TitleEvaluative sensemaking: frequency of and variance among instructors
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2019
AuthorsHerring, Travis, MacKenzie Lenz, Kelby T. Hahn, Paul J. Emigh, and Elizabeth Gire
Conference NamePhysics Education Research Conference
Conference LocationProvo, UT

Evaluative sensemaking strategies are used by physics experts and students to reflect on their answers. To understand how students make meaning of and check the correctness of their answers, we identify various strategies students used on homework problems in three different sections of a calculus-based introductory physics course. We use an elaborative coding process to categorize students' responses to an explicit reflection prompt for circular motion, rotational motion, oscillations, and optics problems. The evaluative sensemaking strategies most commonly used were asserting the correctness of units, arguing reasonableness based on given problem parameters or the solution process, and drawing on prior knowledge from outside physics. The frequency of strategies varied by instructor and were aligned with instructional emphases. Students who experienced instruction that emphasized concepts tended to use more conceptual strategies, while students who experienced more procedural/algebraic instruction employed more mathematical strategies.

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