Otero Gray - Phys Rev 2008

Attitudinal gains across multiple universities using the Physics and Everyday Thinking curriculum
Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 4, 020104 (2008) [7 pages]

Valerie K. Otero and Kara E. Gray

Instructional techniques based on research in cognitive science and physics education have been used in physics courses to enhance student learning. While dramatic increases in conceptual understanding have been observed, students enrolled in these courses tend to move away from scientistlike views of the discipline and toward novicelike views, as measured by various assessment instruments. It has been proposed that course materials and instruction that explicitly address epistemology, the nature of science, and the nature of learning science will help students develop views more closely aligned with the views of scientists. The Physics and Everyday Thinking (PET) curriculum has specific goals for helping nonscience majors explicitly reflect on the nature of science and the nature of learning science. We show that in PET courses with small and large enrollments, shifts toward expert responses ranged from +4% to +16.5% on the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey. These results are compared to results from other studies using a variety of similar assessment instruments.