Friday, February 8, 2013

Analyzing My Own FCI Data

I'm in that glorious time of year known as My Student Teacher's Solo Period where I just sit in the library and get other work done, while my intern handles my classes. How did I get so lucky?

So what have I been doing with all my time? Besides running an uncontested campaign for City Council, co-organizing the Montpelier Energy Fair, and refinancing my mortgage, I've been crunching data from my classroom.

Oh gosh this is embarrassing. But I think it's healthy to just put it out there!

I've been using the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) since 2007 as a pre and post test for my students, to see if I have actually taught them any physics. In case you're not familiar the FCI is a nationally recognized physics test and I could be comparing my results with traditionally taught classrooms or project-based classrooms all over the country, and that's great, but it seems too that at least in my case - there's something to be said for gaining experience. The algorithm for Normalized Point Gain (G) is (Average post test score -Average pre-test score)/(100 - Average pre-test score)

Back in 2010 I was floored by how good my scores were, and then in 2011 you can imagine my disappointment. Was 2010 just a good dream? What happened? This of course led to a serious revamp of some specific units and putting my entire curriculum in digital form. Apparently it's paying off! It appears yet again that I'm making progress. I've already disaggregated the data to tell me which unit is my weakest, so I know where to focus my energies for next year! 

In an industry where your product graduates, it's good to feel like you're making some kind of progress. 


Keri Phipps said...

Getting ready to do some analysis of my own...loved reading about your experiences (and jealous of the student teacher - don't really do that where I'm at). Could you share some of the things that you do/approaches that you take?

anneofvermont said...

Hi Keri, Thanks for commenting! I would love to share more - particularly of anything that's helpful... by "things I do" or "approaches I take"? Do you mean in my day to day teaching? Hmmm... I wonder what would be the best mechanism for sharing that... I could picture a series of posts one post dedicated to each unit I teach. Would that be helpful?