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.
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.
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.
Department of Physics