Endorsement of APS Statement on Physics Education Research

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Sep 25 2005

Council action

Upon recommendation by the SPS Committee on Physics Education Research, the SPS Council endorsed the following statement of the American Physical Society on September 25, 2005. The APS originally adopted the statement on May 21, 1999. [Bracketed comments below added by SPS.]

99.2 Research in Physics Education

In recent years, physics education research has emerged as a topic of research within physics departments. This type of research is pursued in physics departments at several leading graduate and research institutions, it has attracted funding from major governmental agencies, it is both objective and experimental, it is developing and has developed publication and dissemination mechanisms, and Ph.D. students trained in the area are recruited to establish new programs. Physics education research can and should be subject to the same criteria for evaluation (papers published, grants, etc.) as research in other fields of physics. The outcome of this research will improve the methodology of teaching and teaching evaluation.

The APS [and SPS] applauds and supports the acceptance in physics departments of research in physics education. Much of the work done in this field is very specific to the teaching of physics and deals with the unique needs and demands of particular physics courses and the appropriate use of technology in those courses. The successful adaptation of physics education research to improve the state of teaching in any physics department requires close contact between the physics education researchers and the more traditional researchers who are also teachers. The APS [and SPS] recognizes that the success and usefulness of physics education research is greatly enhanced by its presence in the physics department.