Aspects of Learning to Foster Success of Students at Risk.” Paper presented at the Research at the Interface, 2001 Physics Education Research Conference, R ­ ochester, N.Y., July 25-26, 2001. Available at http://www.compadre.org/per/items/detail.cfm?ID=4382; accessed on April 23, 2013. Brewe, E., Sawtelle V., Kramer, L.H., O’Brien, G.E., Rodriguez, I., and Pamela, P. 2010. Toward equity through participation in modeling instruction in introductory university physics. Physical Review Special Topics— Physics Education Research 6:010106. Carnevale, A.P., and Strohl, J. 2010. How increasing college access is increasing inequality, and what to do about it. Rewarding Strivers: Helping Low-Income Students Succeed in College. Century Foundation Press, New York. Chen, X., and Thomas, W. 2009. Students Who Study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Post-Secondary Education. NCES 2009-161. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Washington, D.C. Etkina, E. 2010. Pedagogical content knowledge and preparation of high school physics teachers. Physical Review Special Topics—Physics Education Research 6:020110. Etkina, E., and Van Heuvelen, A. 2007. Investigative science learning environment—A science process approach to learning physics. In Reviews in Physics Education Research, Volume 1: Research-based Reform of University Physics. American Association of Physics Teachers, Washington, D.C. Available at http://www.per-central. org/per_reviews/. Etkina E., Gibbons, K., Holton, B.L., and Horton, G.K. 1999. Lessons learned: A case study of an integrated way of teaching introductory physics to at-risk students at Rutgers University. American Journal of Physics 67:810. Goldberg, F., Otero, V., and Robinson, S. 2010. Design principles for effective physics instruction: A case from physics and everyday thinking. American Journal of Physics 78:1265. Goldhaber, S., Pollock, S., Dubson, M., Beale, P., and Perkins, K. 2009. Transforming upper-division quantum mechanics: Learning goals and assessment. Pp. 145-148 in AIP Conference Proceedings Vol. 1179: 2009 P ­ hysics Education Research Conference (M. Sabella, C. Henderson, and C. Singh, eds.). American Institute of Physics, Melville, N.Y. Greca, M., and Moreira, M.A. 2002. Mental, physical, and mathematical models in the teaching and learning of physics. Science Education 86:106-121. Griffith, A.L. 2010. Persistence of women and minorities in STEM field majors: Is it the school that matters? Economics of Education Review 29:911-922. Hake, R.R. 1998. Interactive-engagement versus traditional methods: A six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses. American Journal of Physics 66:64-74.

OCR for page 23
T h e C u r r e n t S tat u s of U n d e rg r a d uat e P h ys i c s E d u c at i o n 55 Halloun, I.A., and Hestenes, D. 1985. The initial knowledge state of college physics students. American Journal of Physics 53: 1043-1055. ———. 1987. Modeling instruction in mechanics. American Journal of Physics 55:455. Harlow, D.B. 2010. Structures and improvisation for inquiry-based science instruction: A teacher’s adaptation of a model of magnetism activity. Science Education 94:142-163. Hazari, Z., Sonnert, G., Sadler, P.M., and Shanahan, M.-C. 2010. Connecting high school physics experiences, outcome expectations, physics identity, and physics career choice: A gender study. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 47:978-1003, doi:10.1002/tea.20363. Henderson, C. 2008. Promoting instructional change in new faculty: An evaluation of the physics and astronomy new faculty workshop. American Journal of Physics 76:179. ———. 2012. “Evaluation of the Physics and Astronomy New Faculty Workshop.” White paper prepared for the Workshop on the Role of Scientific Societies in STEM Faculty Workshops, Washington, D.C., May 3. Avail- able at http://ajp.aapt.org/resource/1/ajpias/v76/i2/p179_s1?isAuthorized=no; accessed on April 23, 2013. Henderson, C., and Dancy, M. 2009. The impact of physics education research on the teaching of introduc- tory quantitative physics in the United States. Physical Review Special Topics—Physics Education Research 5:020107. Henderson, C., Dancy, M., and Niewiadomska-Bugaj, M. 2012. The use of research-based instructional strategies in introductory physics: Where do faculty leave the innovation-decision process? Physical Review Special Topics—Physics Education Research 8(2):020104. Hestenes, D., Wells, M., and Swackhamer, G. 1992. Force concept inventory. The Physics Teacher 30:141-166. Higher Education Funding Council for England. 2012. National Student Survey Data for the years 2005-2011. Avail- able at http://www.hefce.ac.uk/whatwedo/lt/publicinfo/nationalstudentsurvey/­ ationalstudentsurveydata/; n a ­ ccessed on June 19, 2012. Hilborn, R., R. Howes, and K. Krane, eds. 2003. Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics: Project Report. Known as the SPIN-UP report. American Association of Physics Teachers, College Park, Md. Avail- able at http://www.aapt.org/Programs/projects/ntfup.cfm. Hodapp, T., Hehn, J., and Hein, W. 2009. Preparing high-school physics teachers. Physics Today 62:40-45. Hoellwarth, C., Moelter, M.J., and Knight, R.D. 2005. A direct comparison of conceptual learning and problem solving ability in traditional and studio style classrooms. American Journal of Physics 73:459. Huang, G., Taddese, N., and Walter, E. 2000. Entry and persistence of women and minorities in college science and engineering education. Education Statistics Quarterly 2:59-60. Kost, L.E., Pollock, S.J., and Finkelstein, N.D. 2009. Characterizing the gender gap in introductory physics. Physical Review Special Topics—Physics Education Research 5:010101. Lorenzo, M., Crouch, C.H., and Mazur, E., 2006. Reducing the gender gap in the physics classroom. American Journal of Physics 74:118. Lovett, M., Meyer, O., and Thille, C. 2008. The open learning initiative: Measuring the effectiveness of the OLI statistics course in accelerating student learning. Journal of Interactive Media in Education. Special Issue: R ­ esearching Open Content in Education. Available at http://jime.open.ac.uk/2008/14; accessed on June 19, 2012. Mann, C.R. 1912. The Teaching of Physics for Purposes of General Education. McMillan, New York, N.Y. Mann, J. 1994. Bridging the gender gap: How girls learn. Streamlined Seminar 13:5. Marder, M. 2012. Failure of U.S. public secondary schools in mathematics. AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice 9:8-24. Marx, J., and Cummings, K. 2007. Normalized change. American Journal of Physics 75:87-91. May, G.S., and Chubin, D.E. 2003. A retrospective on undergraduate engineering success for underrepresented minority students. Journal of Engineering Education 92:27-40. Mazur, E. 1997. Peer Instruction. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, N.J. McDermott, L.C. 1990. A perspective on teacher preparation in physics and other sciences: The need for special science courses for teachers. American Journal of Physics 58:734. McDermott, L.C. 2006. Preparing K-12 teachers in physics: Insights from history, experience, and research. American Journal of Physics 74:758-762. McDermott, L.C., and Shaffer, P.S. 1998. Tutorials in Introductory Physics. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, N.J.

OCR for page 23
56 Adapting to a Changing World McDermott, L.C., Shaffer, P.S., and the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington. 2002. Tutorials in Introductory Physics. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, N.J. McDermott, L.C., Heron, P.R.L., Shaffer, P.S., and Stetzer, M.R. 2006. Improving the preparation of K-12 teachers through physics education research. American Journal of Physics 74:763-767. McIntyre, D.H., Tate, J., and Manogue, C.A. 2008. Integrating computational activities into the upper-level Para- digms in Physics curriculum at Oregon State University. American Journal of Physics 76:340-346. Meltzer, D., and Shaffer, P.S. 2011. Teacher Education in Physics. American Physical Society. Available at http:// www.ptec.org/items/detail.cfm?id=11618; accessed on February 8, 2013. Meltzer, D., and Thornton, R. 2012. Resource Letter ALIP-1: Active-Learning Instruction in Physics, American Journal of Physics 80(6):478-496. Monroe, M.B., T.L. O’Kuma, and W. Hein. 2005. Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics at Two-Year Colleges: Best Practices of Physics Programs. Known as the SPIN-UP/TYC report. American Asso­ ciation of Physics Teachers, College Park, Md. Available at http://www.aapt.org/projects/spinup-tyc.cfm. Mulvey, P.J., and Nicholson, S. 2008. Enrollments and Degrees Report, 2006. AIP Statistical Research Center R-151.43. Available at http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/reports/ed.pdf; accessed on April 23, 2013. Mulvery, P., Tesfaye, C.L., and Neuschatz, M. 2007. Initial Career Paths of Physics Bachelor’s with a Focus on High School Teaching. American Institute of Physics, College Park, Md. NRC (National Research Council). 2003. Bio 2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists. The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C. National Science Board. 2007. A National Action Plan For Addressing the Critical Needs of the U.S. Science, Technol- ogy, Engineering, and Mathematics Education System. National Science Foundation, Arlington, Va. Available at http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsb07114; accessed on February 8, 2013. National Survey of Student Engagement. 2008. Promoting Engagement for All Students: The Imperative to Look Within: 2008 Results. Available at http://nsse.iub.edu/NSSE_2008_Results/docs/withhold/NSSE2008_­ Results_revised_11-14-2008.pdf; accessed on June 19, 2012. National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics. 2010. Report Synopsis. American Physical Society. Avail- able at www.aps.org/about/governance/task-force/upload/ttep-synposis10.pdf; accessed on April 23, 2013. ———. 2013. Transforming the Preparation of Physics Teachers: A Call to Action. American Physical Society. Avail- able at http://www.ptec.org/webdocs/2013TTEP.pdf; accessed on April 23, 2013. Neuschatz, M., Blake, G., Friesner, J., and McFarling, M.. 1998. Physics in the Two Year Colleges. Pub. No. R-425. American Institute of Physics, College Park, Md. October. Available at http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/ reports/twoyear.pdf. Neuschatz, M., McFarling, M., White, S. 2008. Reaching the Critical Mass: The Twenty Year Surge in High School Physics. American Institute of Physics, College Park, Md. Ost, B. 2010. The role of peers and grades in determining major persistence in the sciences. Economics of Educa- tion Review 29:923-934. Otero, V., Finkelstein, N., McCray, R., and Pollock, S. 2006. Who is responsible for preparing science teachers? Science 313(5786):445-446. Otero, V., Pollock, S., and Finkelstein, N. 2010. A physics department’s role in preparing physics teachers: The Colorado Learning Assistant Model. American Journal of Physics 78:1218. Palazzo, D.J., Lee, Y.-J., Warnakulasooriya, R., and Pritchard, D.E. 2010. Patterns, correlates, and reduction of homework copying. Physical Review Special Topics—Physics Education Research 6:010104. Available at http:// prst-per.aps.org/abstract/PRSTPER/v6/i1/e010104; accessed on February 8, 2013. PCAST (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology). 2012. Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Executive Office of the President, Washington, D.C. Available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/ostp/pcast. Pollock, S.J., Chasteen, S.V., Dubson, M., and Perkins, K.K. 2010. The use of concept tests and peer instruction in upper-division physics. Pp. 261-264 in 2010 Physics Education Research Conference (C. Singh, M. Sabella, and S. Rebello, eds.). AIP Conference Proceedings Volume 1289. American Institute of Physics, Melville, N.Y. Redish, E.F., Saul, J.M., and Steinberg, R.N. 1998. Student expectations in introductory physics. American Journal of Physics 66:212-224.

OCR for page 23
T h e C u r r e n t S tat u s of U n d e rg r a d uat e P h ys i c s E d u c at i o n 57 Rojstaczer, S., and March, C.H. 2010. Grading in American colleges and universities. Teachers College Record. ID Number 15928. Available at http://www.gradeinflation.com/tcr2010grading.pdf; accessed on February 8, 2013. Sadler, P.M., and Tai, R.H. 2001. Success in introductory college physics: The role of high school preparation. Science Education 85:111-136. Sawtelle, V. 2011. A Gender Study Investigating Physics Self-Efficacy. FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations, Paper 512. Available at http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/etd/512/; accessed on February 8, 2013. Simpson, R.D., Koballa, T.R., Oliver, J.S., and Crawley, F.E. 1994. Research on the affective dimension of science learning. Pp. 211-234 in Handbook of Research on Science Teaching and Learning. Macmillan, New York. Sloan Consortium. 2011. Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group, LLC. Available at http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/ going_distance_2011. Steele C.M. 1997. A threat in the air: How stereotypes shape intellectual identity and performance. American Psychologist 52:613. Tesfaye, C.L., and Mulvey, P. 2011. Physics Bachelor’s Initial Employment—Data from the Degree Recipient Follow-Up Survey for the Classes of 2009 and 2010. Focus On, September. American Institute of ­ hysicsP S ­ tatistical Research Center. Available at http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/reports/empinibs0910.pdf; ac- cessed on September 20, 2012. ———. 2012. Physics Bachelor’s One Year Later. Focus On, June. American Institute of Physics Statistical Research ­ Center. Available at http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/reports/bach1yrlater0910.pdf; accessed on May 3, 2013. Van Heuvelen, A. 1991. Learning to think like a physicist: A review of research-based instructional strategies. American Journal of Physics 59:891-897. Watkins, J.E. 2010. “Examining Issues of Underrepresented Minority Students in Introductory Physics.” Disser- tation, Harvard University. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Accession Order No. AAT 3415393. White, S., 2012. “Physics in Two-Year Colleges: A Closer Look.” Presentation to the American Associate of Physics Teachers 2012 Summer Meeting, August. Available at http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/undergradtrends. html. White, S., and Tesfaye, C.L. 2010. High School Physics Courses and Enrollments—Results from the 2008-09 Nation­ ide Survey of High School Physics Teachers. Focus On, August. American Institute of Physics w S ­ tatistical Research Center. Available at http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/reports/highschool3.pdf. ———. 2011a. Female Students in High School Physics—Results from the 2008-09 Nationwide Survey of High School Physics Teachers. Focus On, July. American Institute of Physics Statistical Research Center. Available at http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/reports/hsfemales.pdf. ———. 2011b. Under-represented Minorities in High School Physics—Results from the 2008-09 Nationwide Survey of High School Physics Teachers. Focus On, March. American Institute of Physics Statistical Research Center. Available at http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/reports/hst5minorities.pdf.