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Department News and Colloquium

Physics & Astronomy Colloquium at CSU Long Beach

Student Learning in the Upper-division:

Difficulties and Assessment

Qing Ryan

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

March 13, 2017
Time: 11:15am
Refreshments at 10:45am

Student difficulties at both the introductory and upper-division level have been broadly investigated by the PER (Physics education research) community. Upper division problem solving involves more complicated math and more sophisticated physics concepts. A growing body of research suggests that upper-division students continue to struggle in these advanced physics topics. In this talk, I will present two aspects of investigation in student learning at the upper-division level: Student difficulties with problem solving and Conceptual assessment. In particular, I will discuss how to characterize the nature of student difficulties in electrodynamics; as well as developing and validating a research-based assessment to evaluate student conceptual understanding in this course.

All Physics students & faculty should attend!

See the colloquium schedule and its archive of previous talks

Colloquia are scheduled to start Mondays at 11:15am sharp in Peterson Hall 2, Room 126 (PH2-126). Refreshments are served from 10:45am to 11:05am in Room HSCI-224 (next to the department office) and everyone is invited to mingle with faculty and students!


For information and suggestions about the colloquium please contact the colloquium coordinator:
Prof. Prashanth Jaikumar, Phone: 562-985-5592, Email:

Directions to Campus

  • Access to Campus
  • Campus Maps
  • Parking on campus: contact the coordinator of the colloquium. If not reachable, call the department office (562) 985-7925. If none of these are available at the time you need information, call (562) 985-4146 or go to the drive-through information booth at the main campus entrance (on Beach Drive, near the crossing to Bellflower).
  • Walk (or ask for a ride on an on-campus shuttle) to the department office: Hall of Sciences, Room 220 (HSCI-220). The coordinator will provide the necessary informations.
  • Any question or problem: call the colloquium coordinator or the department office (562) 985-7925.

Colloquia Sponsors:

We acknowledge with gratitude donations and support from the following present sponsors:

  • H.E. and H.B. Miller and Family Endowment
  • Benjamin Carter
  • The American Physical Society
  • Anonymous

We also acknowledge with gratitude our past donors: The Forty-Niner Shops, Inc., The Northrop Grumman Foundation, Sandra Dana, Anonymous.

If you wish to support the Colloquium, please contact the colloquium coordinator or the department chair. Thank you!

Colloquia Schedule

Academic Year 2016-2017

Date Title Speaker and Affiliation
February 13 Dark Matter in the Cosmic Context Dr. Katherine J. Mack,
University of Melbourne, Australia
February 20 Quark Matter in Neutron Stars Dr. Thomas Klaehn
University of Wroclaw, Poland
February 27 Is the Higgs Elementary or Composite? Dr. Daniel Nogradi,
Eotvos University
March 6 Wiring up Biology: Natural and Bioinspired Materials for Long-Range Electronic Transport Allon I. Hochbaum,
University of California, Irvine
March 13 Student Learning in the Upper-division: Difficulties and Assessment Qing Ryan,
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona