ASSESSMENT OF PHYSICS PROBLEMS POSED BY STUDENTS
Problem posing involves generating new problems and re-formulating a given problem (Silver, 1994). This research was designed to find out assessment criteria of problems posed by students. Assessment criteria were researched during two semesters in 2008-2009.
Sixty participants were enrolled in a fundamental physics content course for the engineering faculty students in a university.
Participants were given the opportunity to pose their own problems in a given task through the instructional treatment. They posed problems in classroom and at home as homework. Participants were asked to generate problems from given task. The quality of problems in which students generated depends on the given task (Leung & Silver, 1997). Three different tasks were given to students during problem posing activities.
First task : “Generate a problem which is related with physics topic that you have studied in the classroom”. Second task : “ Generate a problem from given problem by using re-formulation strategy”. Third task: “Generate a problem from given set of information or problem statement”.
Participants were given 40 min to pose problems in the classroom. They were allowed to open books and notebooks during problem posing activity.
Researcher read and explained the directions to participants. It was explained that they could scan all the problems on their textbook to get experience about the kind of problems related with their topic, but they were not allowed to take any problem without change. They were forced to generate their own problems.
Participants posed problems related with the first task for one month and then they posed problems by using re-formulation strategy related with the second task, lastly they posed problems from given set of information or problem statement related with the third task. After the first task, participants were given information about problem posing strategies related with the second and the third tasks.
Worksheet of the problem posing activity was collected from the participants to determine the problem posing criteria. Interviews were conducted after problem posing activities. Participants were focused on topics related to beliefs about problem posing and characteristics of posed problems. Data from the worksheets and interviews were analyzed qualitatively. Data, which were collected, included all participants’ assignments and interviews. Students’ posed physics problems were analyzed to determine the characteristics of well-designed and poor designed problems which were discussed during interview.
Five dimensions were determined from the students’ posed problems. They are fluency of a problem, scientific accuracy of the problem (Compliance with the Principles of Physics), number of questions produced from the problem, complexity of the problem and the solvability of the problem. Main criteria are composed of sub-criteria. The sub criteria were scored from weak to strong.
Although the main problem posing criteria were determined in university physics course, these criteria can be used for the assessment of problems in the secondary education.