Beth Thacker, Fellow
Beth Thacker received her Ph.D. from Cornell University in Theoretical Physics (1990) studying heavy quark bound states using Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD). She began doing Physics Education Research (PER) as a postdoctoral researcher at The Ohio State University in 1992. She has since researched students' qualitative and quantitative understanding of physics concepts in introductory physics courses taught by traditional and non-traditional methods and students' understanding of topics in modern physics and quantum mechanics. Major achievements include
- the development of a laboratory-based, inquiry-based curriculum for algebra-based physics aimed at the needs, learning styles and career goals of students in the health sciences, supported by two National Science Foundation grants, CCLI # 0737181 and CCLI-EMD #0088780 and
- a large-scale assessment of all of the introductory physics courses at Texas Tech University (TTU) using commonly employed conceptual inventories, locally written pre- and post-tests and other assessment instruments. This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Challenge grant #1RC1GM090897-01.
She is presently working on the development of assessment instruments for the introductory courses designed to go beyond conceptual inventories and assess skills such as problem solving, modeling, laboratory and aspects of critical thinking, as well as studying student difficulties in quantum mechanics and other topics in higher level and graduate courses.