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Accounting for Tutorial Teaching Assistants’ Buy-in to Reform Instruction Renee Michelle Goertzen, Rachel E. Accounting for Tutorial Teaching Assistants’ Buy-in to Reform Instruction Renee Michelle Goertzen, Rachel E. Scherr, and Andrew Elby Department of Physics and Curriculum & Instruction, University of Maryland, College Park Research Question Compared to TAs at the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU), why do TAs at University of Maryland (UM) buy into tutorials less? Differences in the social and environmental contexts at UM and CU explain differences in TA buy-in A significant portion of UM TAs did not buy into two aspects UM tutorial designers consider important: • a focus on qualitative reasoning • importance of intuition in building physics knowledge Even though TA training is similar at both intuitions. Past Research UM uses Maryland Tutorials in Physics Sensemaking Goertzen, R. M. , Scherr, R. E. , & Elby, E. “Accounting for tutorial teaching assistants’ buy-in to reform instruction. ” In preparation. 2 Henderson, C. & Dancy, M. H. (2007). Barriers to the use of research-based instructional strategies: The influence of both individual and situational characteristics. PRST: PER, 020102. CU uses Tutorials in Introductory Physics, developed at the University of Washington Algebra-based and often finished within the allotted time Use of informal terms like “oomph” to help connect physics to everyday experiences Tutorials are held in an isolated, minimallymaintained, 24 -student room off a little-used hallway. Tutorials are held in a large, bright, noisy room, divided into bays where multiple tutorials occur at once, off a well-traveled corridor. Calculus-based and typically not completed in allotted time Rigorous use of concepts and vocabulary Explicit epistemological focus in addition to physics No explicit focus on epistemology TAs may buy in more easily to the tutorials they perceive as more challenging, rigorous, and undiluted. Course reward structure Tutorial attendance is recommended, but no credit is given. Exam questions based on tutorials rarely used by non-PERG instructors. TA buy-in affects classroom practice 1 Social and environmental factors can constrain professors’ classroom practice 2 Classroom location and appearance The tutorials themselves Recent Findings Analysis of interviews with CU and UM TAs show different levels of buy-in. NSF ROLE #0529482 75% of the UM TAs described tutorials as disconnected from the rest of the course or as not preparing students for their homework. . Tutorial attendance is required; a small percent of the grade is based on participation. Tutorial material is 25% of the exam grade. No CU TAs described tutorials as disconnected from the rest of the course or as not preparing students for their homework. TAs may buy in more to the highly communal experience at CU; the UM setting conveys a feeling of isolation and neglect to the TAs. Departmental / university support Tutorial instructors also teach labs and grade labs and two types of homework. Lecturers and tutorial instructors other than PER faculty are usually inexperienced with tutorials Non-PER faculty generally ignore (or sometimes disparage) tutorials. Tutorial TAs teach only tutorials and grade only tutorial homework and exams. The lecturer and tutorial supervisor are not PER faculty. Lecturer appears frequently at TA prep meetings. University level support for tutorials through Learning Assistant (LA) program of undergraduates who assist TAs in tutorials. 1 TAs may buy into tutorials more when they directly affect students’ grades and link to other parts of the class. TAs may buy in more when they perceive tutorial instruction as the standard, accepted departmental practice rather than a PER-driven aberration.