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Viola Takács: Physics Achievement by Abstraction Level as a Function of IQ

The relationships between students’ intelligence and physics achievements are investigated as part of a large scale assessment project carried out at the Teacher Training Institute of the University of Pécs. Two versions of a physics test (both containing 38 items in 16 tasks) were administered to 442 students in 23 classes in grades 7 and 11 in schools in Baranya county, Hungary. Abstraction levels of the items were classified as phenomenon, concept, visual representation of concept, relation, law, unit of measurement and calculation. IQ measures for the students were also available and used to identify student groups of differenent intellectual abilities. Physics grades as indicators of teacher assessment preferences were also included in the analysis. Galois graphs were used to identify trends in student performance on physics tasks which targeted different levels of abstraction. Two major trends were found: (1) the higher the students’ IQ, the higher their performance; and (2) the higher the abstraction required by the task, the lower the general performance. Detailed analyses pointed to explanations implying teachers’ possible neglect as regards the comprehension of phenomena and the definition of concepts, as well as their emphasis on evaluation targeting the memorisation of laws and units of measurement. An unacceptably low performance was found on tasks requiring calculations, which reveals students’ difficulties in computation and in reducing equations.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 103. Number 2. 141-154. (2003)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Takács Viola, Pécsi Tudományegyetem, Tanárképző Intézet, Pedagógia Tanszék, H–7624 Pécs, Ifjúság út. 6.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia