Abstract by Jessica Martin
Physics and Astronomy
Assessing Shifts in Lab Assistant Attitudes
At BYU, many physics lab courses have shifted their focus from concept-reinforcement to a more open-ended model of exploration and investigation. However, this new focus is often at odds with what new lab assistants expect the purpose of a lab to be, resulting in role confusion. Through a new training process, lab assistants will juxtapose their preconceived role of lab assistant against the new role of “experimental consultant, leader, and technical expert” and actively choose to change their attitudes and develop new skills in three key areas: leadership, constructing knowledge, and technical literacy. To measure the effectiveness of these trainings, we have created new observation assessments, self-evaluations, and reflection tools to track their development in three areas: leadership qualities, construction of knowledge, and technical skills. This case study measures the shift in role perception using these assessments and then analyzes the data using a codified system. Due to the ongoing nature of the study, only the experimental theory involving the assessments and coding analysis methods will be discussed.