Problem solving is a complex process that is important for everyday life and crucial for learning physics. Although there is a great deal of effort to improve student problem solving throughout the educational system, there is no standard way to evaluate written problem solving that is valid, reliable, and easy to use. Most tests of problem solving performance given in the classroom focus on the correctness of the end result or partial results rather than the quality of the procedures and reasoning leading to the result, which gives an inadequate description of a student's skills. A more detailed and meaningful measure is necessary if different curricular materials or pedagogies are to be compared. This measurement tool could also allow instructors to diagnose student difficulties and focus their coaching. It is important that the instrument be applicable to any problem solving format used by a student and to a range of problem types and topics typically used by instructors. Typically complex processes such as problem solving are assessed by using a rubric, which divides a skill into multiple quasi-independent categories and defines criteria to attain a score in each. This dissertation describes the development of a problem solving rubric for the purpose of assessing written solutions to physics problems and presents evidence for the validity, reliability, and utility of score interpretations on the instrument.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. September 2009. Major: Physics. Advisor: Kenneth J. Heller. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 407 pages, appendices 1-7.
Docktor, Jennifer Lynn.
Development and validation of a physics problem-solving assessment rubric..
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