Parent Characteristics, Teacher Qualification, Peer Effect, and Student Achievement in Third Grade: A Multiple-Group Mixture Structural Equation Model

By  Hui Jiang, Sui Huang
Received: 2012-3-26 / Accepted: 2012-9-12 / Published: 2012-12-30
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Abstract This paper uses the multiple-group mixture SEM model to examine the effects of parent characteristics, teacher qualification, and peer effect on students’ academic performance. The potential differential effects for higher-achieving and lower-achieving groups are also examined. Using a national sample of 7022 third grade students in the ECLS-K study, the project finds that parent characteristics and peer effect contribute positively to academic achievement, while teacher qualification has little effects. However, higher-achieving groups appear to be more sensitive to teacher effects than lower-achieving group. Moreover, parent characteristics remain the strongest predictor of children’s academic success across samples. [More...]

Alignment Between Physics Curriculum Standard and High School Physics Exit Examination in China: A Comparison among Guangdong, Ningxia, Shandong, and Hainan Provinces

By  Yuying Guo, Tao Xing, Guiqing Xu, Chaoyang Zheng
Received: 2012-5-5 / Accepted: 2012-10-12 / Published: 2012-12-30
PDF Main Manuscript (266.11 KB)
Abstract In order to find out if the physics achievement qualifying examination reflect the main contents of physics curriculum standards and the direction of the curriculum reform, this study compares the alignment between the physics curriculum standard of senior high school in China and physics achievement qualifying examination in Guangdong, Ningxia, Shandong and Hainan provinces. The results based on the Porter alignment method indicate that all the alignment between curriculum standard and test papers in the four provinces are very low, with the Porter alignment index range from 0.25 to 0.38, due to a shift toward higher cognitive level from curriculum standard to exams and the focus of the exam contents in mechanics. Although the experimental inquiry and physics history are paid attention to in all these test papers, no PTS (physics-technology-society) and physics ideas and methods are reflected in these papers at all. How to test these aspects, which are important contents in the new physics curriculum, remains to further research. [More...]

Physics Learning Identity: Toward Development of A Model

By  Sissi L. Li, Dedra Demaree
Received: 2012-8-13 / Accepted: 2012-10-27 / Published: 2012-12-30
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Abstract Lecture classes enrolling hundreds of students are becoming the norm in college introductory science courses. Studies indicate that learning in large population enrollment traditional lecture courses correlates with lower course performance, reduced retention in the course (Gardiner, 1994; Borden and Burton, 1999) and as science majors (Kopeika, 1992; Hewitt & Seymour, 1999), reduced interest and motivation (Lord, 1999), and weaker grasp of meta learning goals such as critical thinking skills (Kennedy and Siegfried, 1997). However, the negative effects of large enrollment courses appear to be reduced by implementing some form of active engagement curriculum in place of the passive traditional lecture (Hake, 1998; Powell, 2003). Further examination of learning in active engagement classrooms suggests that the learning environment mediates the quality of knowledge built because the learning environment facilitates students in developing identities in relation to the discipline (Boaler, 2002). Therefore we must study student learning as identity development in addition to conceptual knowledge building. The purpose of this chapter is to build a model of social learning to frame the construct of physics learning identity. This will enable further development of analytical tools to measure and examine students’ learning identity as they engage with the classroom community of practice. [More...]

The Impact of Assessment Format on Student and Evaluator Response in Physics Assessment, part I: A Literature Review

By  James Broberg, Lei Bao
Received: 2012-8-21 / Accepted: 2012-11-15 / Published: 2012-12-30
PDF Main Manuscript (225.58 KB)
Abstract The purpose of this paper will be to review the current literature studying the impact of assessment format in physics evaluation in order to arrive at a comprehensive picture of the results and effects of different assessment formats on academic performance. This picture shall be obtained by asking two separate questions of each assessment format, and will conclude with a bulleted list of the failures and successes of each assessment format in corresponding to the desired outcome for each question posed. This list shall be used as a guideline for future development of evaluation techniques, as the list of “pros” provide a description of the outcomes desired and the list of “cons” provide a description of the outcomes to be minimized. The two questions that shall organize the discussion and the model that it results in are the
following: (a) What is the impact of the assessment format on a student’s response?, and (b) what is the impact of the assessment format on the evaluator’s response? This paper shall consider the two most prevalent assessment formats, “multiple choice” and “free construction”, and subsequent papers will discuss the innovations and alternatives proposed to undercut the dichotomy between multiple choice and free construction while using this paper’s model as a guideline for directing progress. [More...]