Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2019

Project Advisor(s)

Fabiana Cardetti

University Scholar Major



Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Other Physics


Students often enter the physics classroom with intuitive conceptions drawn from real life experiences or former coursework, and may be hesitant or reluctant to re-evaluate these mindsets in favor of formally instructed knowledge. The goal of introductory physics courses is not only to teach and expose students to new content, but also to cultivate students’ ability to reason through and derive content knowledge through personal inquiry. This scientific process necessitates one’s abilities to be open-minded in terms of hearing evidence that contradicts his or her personal opinion, to be willing to discard any original misconceptions in the face of such alternative evidence, and to identify and pay appropriate attention to one’s academic limitations. Such a mindset is indicative of the quality of Intellectual Humility (IH), defined as “the owning of one’s limitations.” In this report, we present the results of a thesis study in which Intellectual Humility surveys, written reflections, and classroom observations were collected for students in both a traditional, lecture style physics course and an interactive, problem solving based physics course. Analyzing these data allowed us to examine the role of Intellectual Humility in the context of an introductory electricity and magnetism course and better understand student perspectives and interactions in these settings.