Faculty Publications


Design and Non-design Labs: Does Transfer Occur?

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

David Rosengrant

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



This paper is the second in the series of three describing a controlled study “Transfer of scientific abilities”. The study was conducted in a large-enrollment introductory physics course taught via Investigative Science Learning Environment. Its goal was to find whether designing their own experiments in labs affects students’ approaches to experimental problem solving in new areas of physics and in biology, and their learning of physics concepts. This paper reports on the part of the study that assesses student work while solving an experimental problem in a physics content area not studied in class. For a quantitative evaluation of students’ abilities, we used scientific abilities rubrics. We studied the students’ lab reports and answers to non-traditional exam problems related to the lab. We evaluated their performance and compared it with the performance of a control group that had the same course but enrolled in nondesign labs instead of design labs. The project was supported by NSF grant DRL 0241078.


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American Institute of Physics