Exploring Student Understanding of Force and Motion Using a Simulation-Based Performance Assessment

  • Jessica Gale Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Jayma Koval Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Stefanie Wind
  • Mike Ryan
  • Marion Usselman

Abstract

Performance assessment (PA) has been increasingly advocated as a method for measuring students’ conceptual understanding of scientific phenomena. In this study, we describe preliminary findings of a simulation- based PA utilized to measure 8th grade students’ understanding of physical science concepts taught via an experimental problem-based curriculum, SLIDER (Science Learning Integrating Design Engineering and Robotics). In SLIDER, students use LEGO robotics to complete a series of investigations and engineering design challenges designed to deepen their understanding of key force and motion concepts (net force, acceleration, friction, balanced forces, and inertia). The simulation-based performance assessment consisted of 4 tasks in which students engaged with video simulations illustrating physical science concepts aligned to the SLIDER curriculum. The performance assessment was administered to a stratified sample of 8th grade students (N=24) in one school prior to and following implementation of the SLIDER curriculum. In addition to providing an illustration of the use of simulation- based performance assessment in the context of design-based implementation research (DBIR), the results of the study indicate preliminary evidence of student learning over the course of curriculum implementation.

Published
2016-07-01
How to Cite
Gale, J., Koval, J., Wind, S., Ryan, M., & Usselman, M. (2016). Exploring Student Understanding of Force and Motion Using a Simulation-Based Performance Assessment. Journal of Research in STEM Education, 2(1), 39-58. Retrieved from https://j-stem.net/index.php/jstem/article/view/21
Section
Articles