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Beyond problem solving: Evaluating introductory physics courses through the hidden curriculum

Beyond problem solving: Evaluating introductory physics courses through the hidden curriculum

This web page contains Jeffery M. Saul's doctoral dissertation. Users may click on links to view each chapter. This dissertation compares the effectiveness of traditional calculus-based instruction with University of Washington's Tutorials, University of Minnesota's Group Problem Solving & Problem Solving Labs, and Dickinson College's Workshop Physics. There were two main results. First, the exam problems and the pre/post FCI results on students' conceptual understanding showed that the three research-based curricula were more effective than traditional instruction. Second, although the distribution of students' expectations vary for different student populations, the overall distributions differ considerably from what expert physics instructors would like them to have and differ even more by the end of the first year. Only students from two of the research-based sequences showed any improvement in their expectations.

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