Graduate Student Difficulties on Electrostatics Topics -- Conductors and Insulators

By  Qiaoyi Liu
Received: 2019-9-24 / Accepted: 2019-11-10 / Published: 2019-11-20
PDF Main Manuscript (432.14 KB)  DOI:
Abstract A lack of conceptual understanding of electrostatics principles, especially in the context of conductors and insulators, has been observed among a large number of introductory physics students as well as upper-level physics students. This work aims to explore graduate students’ misconceptions on these topics, particularly on how charges are distributed on conductors and insulators in various scenarios. Four first-year physics graduate students were selected to participate in think aloud interviews, where they were given a set of questions related to basic concepts of conductors and insulators, and asked to explain their thought processes as detailed as possible. The result of the four interviews are categorized by the test questions, which discusses the misconceptions that were demonstrated throughout the interviews, along with the interviewees’ reasoning behind these misconceptions. Despite that the interviewees have taken the introductory and advanced electricity and magnetism courses, a number of misconceptions still prevail in their conceptual understanding related to conductors and insulators. One possible explanation is the discontinuity between their knowledge of mathematical formulation and physical understanding of the concept, thus it is recommended that instructors should enforce students to review the advanced theory in the context of physical situations. [More...]

Influence of the Reform of College Entrance Examination on High School Physics Curriculum in Shanghai

By  Guangtian Zhu, Yunlin Chen
Received: 2019-9-30 / Accepted: 2019-11-16 / Published: 2019-11-20
PDF Main Manuscript (331.86 KB)  DOI:
Abstract A new round of the reform of college entrance examination is in progress in China, which would inevitably influence high school curriculum, especially physics. According to our statistics, the proportion of students choosing physics as a selective subject decreased significantly after the reform of college entrance examination was carried out. We conducted a study in Shanghai, one of the pilot areas of the reform, to investigate the impact of the new reform policy of college entrance examination on high school physics curriculum with interviews and FCI tests, thus to provide references for the future reform. We found that compared with the conditions before the reform, the high school students from Shanghai learned less about physics and physics teachers has less time to teach and communicate with students. What is more, college freshmen from Shanghai fell behind those who came from other areas in FCI performance before and even after a term of formal instruction. [More...]

The dilemma and the improvement path of the proposition situation of science in Chinese college entrance examination

By  Hongjun Xing, Wenhui Gong
Received: 2019-9-30 / Accepted: 2019-11-17 / Published: 2019-11-20
PDF Main Manuscript (372.91 KB)  DOI:
Abstract Under the background of deepening the reform of the examination enrollment system and the examination content in China, although we have witnessed some progress in the quality of science college entrance examination proposition, some challenges and problems persist, mainly in: inadequate diversity of situation, insufficient presentation of the situation and contempt for the scientific nature of situation. In view of the above issues in the compilation of proposition situation, the following improvements are proposed: select situation scientifically, present situation effectively, explore the scientificity of situation.  [More...]