PREPAREDNESS AND PHYSICS-RELATED EPISTEMOLOGICAL VIEWS OF INTERNATIONAL PHYSICS MAJORS AT A FINNISH UNIVERSITY

TitlePREPAREDNESS AND PHYSICS-RELATED EPISTEMOLOGICAL VIEWS OF INTERNATIONAL PHYSICS MAJORS AT A FINNISH UNIVERSITY
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsTinell, R, Asikainen, MA, Hirvonen, PE
JournalProblems of Education in the 21st Century
Volume75
Issue3
Start Page288-314
PaginationContinuous
Date PublishedJune/2017
Type of ArticleOriginal article
ISSN1822-7864
ISBN NumberE-ISSN 2538-7111
Keywordsepistemological views, higher education, international students, postgraduate studies, pre-knowledge
Abstract

The aim of this research is to depict foreign entrant students’ preparedness for studies in an international Master’s degree programme of physics at a Finnish university in order to lay the ground for a research-based development of the study programme. Interviews were conducted with the academic staff involved in the programme to investigate their views on the international physics students as learners. Conceptual tests were deployed to assess international students’ conceptual understanding of the areas fundamental to acquiring a solid expertise in physics. To enrich the data, a survey was conducted to obtain information about students’ physics-related epistemological views. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used for the data analysis. The main results suggest that the entrant international students comprise a very heterogeneous group with regard to their preparedness for commencing physics studies. The staff were specifically concerned with the international students’ pre-knowledge of physics, a notion that is supported by the test results. Suggestions based on present findings are made for further development of international degree programmes such as the one considered in this article.

URLhttp://oaji.net/articles/2017/457-1498501259.pdf
Refereed DesignationRefereed
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