Submitted Fall, 2005
Data for each of the measures in the Assessment Plan for majors and General Studies will be collected each year. An analysis of the data for majors will be conducted every three years. The analysis report for majors will be filed in October 2007 for 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07 and each subsequent cycle. During the data collection cycle, the annual report will consist of a listing of the measures administered and either number of students participating or scores. The data collected for the General Studies assessments will be reported annually.
The introductory (general studies) physics classes took the AP Physics B-level exam (the 1998 version) at the end of the Spring Semester 2005. Below, we report the number of students taking the exam and the mean score for each class.
PHYS 205, section 01, activity- and algebra-based: 22 students, mean = 34%
PHYS 206, section 01, lecture- and algebra-based: 11 students, mean = 28%
PHYS 206, section 03, activity- and algebra-based: 25 students, mean = 35%
PHYS 276, section 01, lecture- and calculus-based: 32 students, mean = 38%
The introductory (general studies) astronomy classes (two sections) during the Spring Semester took the Introductory Astronomy Survey as a pre- and post-test. The two astronomy sections are reported together.
PHYS 210 (introductory astronomy)
Pre-test, 54 students, mean = 30%
Post-test, 53 students, mean = 40%
Extensive demographic information was recorded for both the physics and astronomy assessment test.
This past year, we also instituted an exit interview for graduating physics majors. Additionally, graduating physics majors took the Physics Subject-specific GRE and submitted the scores to the Physics Department.
Our plans for this coming year are to continue with the testing of our introductory physics and astronomy courses. We also will continue with exit interviews and encouraging the taking of Subject-specific GRE for our physics majors.
Physical Science Assessment
We will start assessing the performance of PHYS 100 (physical science) and PHYS 201 (earth science) students. The assessment of these two courses will complete the assessment of all our general studies courses. Whether the Physical Science side of the Department will institute an exit interview or a capstone test for graduating majors is up to the Physical Science faculty.
The activity-based algebra level introductory physics courses were also given the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation (FMCE) during the academic year 2004-05. On the national level typical pre-test averages are approximately 20%.1 In the physics education research community a conventional measure of effectiveness is the average normalized gain defined as
g = (post % – pre %)/(100 – pre %) .
A 6000 student study2 showed that typical gains for traditional methods of instruction were < .3 while typical gains for interactive methods of instruction were .3 < g < .7.
The UNK activity-based physics sections used interactive methods of instruction. On the FMCE they had a pre-test average of 19%, a post-test average of 60%, and a normalized gain of g = 0.51.
1Ron Thornton and David Sokoloff, "Assessing Student Learning of Newton's Law: The Force and Motion Conceptual evaluation and the Evaluation of Active Learning Laboratory and Lecture Curricula," American Journal of Physics 66, 338-352 (1998).
2Richard Hake, "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 (1998).