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Using physics identity to understand students’ experiences in high school and introductory university physics courses
Robynne Lock, Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University - Commerce

Physics identity provides a useful framework for understanding students’ experiences in physics classes and for understanding their career goals. Physics identity consists of three dimensions: recognition, interest, and performance/competence, and can be described as the extent to which a person sees themselves as a “physics person”. In this presentation, I will discuss two contexts in which the physics identity framework provides insight. The first context is an introductory university physics course sequence. We investigated the impact of the transition from a traditional lecture/lab to a studio setting on both conceptual understanding and physics identity in the introductory calculus-based physics sequence at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Furthermore, because studio physics relies on students working in groups, creating effective groups in studio classes is critical to maximizing success. We analyzed videos of groups in introductory physics at A&M-Commerce in order to identify trends of effective group work in studio physics. Another context in which physics identity is useful is in examining the factors that affect students’ career decisions. This is of key importance when developing methods to recruit women into physics. STEP UP 4 Women is an ambitious project with the goal of increasing the representation of women in physics by mobilizing and supporting high school physics teachers nationwide to recruit young women to become physics majors through strategies that support the physics identity development of young women. The results of the pilot study include analysis of effects on future physics intentions in addition to physics identity as well as an investigation of students’ career goals.

Dr. Kelsey Funkhouser Defends Her PhD!
July 16, 2019

Dr. Kelsey Funkhouser Defends Her PhD!

PERL Members Alexis Knaub, John Aiken, and Danny Caballero curate focused collection on quantitative methods in PER
July 3, 2019

PERL Members Alexis Knaub, John Aiken, and Danny Caballero curate focused collection on quantitative methods in PER.

Learning Machine Lab publishes paper on modeling student pathways in a physics program
May 15, 2019

PERL members John Aiken, Rachel Henderson, and Danny Caballero have published an article in Physical Review Physics Education Research title Modeling Student Pathways in a Physics Bachelor's Degree Program.

Angie and collaborators publish on mindset applicability
May 10, 2019

PERL members  Angie Little, Bridget Humphrey, Abigail Green, Abhilash Nair, and Vashti Sawtelle published an article in Physical Review Physics Education Research titled Exploring mindset’s applicability to students’ experiences with challenge in transformed college physics courses.

PERL Undergrad Matt Ring helps create MSU Physics Education in Ghana Initiative
March 14, 2019

PERL Undergrad Matt Ring helps create MSU Physics Education in Ghana Initiative

Vashti wins Spirit of Ability Award
March 12, 2019

PERL co-director Vashti Sawtelle has won the Spirit of Ability Award.

Learning Machines Lab publishes paper on factors predictive of faculty integrating computation into physics courses
February 20, 2019

PERL members Nick Young, Grant Allen, John Aiken, Rachel Henderson, and Danny Caballero have published an article in Physical Review Physics Education Research titled Identifying features predictive of faculty integrating computation into physics courses.

Dena wins Art Lab Grant
February 12, 2019

Postdoc Dena Izadi has won a grant from MSU's Broad Art Lab for her project "The Schrodinger’s Cat is in Town!"

Vashti and Abhilash Publish Article About Epistemological progress in physics and its impact on biology
January 22, 2019

PERL co-director Vashti Sawtelle, PERL alumni Abhilash Nair, and colleagues have published an article in Physical Review Physics Education Research titled Epistemological progress in physics and its impact on biology.