The Effect of Research-Based Instruction in Introductory Physics on a Common Cognitive Bias

Ross K. Galloway*, Simon P. Bates, Jonathan Parker, Evguenia Usoskina

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Inspired by a paper at last year's PERC conference, in which Rebello [1] compared students' individual and cohort mean score estimations with their actual assessment scores, we present results of a study in which students in an introductory physics class were asked to predict their scores on two assessments, one delivered at the start of the course (pre-instruction) and one at the end of the course (post-instruction). Our results show that, pre-instruction, the academically strongest students tend to underestimate their score slightly, whereas the weakest overestimate their performance significantly, consistent with the findings of Rebello and demonstrating a well-known cognitive bias (the Dunning-Kruger effect). Post-instruction, we find that the ability of the original weakest quartile cohort to accurately predict their own assessment score has improved significantly, but a flux of students between quartiles from one assessment to the other reveals that the least able students continue to over-estimate their performance, but with a reduced mean discrepancy. We discuss the implications these results have for instruction and for development of enhanced metacognition amongst physics students.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2012 PHYSICS EDUCATION RESEARCH CONFERENCE
EditorsPV Engelhardt, AD Churukian, NS Rebello
Place of PublicationMELVILLE
PublisherAmerican Institute of Physics
Pages138-141
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)978-0-7354-1134-0
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventPhysics Education Research Conference on Cultural Perspectives on Learners' Performance and Identity in Physics - Philadelphia, Panama
Duration: 1 Aug 20122 Aug 2012

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
PublisherAMER INST PHYSICS
Volume1513
ISSN (Print)0094-243X

Conference

ConferencePhysics Education Research Conference on Cultural Perspectives on Learners' Performance and Identity in Physics
Country/TerritoryPanama
Period1/08/122/08/12

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • metacognition
  • student learning
  • introductory physics
  • OWN INCOMPETENCE
  • CHEMISTRY
  • STUDENTS

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