Physics Education Research

Prof. Cassandra Paul, teaching a classPhysics Education Research (PER) is the study of how people learn physics in order to improve physics learning and teaching. This is an extremely complex area of physics research, given the dynamic, multifaceted nature of learning! PER qualitatively and quantitatively studies how people learn physics, effective instructional practices, and how to foster more equitable learning environments. PER also contributes to the development of curricular materials, teaching approaches, tools, and assessments to improve physics learning. Topics of ongoing PER research at SJSU include: characterizing classroom interactions between instructors and students; the role of assessments, written feedback, and grading in physics learning; researching how learners come to engage in physics practices; understanding how identity and belonging contribute to students’ long-term persistence in physics; and cultivating long-term institutional change within physics departments. For information and to learn about research opportunities, contact Brianne Gutmann, Thomas Madura, Cassandra Paul, or Gina Quan. See also the SJSU Physics Education Research Group website.