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Freda and Sobolewski Present on Peer Tutoring in a Non-Majors Physics Class

Ron Freda and Stanley Sobolewski presented “The Effectiveness of Peer Instruction on Non-Science Students Enrolled in a Physical Science Class” on April 5, 2014, at the WPA-AAPT regional meeting at Monessen High School. 

Abstract

Peer tutoring, as developed by Eric Mazur and others, has been shown to enhance conceptual understanding of Newton’s law of motion as measured by the Force Concept Inventory (FCI). In this method of instruction, multiple choice questions are presented to the class. Students offer individual responses either with an electronic personal response device or alphanumeric flash cards. The instructor then reviews the responses; if a majority of the students did not select the correct answer, the instructor tells the students in the class to discuss their answer with their peers and vote again.

According to Mazur, the critical step in this process is the peer discussion.  In our study, we used two sections of Physical Science, a Physics course for non-science majors. When replicating the technique used by Mazur, we found no difference between peer tutoring and control group. We will discuss this result and offer other findings.

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