Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of Cohorts' Early Enrollment in Physics: concurrent with enrollment in mathematics, biology and chemistry
by Lynch, Robert Bruce Rodes, Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2014, 501; 3646337
Abstract (Summary)

Cohorts of 48 entering biological science majors was recruited in the fall of 2007 and again in 2008 and 2009 for the Interdisciplinary Science Experience (ISE). These ISE students enrolled in their own sections of standard courses of physics, chemistry, and biology. In these courses average ISE student out-performed their non-cohort peers by up to a full letter grade. A qualitative analysis of ISE student interviews illuminates the student experience and shows how the ISE students perceived themselves to be different than their non-cohort peers. Quantitative modeling of student performance shows that higher grades are correlated with multiple factors. These factors includes admissions characteristics such as high school GPA, and SAT scores, as well as demographic information. These trends support and elaborate on the selection narratives told by participants. Additionally the quantitative model found that higher student performance is predicted by structural aspects of the ISE program, specifically the timing of course, enrolling as a freshmen in many of their courses, and the sequencing of physics and chemistry courses. There is a statistically significant benefit to student performance in general and organic chemistry courses associated with completing the first quarter of the Physics for Bio-Science majors prior to enrollment. Further the combination of quantitative and qualitative data suggest that there is a epistemological transfer of problem solving skills and outlook from the physics to the chemistry courses.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Webb, David J.
Commitee: Cox, Daniel, Potter, Wendell
School: University of California, Davis
Department: Physics
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 76/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education Policy, Theoretical physics
Keywords: Clasp, Cohort, College, Per
Publication Number: 3646337
ISBN: 9781321363234