Assessment of Student Learning of Operational Procedures in Electromagnetism

Yikun Han 1 , Qiaoyi Liu 2 , Feipeng Pi 1,* , Lei Bao 2,*

1 Guangzhou University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510000, China
2 Department of Physics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43220, United States
*Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received: 2021-4-29 / Accepted: 2021-6-14 / Published: 2021-6-17

PDF Main Manuscript (678.13 KB)


Abstract In the Chinese high school physics curriculum, three operational procedures are introduced in electromagnetism, namely right-hand grip rule, left-hand rule, and right-hand rule. This often led to confusion for student to differentiate these rules, and thus often focus on the surface characteristics of the problem or be misled by unrelated details. This study adopts the conceptual framework representation to model student understanding, and use it to guide the design of an assessment test on operational procedures in electromagnetism. The conceptual framework maps out the key concepts and their connections within a student’s knowledge structure. In this study, an assessment tool of operational procedures in electromagnetism was developed and tested among Chinese high school students and college freshmen. Based on the testing results of the assessment, students have memory behaviors when using the right-hand grip rule, the left-hand rule and the right-hand rule, and students’ understanding of electromagnetism can be summarized into three progression levels including novice-like, intermediate-mixed, and expert-like. Therefore, in order to help students develop integrated knowledge structures and deeper understanding, the cross product is an important central idea that needs to be emphasized in instruction.

Research Areas:  Assessment

Keywords:  knowledge integration, operational procedures, electromagnetism