Factors impacting students' decisions around Physics 12



Publication Details

Nashon, S. & Nielsen, W. S. (2007). Factors impacting students' decisions around Physics 12. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 7 (2&3), 93-106.


In recent years, participation rates in the British Columbia (BC) provincial physics exams have been low, compared with chemistry and biology. A qualitative study employing questionnaire and interview methods sought the views of teachers and students of senior science courses on why this is the case. Data analysis revealed that students' decisions about Physics 12 were influenced by their perceptions of the mathematical content of physics, the physics teachers' personalities and teaching styles, the perceived difficulty of physics, and prior experience of physics. We conclude that enhancing student interest in taking physics at advanced high school levels may necessitate a wider, more articulated exposure to topics in physics, together with more careful attention to mathematical background and skills.

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