The Engineering Physics and Physics Education Division of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) has nominated an article on the design and assessment of UR's Physics 121P for the 2015 ASEE Conference Best Paper Award. The ASEE cited the methods for addressing diversity in engineering education, described in the article, in their nomination. The prize will be awarded later in 2015.
The article, "Comparison of mastery learning and traditional lecture-exam models in a large-enrollment physics course," was written by Barbara Masi, UR's Director of Educational Innovation and Assessment Initiatives, together with Profs. Dan Watson and Arie Bodek, and Physics Ph.D. students Dev Ashish Khaitan and Erik Garcell. It was published earlier this year in ASEE's refereed conference proceedings. In the paper, Dr. Masi and her PAS colleagues describe the design and goals of PHY 121P, the mastery/self-paced version of introductory physics for scientists and engineers. They also present a detailed, mixed-mode, unbiased, differential assessment between mastery/self-paced PHY 121P and the traditionally-formatted PHY 121. The assessment revealed that PHY 121P students outperformed students PHY 121 students on a common final exam by 12% -- 0.4 standard deviations -- on the average. Gains were even larger for students with incomplete math and science backgrounds, who were at risk for poor performance; in PHY 121P these students outperformed their PHY 121 counterparts on the common final exam by 1.2 standard deviations, and their course grades averaged a full letter-grade higher.