Table of Contents

The Impact of Guiding Questions and Rubrics in the Scientific Writing of Middle-Division Physics Students

Click here for a full PDF version of the project write-up.


The aim of this Physics Education Research project was to implement a modified version of Calibrated Peer Review and measure the impacts in junior-level students' scientific writing. The project developed and implemented a set of guiding questions, instructor written examples, and a rubric which were implemented in a multi-staged process, relying on student evaluation of the examples and of peer work using the developed rubric. Quantitative data obtained using the rubric itself, as well as free-form student reflection on the process suggests that students' writing improved in three distinct ways: judgment as to the appropriate level of detail to include, explanations and structuring of mathematics, and organization of thought. Suggestions for future classroom use and further studies of the effects of rubrics and peer evaluation on scientific writing are provided.

Thesis Outline


This section briefly describes the importance of writing, the motivations behind the research project, and outlines the format of the document.


This section provides a brief overview of what Calibrated Peer Review is, and explores previous physics education research pertinent to students' ability to communicate science effectively.


In this section, the creation of project materials is explained, the adaptations made from traditional CPR explored, as well as an outline of the five project stages and the data collection procedures.

Data Analysis

This section describes how the rubric was used to derive quantitative data from the papers students had written.


This section contains graphs of data and explores how student writing changed over the course of the project, as well as exploring a specific exemplar paper and noting the most common changes across students.


This section briefly discusses the importance of the project and provides reflective analysis on what could be improved and what worked well.


This section summarizes the findings of the project and provides recommendations for future implementation.


Appendix A: Guiding Questions

Appendix B: Project Created Scientific Writing Examples 1D, 2D, 3D(Stage 2)

Appendix C: Rubric (Original, New)

Appendix D: Exemplar Papers (Paper 1, Paper 3)

Appendix E: Rubric Callibration Data

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