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We then describe the development of a novel, multiple-response version of an existing conceptual assessment in upper-division electrostatics courses.The goal of this new version is to provide an easily-graded electrostatics assessment that can potentially be implemented to investigate student learning on a large scale.Furthermore, we are able to track changes in beliefs and practices along various time scales.
Consequently, there is a need to enhance traditional forms of preparation to support TAs in this expanded role in ways that complement broader professional development opportunities.
Enhancing TA preparation requires understanding how TAs make sense of their roles as instructors so that we may identify potential avenues for intervention that support the development of practices that are (1) supportive of curricular goals and (2) consistent with the TAs' overall pedagogical model.
The intent of this thesis is to develop a single overarching framework for analyzing how TAs talk about and carry out their roles as instructors.
We then apply this framework to a set of interview and video data from multiple semesters, and make claims regarding instances of coordination and dis-coordination between TAs' beliefs and practices.
We have developed a framework for understanding and characterizing student perspectives on the physical interpretation of quantum mechanics, and demonstrate the differential impact on student thinking of the myriad ways instructors approach interpretive themes in their introductory courses.
Like expert physicists, students interpret quantum phenomena differently, and these interpretations are significantly influenced by their overall stances on questions central to the so-called measurement problem: Is the wave function physically real, or simply a mathematical tool?
We show that student performance on the new multiple-response version exhibits a significant degree of consistency with performance on the free-response version, and that it continues to provide significant insight into student reasoning and student difficulties.
Moreover, we demonstrate that the new assessment is both valid and reliable using data from upper-division physics students at multiple institutions.
As research-based instructional strategies become more widespread in these settings, the TA's role is expanding beyond simply presenting physics content to encompass facilitating student discussion and attending to student reasoning.
At the same time, we recognize that these TAs are physics professionals and future faculty, and their teaching experiences in graduate school have the potential for long-term impact on their professional identities.