Title

A Multivariate Model of Physics Problem Solving

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-2013

Abstract

A model of expertise in physics problem solving was tested on undergraduate science, physics, and engineering majors enrolled in an introductory-level physics course. Structural equation modeling was used to test hypothesized relationships among variables linked to expertise in physics problem solving including motivation, metacognitive planning, strategy use, categorization skills, and free-body diagrams. Results indicated that student motivation had a significant influence on metacognitive planning, strategy use, and categorization skills. Categorization skills influenced problem-solution scores directly, and indirectly, through strategy use. Categorization skills also had a significant influence on free-body diagrams. Free-body diagrams and metacognitive planning both had a significant influence on strategy use. Finally, strategy use had a significant influence on problem-solution scores. The implications of these findings for future research and developing students'' expertise in physics problem solving are discussed.