Donna Young
Admin Asst/Tech Support

P: (540) 464-7345
F: (540) 464-7651

Assessment &  Research
Virginia Military Institute
101 Smith Hall
Lexington, VA 22450

Physics Disciplinary Resources

From the FLAGuide for Physics  

Physics Education Research Groups 

  • Iowa State Physics Education Research Group
    According to their website, "A new physics education research group has been formed at Iowa State University, which will carry out an integrated program to (1) develop new methods of instruction, particularly for large-enrollment classes; (2) develop improved curricula to support the new instructional methods; (3) carry out basic research in the teaching and learning of physics." With respect to assessment, the ISU PERG has articles on engaging students in large lecture physics classes, and assessing student understanding in thermodynamics. 
  • Kansas State University Physics Education Research Group
    According to their website, "Using the perspective of research scientists, the Physics Education Group at KSU investigates ways to improve science teaching. In recent years the work of this group has concentrated on the improvement of courses at the high school and college level, the use of modern technology and the training and support of science teachers. The group investigates the value of state-of-the-art technologies in teaching physics." With regard to assessment, they provide publications to explore what students are learning in quantum physics, and what multiple-choice diagnostic tests can reveal about student understanding. 
  • North Carolina State University Physics Education Research and Development This group is working on two projects of note: "SCALE-UP," which is concerned with created student centered activities for large lecture physics classes; and, the "Assessment Instruments Project," whose "primary goal is to create a series of valid, reliable tests that can be used in pre/post research designs as well as by classroom teachers." (quote taken from website) This group also provides a list of assessments developed for teaching physics at:
  • United States Air Force Center for Physics Education Research
    This group has developed a JiTT methodology that involves using assessments, submitted through the web, as preparation for class. As the website indicates, "Essentially, students respond electronically to carefully constructed web-based assignments that are due a few hours before class, and the instructor reads the student submissions "just-in-time" to adjust the lesson content and activities to suit the students' needs. Thus, the heart of JiTT is the 'feedback loop' formed by the students' outside-of-class preparation that fundamentally affects what happens during the subsequent in-class time together. The students come to class prepared and already engaged with the material, and the faculty member already knows exactly where the students are and where classroom time together can be best spent. The feedback cycle occurs several times each week, encouraging students to stay current and to do so by studying in several sessions that are short enough to avoid fatigue." 
  • University of Maine Physics Education Research Laboratory (PERL)
    UMaine PERL provides a variety of assessment resources. First, they provide (for free) downloadable templates in Excel for analysis of pre- and post- distributions of the Force Concept Inventory, the Maryland Physics Expectation Survey, Electric Circuits Concept Inventory, and the Heat and Temperature Concept inventory. They also provide the Wave Diagnostic Test in Adobe aArobat (pdf) format. They also provide papers on a variety of topics in the assessment of student understanding of physics content (quantum physics, mechanical waves, relationship between physics and mathematics, electricity and magnetism, and radioactivity), of elements of cognition (models of student reasoning, how students make decisions, consistency/coherence of student beliefs, and attitudes/expectations), and an analysis of the validity of standardized tests. 
  • University of Maryland Physics Education Research Group
    The University of Maryland PERG website provides a host of resources in physics education (e.g., papers, tutorials, teaching materials), some of which are assessments. The assessments provided on the site (called problems) are: activity-based problems, estimation problems, alternative homework problems, essay questions, and exam questions. 
  • University of Massachusetts Physics Education Group (UMPERG)
    The mission of the UMPERG is two-fold, "To conduct rigorous scientific research into physics education, cognitive dynamics, instructional communication, and related topics; and to develop instructional strategies and materials based on results from the field of Physics Education Research." (quote taken from website). Of note are two projects of the group that involve the delivery and research on assessment. The first project is called "ASK-IT" and is a system for enabling instructors to ask students question in large-lecture classes; and, the second project is called "ConMap," and the group is studying the success of a computer-based concept mapping tool to capture student understanding. 
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis): Physics Education Research and Development
    This group has focused on cooperative problem solving and their website provides: "context rich" physics problems that have been found to be good for use in small groups; examples of their pre-lab quizzes; a laboratory manual that emphasizes discovery of physics topics, and papers on the topic of student learning. 
  • University of Washington: Physics Education Group
    In addition to curricular materials that promote discovery of physics, this website provides a series of papers on student understanding of physics concepts. 
  • Modeling Instruction Program at Arizona State University
    Along with their emphasis on the professional development of high school teachers, this group provides a host of assessment resources in its "research and evaluation" section: 
  • Web Physics
    WebPhysicsTM is an effort of several colleges and universities throughout the United States to provide a WWW interface for sharing useful physics teaching resources. There are many WebPhysics websites, varying in the degree to which they have materials. A good WebPhysics website to begin at is the original site at Davidson College. This site provides links to physics classes and also provides a link to some java applets (called Physlets) for use in physics classes. 
  • Workshop Physics Project at Dickinson College
    The Workshop Physics project has developed curricular materials that allow instructors at the college and high school levels to teach introductory physics courses without lectures. 
  • Resources for Physics from Florida Atlantic University Resources for Colleges and Academic Departments 
  • American Association of Physics Teachers
    National Task Force on Undergraduate Physics 
  • Project KaleidoscopePhysics Portfolio
    Computer-Led Cooperative Learning and Reinventing the Introductory Physics Course
    Department Transformations at Lawrence, Rutgers, and University of Wisconsin - La Crosse 
  • University of Massachusetts: Physics Education Research Group 
  • Weber State University - Physics