C. Henderson, E. Marshman, R. Sayer
Dec 29, 2016
arXiv: Physics Education
Physics graduate teaching assistants (TAs) are often responsible for grading. Physics education research suggests that grading practices that place the burden of proof for explicating the problem solving process on students can help them develop problem solving skills and learn physics. However, TAs may not have developed effective grading practices and may grade student solutions in introductory and advanced courses differently. In the context of a TA professional development course, we asked TAs to grade student solutions to introductory physics and quantum mechanics problems and explain why their grading approaches were different or similar in the two contexts. TAs expected and rewarded reasoning more frequently in the QM context. Our findings suggest that these differences may at least partly be due to the TAs not realizing that grading can serve as a formative assessment tool and also not thinking about the difficulty of an introductory physics problem from an introductory physics student's perspective.