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G. Covatariu1, M.M. Cazacu1, I. Radinschi1, V. Ciocan1, V. Fratiman2, F.E. Turcanu1

1"Gheorghe Asachi" Technical University (ROMANIA)
2”Mihai David” Middle School (ROMANIA)
Computer simulations are designed for our 1st year students who study physics during the second semester and aim at enhancing students’ understanding of physics phenomena and laws, and their practical laboratory skills. In order to enhance self-learning and group-learning activities we created a virtual physics laboratory where computer simulations are being used. Over the last decade, we have developed several computer simulations using Adobe Flash, HTML5 and JavaScript technologies. We reported considerable progress in students’ ability to work in the physics laboratory and a significant increase of their scores at lab tests and final exams. This paper describes a statistical survey conducted to analyze the improvement of students’ scores at their lab tests and in final physics exams in the last five academic years. Our statistical study collected descriptive statistical data from students studying both in Romanian (RO) and in English (EN) at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Building Services of “Gheorghe Asachi” Technical University, Iasi (Romania) and contains inferential statistical results. Statistical analysis was performed for a total of 753 students including 534 students who study in Romanian (RO) and 219 students who study in English (EN). We noticed a rising tendency of high marks (8-10) and medium marks (5-7) in final exams. Therefore, marks rose by 23.83 % at courses taught in Romanian and by 9.42 % at courses taught in English, which means an average rise by 19.06 % from 2012-2013 to 2016-2017. With regards to laboratory marks, there was a rise by 13.17 % at laboratories taught in Romanian, by 18.75 % at laboratories taught in English, namely a general average rise by 14.33 % (RO) + (EN). Furthermore, two thirds of the students improved their scores because they used the virtual physics laboratory. The findings of the statistical survey prove that learning improved considerably due to the use of computer simulations and virtual physics laboratory.