The function of advanced placement physics within the Newfoundland and Labrador physics curriculum

Pike, Thomas N. (1996) The function of advanced placement physics within the Newfoundland and Labrador physics curriculum. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

This study's primary purpose was to determine if exposure to Advanced Placement (AP) physics in Newfoundland & Labrador high schools lead to a more successful first year of physics at Memorial University. Secondly, to determine if AP physics is equivalent to first year university physics. Finally, to determine if AP physics academically challenges and stimulates students' critical thinking abilities beyond which is provided by the present high school curriculum. -- A multiple regression was used to determine the relationship between high school science grades, exposure to AP physics, and the final grades of 826 first year university physics students. Two student groups were studied, AP and non-AP. Each group had equivalent high school grades in advanced mathematics, physics, and chemistry. AP students enrolled in a calculus based physics course was found to achieve greater levels of success in their first year university physics than non-AP students. AP students' final grades in an algebra based physics course were not significantly different from their AP peers. Advanced mathematics and chemistry were also determined to have a high predictive value in final grades of first year university physics courses. -- A second analysis compared the final grades of 110 students who were enrolled in a second year university physics course. Two groups were identified; AP students who advanced to this course from high school, and non-AP second year university students. No significant difference was found between the students studied in each group. It was concluded that AP physics can be considered as an academic equivalent to an algebra-based, first year university physics course. -- Finally, questionnaire results from 96 physics teachers, and 63 first year university physics students were used to determine the relationship between high school, AP, and first year university physics. A majority of students perceived that high school physics ill-prepares students academically and conceptually for first year university physics. Also cited, were insufficient laboratory exposure and resources in high schools. AP physics was perceived to overcome the deficiencies of a regular high school curriculum, challenging the academically gifted. A need was identified for AP physics as preparation, not a substitute for, university physics.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5138
Item ID: 5138
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 121-126.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1996
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Physics--Study and teaching (Secondary); Advanced placement programs (Education)

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