The effects of documented problem solutions on problem solving skills for introductory college physics courses

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Montana State University - Bozeman, Graduate School


My students struggle to solve physics word problems when the solution is not explicitly given to them. They can understand abstract concepts and repeat a problem that is solved correctly for them but cannot solve word problems that are new. The ability to solve problems should be a skill that a student acquires or improves at as a result of taking a college physics course. Over the past several years of teaching I have noticed that despite my best efforts, I have not observed any measurable improvement in my students' abilities to solve physics problems. As a physics teacher, I needed to find some way to help my students become more comfortable and learn to enjoy solving physics problems. This capstone projects investigates the use of formative assessments on determining what changes can be implemented in teaching that might help students become more proficient at solving physics problems.




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