Physical Science General Education Assessment

Students in our general education physical science courses learn foundational concepts in science, the application of science to society, the nature of science, and critical thinking.

In the course Science and Society (Physical Science 1000) students learn about the interaction between people and the environment with an emphasis on how modern technologies are impacting impacting the environment. New assessments in the course indicate that students are learning the fundamentals about the interdependency of earth systems and measures that can be taken to protect the environment.

In the course Critical Thinking in Science and Technology (Physical Science 1080) grapple with opposing viewpoints on in-the-news topics that impact science and society.  By researching and reading articles they provide evidence for their claims.  Post tests have shown that students in the course increase their understanding of the Nature of Science and scientific argumentation.

Practical Physics I (Physical Science 1100) uses the research-based, hand-on curricula Next Generation Physics and Everyday Thinking.  The course provides a foundation of physics and chemistry content, as well as Nature of Science and science processing skills, and it particularly useful for education majors since it aligns with Next Generation Science Standards.  Post-test assessments show students have made particular gains in understanding the role of energy in physical science.

Students in the Practical Chemistry course (Physical Science 1130) experience the full spectrum of inquiry investigations during the course of the semester. They carry out experiments ranging from confirmation of scientific principles to the process of designing their own experiments to solve problems. This laboratory program gives students a better picture of the Nature of Science. Pre and Post assessment of student attitudes about science suggests that students have a greater interest in science after taking the course.

Science majors typically fulfill their general education requirements with either General Chemistry I and Laboratory (Chemistry 1400 and 1410) or Physics I with Calculus (Physics 2110).  Both of these course are also available to non-science majors who are interested in a more in-depth discussion of physical science concepts.  More on the assessment of these courses can be found in chemistry assessment and physics assessment.