The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School
BOX 9.4A Program for Diagnosing Preconceptions in Physics
A computer-based DIAGNOSER program has helped teachers increase student achievement in high school physics (Hunt and Minstrell, 1994). The program assesses students’ beliefs (preconceptions) about various physical phenomena— beliefs that often fit their everyday experiences but are not consistent with physicists’ views of the world (see Chapters 2, 3, 6, and 7). Given particular beliefs, sets of activities are recommended that help students reinterpret phenomena from a physicist’s perspective. Teachers incorporate information from the diagnoser to guide how they teach. Data from experimental and comparison classrooms on students’ understanding of important concepts in physics show strong superiority for those in the experimental groups; see the graph below.
FIGURE 9.1Mercer Island versus comparable school mechanics vinal and MAT math scores. SOURCE: Hunt and Minstrell (1994).