What is MAPLE?
The Modeling Assessment for Physics Laboratory Experiments (MAPLE) is an assessment that has been developed to measure students' processes of modeling in Advanced Lab classes focusing on either Electronics or Optics.
The assessment is composed of a pre-test on measuring the acceleration due to gravity (g) using a simple pendulum, with which students in an Advanced Lab class would reasonably be expected to have some experience. The post-test depends on your lab class: either the Electronics (an inverting amplifier setup) or the Optics (determining the attenuation coefficient of a polarizer) survey would be administered.
Both the pre-test and post-tests have the same structure. Part 1 is a choose-your-own-adventure activity, where students are given a set of choices to make about how to perform a measurement and analyze data to achieve some goal. For example, in the Electronics version, the goal is to get the output of an inverting amplifier circuit to produce the expected gain, phase, and shape based on the input and circuit components used. Part 2 is a series coupled-multiple response questions to probe student reasoning about the activity they undertook in Part 1. Coupled-multiple response questions are an extension of a standard multiple choice question. They include a set of follow-up options where students are asked to select the reasoning for the answer that they chose.
Design and Validation of MAPLE
The final version of MAPLE was completed in Spring 2021, after many years of development. The overall validation of MAPLE remains ongoing as more student data is collected. The development of the survey has involved validation through iterative student interviews to ensure that students interpret and respond to the survey items as expected, as well as multiple stages of larger scale 'beta' administrations of the survey.
For the time being, if you are interested in using MAPLE for your course, please contact Heather Lewandowski. In the near future we will provide a link to our new lab-survey automation system where you can sign up to administer MAPLE in your own classes.