Jessica Watkins

Gender, mental rotations, and introductory physics, at Portland, OR, Thursday, July 22, 2010
In this talk we examine an often-cited claim for gender differences in STEM participation: cognitive differences on tests of spatial ability explain achievement differences in physics. We specifically investigate the role of mental rotations in physics achievement and problem-solving, viewing mental rotations as a tool that students can use on physics problems. We first look at student survey results for lower-level introductory students, finding a small, but significant correlation between performance on a mental rotations test and course achievement. In contrast, we find no such... Read more about Gender, mental rotations, and introductory physics
Can Students Evaluate Their Own Understanding?, at AAPT Summer Meeting (Syracuse, NY), Tuesday, July 25, 2006:
Can students assess their own understanding in introductory physics? How does their assessment change during the learning process? Instructors often gauge how well students are assimilating the material based on the number of questions or confused looks they receive during their interactions with students. However, it is unclear how well students are able to recognize their own understanding (or lack thereof). In this talk, we present preliminary results from our study of the relationship between students' perceived understanding and their actual understanding of introductory physics concepts... Read more about Can Students Evaluate Their Own Understanding?