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Addressing Misconceptions in an Introduction to Materials Science & Engineering Course


CEM researchers have identified
numerous student difficulties with high priority topics covered in the
large-enrollment, sophomore level course,
to Materials Science and Engineering
To address these, during recitation sections each week students pursue
small group-work based activities designed
around specific misconceptions
.  Each week, the CEM researchers meet with the
instructor and teaching assistants to discuss the areas of student difficulty
and to train the TA’s in this method of instruction.

This method of instruction has
resulted in clear
in student performance
Comparing the exam grades between students who attended recitation and those
who did not, we found a linear, increasing relationship between the number of
recitations attended and the performance on exams. The effect was more
pronounced for questions closely related to the recitation material,
demonstrating the
value added
of the group work performed in recitation.