The existence of problem solving in some of the subjects is very difficult for those students who hate it. Physics, being elemental science, due to its dominant problem solving nature primarily attain to its affection as an very difficult subject. All aspects of physics considered as mathematical exactitudes and physical aspects. Because of that, students at high schools and colleges often struggle with many difficulties during solving physics tasks. According to Toggerson (2014), a common perceptions of students in physics subject is that, it is a collection of equations to be able to remember, and that to successfully solve the problems, all needs to do is to get the correct equations, put into the numbers, and get the answers.
Many students have been losing their interest in physics subject. It is important to know what are the main causes of hardship of the students in solving problems in physics to analyze and realize if the problem are really came from learner itself, from their teachers, or from the environment.
According to Reif (1995), many students, even when they good grades, emerge from their physics courses with significant scientific misconceptions, with prescientific notions, with poor problem-solving skills, and with an inability to apply what they ostensibly learned. As stated by Hestenes (1992), McDermott (1991), and Redish and Steinberg (1999), students need to model and solve open and more complex problems in order to develop expert-like problem solving skills as well as to achieve a coherent knowledge in physics.
Likewise, previous research has shown that students have problems integrating mathematics into physics context because students are not able to transfer knowledge between the context of mathematics and physics courses (Bing and Redish, 2009; Redish, 2005).
Moreover, in the study conducted by Ogunsola-Bendele (1996), among 104 high school students, 75.95% of them prefer the item of “I feel like walking out of the class when the teacher starts to write equations on the board”. In addition, 68.26% of same students prefer the item “the calculation in physics makes me score lower on the subjects”. Based on the data that are presented, it seems that students really find struggles when it comes to problem solving.
Almost all of the students find difficulties in computing and answering problem solving in physics subject, the study was aimed to identify what are the factors that influence the physics computational skills of college students and how those factors affects their grades in school.
Solving problems plays a major role in studying physics. Students who took engineering find difficulties since the said students have physics subject. And as stated earlier, most of their subjects have computations; because of it, learners find it very difficult to pass the subject. Students at Bataan Peninsula State University – Main Campus who took engineering has the same problem. Most of the learners got failing grades because they experience struggles when it comes to computing problems. In response to this problem, this study proposes to investigate what are the factors why engineering students find difficulties when it comes in solving a problem in terms of the teacher, student itself, and the resources around them. Aside from that, this study aims to identify how those factors will affect the grades of students.
The results of this study will provide benefit to the society considering that computational skills in solving problems play an important role in physics subject. Thus, teachers who taught physics subject will improve their own methods and strategies in teaching the said subject. The computational skills of the students, particularly engineering students wherein most of their subjects in physics includes problem solving will be improve, their understanding of the concepts at work will be deepen as well as their perception in terms of answering problem solving will be lessen because of the findings of this study.
For the future researcher/s, this study will provide related information that can be use in the future in conducting your own study. Thus, the result will help the researcher’s study and also in the field of specialization.
This study determined the factors that affect the computational skills of the students in physics subjects. In gathering the data, the researchers used the survey research method. There are questions that the respondents need to answer.
This study focuses on those students who took up engineering particularly second year students of BPSU – Main Campus considering the number of physics subjects that the respondents taking up. All programs are included in the study but there are limitation. In every section in each programs, the population will be limited to tweenty (20) students only. The aforementioned number of respondents will be randomly selected.
The researchers did not include all the year levels (from first year to fifth year) due to the lack of time in surveying the respondents. The researchers have only less than two months to finish the said survey. The future researcher/s are encourage in their study with the same topic to cater all year levels (from first to fifth year) so that the result that the researcher/s will collect and gather will become more valid.
Computational skills – the selection and application of arithmetic operations to calculate solutions to mathematical problems.
Engineering student – the person who took engineering programs.
Physics – is a collection of ideas that are represented mathematically.
Problem solving – the process of working through details of a problem to reach a solution. It may include mathematical or systematic operations and can be gauge of an individual’s critical thinking skills.
This chapter presents the related literature and studies which helps in familiarizing informations and ideas that are related and the same to attain a better perspective and direction of this research study.According to the recent study, most of the learners performed mathematical computations and algorithms by memorizing the formulas without having a basic understanding of the concepts. Most of the learners lacking the appropriate knowledge on structural construction in content area. (Ayodele O. Ogunleye, 2009)
On the other hand, Reddy and Panacharoensawad (2017) conducted a study focusing on student problem solving difficulties and its implications in physics: an empirical study on influencing factors. Researchers found that high percentage of failure in physics are due to the students inability to understand the basic subject matter content and principles of physics in formulas. It leads to lack of remembering problem based equations in physics.
Moreover, in the past study, it found out that learners encountered difficulties in integrating mathematics into physics subject because students are not able to shift information or skills between the context of mathematics and physics courses. (Bing and Redish, 2009; Redish, 2005)
In general, it can conclude that most of the student’s difficulties in answering problem solving tasks are because of shallow understanding about the concepts, content and principles of the subject. In relation to the present study, the researchers want to determine if the aforementioned is really one of the factors that affect the problem solving skills of the students.
However, according to the study conducted by Snetinova and Koupilova (2012) to determine which strategies and methods that the students indicated that they used in solving physics problems. Researchers reported that 85% of the population make a list of known and unknowns, 55% is Rolodex equation matching wherein the respondents try to select an equation largely because the equation has the same variables as the list of known and unknowns. 35% of the students rarely think about physics concepts while solving problems. 14% of the respondents even say that they never use this method. And 38% of the population stated only rarely drawing diagrams wherein they try to draw and sketch some diagrams or chart to visualized the problem in every task.
Based on the previous study, one of the most mentioned strategies used by the learners was the Rolodex equation matching because of too much and different formulas that are presented during the exercises or exams, students try to choose the equation that has the same variables.
Furthermore, Ganina and Voolaid (2011) study about the influence of problem solving on studying effectiveness in physics, the researchers formulated a new type of problem called dispersed data problems. This draw an affinity between problems and real life. The results showed that solving dispersed data problems accelerates studying effectiveness in physics subject by 36% on the average.
This study used Input-Process-Output model. The first frame shows the input of the study wherein the researchers will identify the factors that affects problem solving skills of the students. Second frame illustrates the process of the study wherein the researchers will give questionnaire to find out what are the factors that affects the performance of the students in solving problems. On the last frame, it presents the output of the study which developed the physics computational skills of the students in answering problem solving tasks.