Etkina Karelina Murthy Ruibal-Villasenor - PRST-PER 2009

Using action research to improve learning and formative assessment to conduct research
Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 5, 010109 (2009)

Eugenia Etkina, Anna Karelina, Sahana Murthy, and Maria Ruibal-Villasenor

The paper reports on how educational research informed and supported both the process of refinement of introductory physics laboratory instruction and student development of scientific abilities. In particular we focus on how the action research approach paradigm combined with instructional approaches such as scaffolding and formative assessment can be used to design the learning environment, investigate student learning, revise curriculum materials, and conduct subsequent assessment. As the result of the above efforts we found improvement in students’ scientific abilities over the course of three years. We suggest that the process used to improve the curriculum under study can be extended to many instructional innovations.