Interpreting VASS Dimensions and Profiles for Physics Students

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Student views about knowing and learning physics have been probed with the Views About Sciences Survey (VASS) along six conceptual dimensions, and classified into four distinct profiles: expert, high transitional, low transitional, and folk. As an aid to interpreting VASS results, this article provides a qualitative analysis of student responses to items within each of the six dimensions and a quantitative analysis of their relation to students' profiles. Students with an expert profile are chiefly scientific realists and critical learners. Students with a folk profile are primarily naive realists and passive learners. Students with transitional profiles hold mixtures of these views. Student profiles correlate significantly with physics achievement. Indeed, they may be major determinants of what students learn in physics courses.

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