SPRUCE for Instructors

SPRUCE for Instructors and Researchers

What is SPRUCE?

The Survey of Physics Reasoning on Uncertainty Concepts in Experiments (SPRUCE) is an assessment that is being developed to measure student performances around measurement uncertainty in lower-division lab courses.

The assessment is intended to be administered both pre-instruction and post-instruction in order to help measure student gains in the area of measurement uncertainty. It consists of four 'experiments' in which students answer numerous questions pertaining to sources of uncertainty, handling and propagation of uncertainty, and uncertainty that arises from distributions of measurements. 

Design and Validation of SPRUCE

The research team has identified 14 Assessment Objectives that are targeted by the assessment (listed below). SPRUCE item development is complete and the research team is now working to validate the instrument.

Sources of Uncertainty
S1    Estimate size of random/statistical uncertainty by considering instrument precision
S2    Identify actions that might improve precision
S3    Identify actions that might improve accuracy

Handling of Uncertainty
H1    Propagate uncertainties using formulas
H2    Report results with uncertainties with correct significant figures

Distributions from Repeated Measurements
D1    Articulate why it is important to take several measurements during experimentation
D2     Articulate that repeated measurements will give a distribution of results and not a single number
D3    Calculate and report the mean of a distribution for the best estimate of the measurement
D4    Appropriately use and differentiate between standard deviation and standard error
D5    Determine if two measurements (with uncertainty) agree with each other

Administering SPRUCE

If you are interested in administering SPRUCE in your course, please follow this link or contact Heather Lewandowski - lewandoh@colorado.edu.