Students’ Self-Diagnosis Using Worked-Out Examples


Students in physics classrooms are often asked to review their solution to a problem by comparing it to a textbook or worked-out example. Learning in this setting depends to a great extent on students' inclination forself-repair; i.e., their willingness and ability to recognize and resolve conflicts between their mental model and the scientifically acceptable model. This study examined the extent to which self-repair can be identified and assessed in students’written responses on a self-diagnosis task in which they are given time and credit for identifying and explaining the nature of their mistakes assisted by a worked-out example. Analysis of 180 10th and 11th grade physics students in private and public schools in the Arab sector in Israel showed that although most students were able to identify differences between their solution and the worked-out example that significantly affected the way they approached the problem many did not acknowledge the underlying conflicts between their interpretation and a scientifically acceptable interpretation of the concepts and principles involved. Rather, students related to the worked-out example as an ultimate template and simply considered their deviations from it as mistakes. These findings were consistent in all the classes and across all the teachers, irrespective of grade level or school affiliation. However, younger students in some classrooms also perceived the task as a communication channel to provide feedback to their teachers on their learning and the instructional materials used in the task. Taken together, the findings suggest that instructional intervention is needed to develop students’ ability to self-diagnose their work so that they can learn from this type of task.

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Safadi, R. and Yerushalmi, E. (2013) Students’ Self-Diagnosis Using Worked-Out Examples. Creative Education, 4, 205-216. doi: 10.4236/ce.2013.43031.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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