Students' ability to analyse empirical data in practical work

C. F.J. Pols*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleScientificpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)
    53 Downloads (Pure)


    Although students in upper secondary education are often asked to carry out practical work independently to a large extent, it is questionable whether they already have the knowledge to do so successfully. This study looks into the data analysis skills students aged 15 should possess according to various curriculum documents and investigates whether this is the case. To do so, the 51 students involved carried out two practicals using worksheets with questions in which they ought to apply each of the ten identified data analysis skills at least once. The analysis of their work shows that students master the skill of visualising data in graphs. In applying each of the other skills, students make many mistakes or do not know what to do or how to proceed. Students do not have a preconceived plan but work mostly ad hoc. They are able to draw valid but superficial conclusions which could have been drawn without an extensive 50 minute practical. Their lack in data analysis skills may result in not attaining the learning goals set in other practicals. Students thus should be taught how to analyse empirical data, the practicals used in this study may serve as a basis for this.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number012001
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2019
    EventGIREP-MPTL 2018 Conference - San Sebastian, Spain
    Duration: 9 Jul 201813 Jul 2018


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