Interactive-engagement versus traditional methods: A six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses

Richard R. Hake
1998 American Journal of Physics  
A survey of pre/post-test data using the Halloun-Hestenes Mechanics Diagnostic test or more recent Force Concept Inventory is reported for 62 introductory physics courses enrolling a total number of students Nϭ6542. A consistent analysis over diverse student populations in high schools, colleges, and universities is obtained if a rough measure of the average effectiveness of a course in promoting conceptual understanding is taken to be the average normalized gain ͗g͘. The latter is defined as
more » ... ter is defined as the ratio of the actual average gain (%͗post͘Ϫ%͗pre͘) to the maximum possible average gain (100 Ϫ%͗pre͘). Fourteen "traditional" (T) courses (Nϭ2084) which made little or no use of interactive-engagement ͑IE͒ methods achieved an average gain ͗g͘ T-ave ϭ0.23Ϯ0.04 ͑std dev͒. In sharp contrast, 48 courses (Nϭ4458) which made substantial use of IE methods achieved an average gain ͗g͘ IE-ave ϭ0.48Ϯ0.14 ͑std dev͒, almost two standard deviations of ͗g͘ IE-ave above that of the traditional courses. Results for 30 (Nϭ3259) of the above 62 courses on the problem-solving Mechanics Baseline test of Hestenes-Wells imply that IE strategies enhance problem-solving ability. The conceptual and problem-solving test results strongly suggest that the classroom use of IE methods can increase mechanics-course effectiveness well beyond that obtained in traditional practice.
doi:10.1119/1.18809 fatcat:wf4dok6smbdjhbep5eg54jrrfy