Present and interpret numeric information in graphic forms

General education program student learning outcome 3.2 at the College of Micronesia-FSM expects that students will be able present and interpret numeric information in graphic forms. In SC 130 Physical Science the student present numeric information using xy scattergraphs in laboratory reports. 

Determining whether the students can interpret graphically presented information was measured by specific questions on the final examination. An item analysis was conducted for all 27 students who sat the final examination.

Performance on program student learning outcome 3.2, click to enlarge

Given a table of data and a grid, at term end 85% of the students correctly plotted data points and put a line through the points. Of the five data points, only one plotted to a grid intersection. The most common error was not in plotting per se but that some students reversed the x and y axes when they plotted the data.

74% of the 27 students then calculated the slope correctly.

When presented with a graph that included a best fit line and the equation for that line where the slope was the speed of sound, 63% of the students correctly inferred that the slope value was the physical quantity in question (the speed of sound). 

At the end of the term physical science students have the ability to plot data and determine the slope of the line through the data, the students are weaker at making the connection between the slope and the physical quantities they represent. This connection between slopes and physical quantities is central to a number of the laboratories during the term. Given that this connection is already central to laboratories one, two, three, five, nine, eleven, and section three of twelve, finding more ways to bring about learning this particular connection may be difficult.

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