Journal article accepted in International Journal of Engineering Education:
Feedback from in-class worksheets and discussion improves performance on the Statics Concept Inventory.
The Statics Concept Inventory (SCI) is used to evaluate students’ conceptual understanding in introductory mechanics courses. Previous studies have shown that although performance on the SCI improves at the end of a course, performance is often still unsatisfactory with scores well below 100%. In this study, we sought to determine if providing feedback on conceptual topics through in-class worksheets and discussion would improve students’ performance on the SCI. To test this hypothesis, we designed eight multiple-choice worksheets, each inspired by a different topic on the SCI, for use during an introductory mechanics course. In order to evaluate the impact of the worksheets on SCI performance, we divided the eight worksheets into two groups and each group of worksheets was deployed in a different offering of the course. Each worksheet was completed at the end of a class period and, at the beginning of the next class period, the instructor led a discussion of the results and common misconceptions on each worksheet. Students took the SCI at the beginning and end of the course and the change in SCI scores for topics with and without worksheets were compared. Results from both course offerings indicated that the in-class worksheets were effective at improving performance on the SCI, as SCI scores improved significantly more for topics that had worksheets than the topics that did not have worksheets. Furthermore, overall SCI performance at the end of each course was greater than in previous courses. These results suggest that a quick and easy-to-implement addition to the curriculum using in-class worksheets and next-class discussion were effective at providing feedback on conceptual topics, exposing misconceptions, and improving performance on the SCI. The worksheets developed as part of this study are available on-line for other instructors to use (http://del.stanford.edu). The SCI is also free to use and can be found at cihub.org. PDF