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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Student attitude and achievement in freshman physics, as related to stated student occupational choice : a multivariate approach Fox, Roger F.

Abstract

Knowledge of how different vocation-oriented groups of students respond to the classroom environment is a serious concern of an instructor in a first year college physics course -- especially those who accept the responsibility of facilitating the resolution of vocational choice determination. Knowledge about the nature of the instructor's class -- in terms of how they respond to various aspects of the teaching-learning situation -- has interpretative value in making decisions about special instructional provisions for the groups. This thesis was an attempt to provide information about the nature of the differences between vocation-oriented groups of students, in terms of selected dependent variables, important to the instructor of a first year college physics course. The data for the study was gathered from one class of a Physics 110 course offered at the University of British Columbia. Students in the class were divided into three groups based on vocational choice. Each of these groups were further subdivided in terms of the amount of high-school physics experience. Nineteen dependent variables were classified into three categories: (a) Antecedent -- Variables which provided information on a student's general academic ability, and his competence in Science subjects at the high-school level, (b) Cognitive -- Variables which provided information on student achievement during the year in Physics 110, and (c) Affective -- Variables providing information about a student's attitude towards concepts related to science in general and physics in particular. The data gathered was analysed first by a one-way multivariate analysis of variance. This analysis showed that there was a statistical significant difference between vocation-oriented group centroids on the dependent variables taken all at a time. The analysis was carried further to determine the nature of these group differences through a discriminant analysis. The discriminant analysis produced two significant discriminant functions which provided information on the variables that contributed most to differentiating between the groups along each function. The overall conclusion that was suggested is that only those students who were required to take just one year of college physics were clearly distinguished from the other vocation oriented groups. The major distinction between these groups being academic ability. Years of schooling in a subject area was also an important distinguishing factor for instructional purposes, but this factor did not discriminate between the various vocation-oriented groups.

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