@article{education20164178,
author={{Mwangala, Kasimba Phebby and Shumba, Overson},
title={Physico-mathematical Conceptual Difficulties among First Year Students Learning Introductory University Physics},
journal={American Journal of Educational Research},
volume={4},
number={17},
pages={1238--1244},
year={2016},
url={http://pubs.sciepub.com/education/4/17/8},
issn={2327-6150},
abstract={This descriptive survey at Kwame Nkrumah University in Kabwe, Zambia, explored difficulties that first year students (n= 116) experienced and perceived with physico-mathematical concepts in an introductory physics course. The data on difficulties was collected using a physics achievement test and a focus group discussion session while a questionnaire was employed to assess perceptions of difficulties associated with the physico-mathematical topics and concepts in the test. The students¡¯ performance in the test was unsatisfactory where the scores ranged from 16% to 46.9% and averaged 33.0% in the five-question test. They had difficulties in creating and interpreting formulae and data and unsatisfactorily identified, combined and applied physico-mathematical concepts in the test items. The questionnaire survey, more than 60% of the students were likely to rate lecture topics on topics such as speed, work, and energy as not difficult. This number significantly decreased to around 35% when asked to rate the use, application or derivation of specific physico-mathematical concepts in the test. For example, 69.8% rated topic or concept ¡®acceleration¡¯ not difficult and 35.4% expressed having to formulate the equation a= (v_{f}-v_{i})/t using information from a graph in the test as ¡®difficult¡¯. The findings of this study suggest that students need close support to comprehend physico-mathematical relations and their interpretation deeply.},
doi={10.12691/education-4-17-8}
publisher={Science and Education Publishing}
}