College of Science


Increased Number of CPP Graduates Pursuing High School Physics Teaching

  08-09 09-10 10-11
Physics Majors 11 15 11
Physics Teachers 2 1 1

We will track total enrollments of CPP Physics majors in teacher certification programs at CPP and elsewhere for the period of funding and at least three additional years. Our baseline data shows that the CPP secondary single subject Physics credential program graduates an average of 1 teacher per year (see Table 2). Our goal is to increase this number substantially (to at least 5-6 per year), and we will record enrollment of CPP Physics graduates in the Physics teaching credential program in order to assess the effectiveness of the project in increasing the number of physics teachers. In addition, with the help of a data collection system already in place in CEIS, we will record PhysTEC LA retention data as new physics teachers for a period of at least three years after the funding period ends.

Increased Student Conceptual Gain and Positive Attitude Shift on Reform Courses

In the last three years we have collected pre and posttest data in many introductory Physics courses and SCI 210. For example, we have collected data fromForce Concept Inventory (FCI) [10], Concept Survey of Electricity and Magnetism (CSEM) [11], Evaluating an Electricity and Magnetism Assessment Tool: Brief Electricity and Magnetism Assessment (BEMA) [12], and Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey (CLASS) [13]) in many classes in which LAs and will participate. These data can serve as baseline data for the assessment of the impact of the integration of LAs to teaching introductory courses.

Enhance LA Knowledge of Physics Content and Pedagogy

We predict (and have seen) that LA involvement in introductory physics will not only improve students' learning of physics content, but also will heavily enhance the LAs' own learning of the physics concepts. To investigate this, we have used University of Washington type open-ended conceptual pre-posttest questions associated with the tutorials, and compared our LAs performances to their peers in the same major. Our preliminary data shows that the LAs do outstandingly well and better than their same ranked peers in the major. For further study of LA content learning, we also plan to use nationally known the diagnostic tests mentioned above, which then can be compared to the published data for the range of different student populations. Comparison average GPA for the students in the same major (LAs and others) can also serve as additional useful assessment data. An increase in LAs' conceptual knowledge as potential future physics teachers is a preliminary evidence for preparing high quality physics teachers.

Promote Active Engagement Strategies via Expansion of Recitation Sections in Introductory Physics

The LA Program will provide opportunities for faculty members to continuously refine their pedagogy and design and adopt more student centered group work for recitation sections and lectures. With the resulting refinements made by faculty, the overall pedagogical approach of the department will be enhanced. We will record the number of Physics and Education faculty who are involved in the project and LA training to measure the faculty buy-in to the project. We predict that the faculty experience with LAs and preparing small group work activities, along with observation of the positive outcomes, will inspire more faculty members to consider adopting the LA model and active engagement strategies in their course. Faculty interviews and survey data will allow us to collect solid evidence for such an impact. To enhance this impact and broaden the effect, we will regularly report on our progress in department meetings and make sure all faculty and administration are aware of the program and its achievements. In addition, Dr. McCauley will communicate our program success with college and university level administrations.