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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Study of student attitude toward two contrasting physics laboratory designs. Page, Gordon G.

Abstract

A study of the attitudes of students toward physics laboratory programs was hypothesized to be one method of determining the relative probability with which these laboratory programs could succeed in fulfilling two primary objectives: (1) providing a knowledge of some basic concepts and experimantal techniques in physics, and (2) developing a high degree of interest in physics. This supposition was based upon the positive correlation between attitude toward a learning situation and achievement and interest in the situation, reported to have been found in previous studies investigating attitudes and their relationship to learning. To measure the attitudes of students toward the physics laboratory, an attitude scale was developed through sound methods of scale construction. Studies were completed .investigating attitudes as measured by this scale and their relationship with achievement in the laboratory and interest in physics. The results of these studies not only supported the hypothesis that the predicted relationship did exist, but also furnished evidence that the scale possessed construct validity. The function of the attitude scale in this study was to determine which of two physics 110 laboratory programs at the University of British Columbia was more favorably rated by students. One program was patterned upon traditional laboratory design (control program), while the other was based upon recent trends in laboratory philosophy and design (experimental program). Students worked in these programs for three months. The attitude scale was administered before these programs commenced, and at their completion. The results of these administrations disclosed that the experimental program was rated by students to be significantly more favorable than the control program, which in view of the relationship found to exist between attitude as measured by the attitude scale, and achievement in the laboratory and interest in physics, suggested that the experimental program was more capable of providing a knowledge of some basic concepts and experimental techniques in physics, as well as developing a higher degree of interest in physics.

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