Texas Tech University

Beth Thacker, Ph.D

Associate Professor
Department of Physics and Astronomy

Email: Beth.Thacker@ttu.edu

Phone: (806) 834-2996

Office: Holden Hall 59

Ph.D. Theoretical Physics, Cornell University (1990)

M.S. Physics, Cornell University (1986)

B.S. Physics, Davidson College (1980)

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Research Interests

Dr. Beth Thacker is an Associate Professor of Physics at Texas Tech University. She has developed a laboratory-based, inquiry-based curriculum (INQ) taught using Socratic questioning pedagogy and has done significant work investigating students' qualitative and quantitative understanding of physics concepts in courses taught by traditional and non-traditional methods. She is presently working on assessing pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) of Learning Assistants (LAs) in an inquiry-based physics class, assessing students' thinking skills across pedagogies,  graduate students' understanding of symmetry and conservation laws in classical mechanics, students' understanding of Quantum Computing (QC) at the undergraduate level and Educational Augmented Reality. She was a Principal Investigator on a large-scale assessment project at TTU that demonstrated the effectiveness of the use of evidence-based materials in the introductory undergraduate physics courses. She is excited about research in QC and the development and assessment of an upper level undergraduate QC course. She is also involved in the expansion of the inquiry-based course to a larger classroom, including LA training and assessment.  

Selected Publications

  • Fatema Al-Samani and Beth Thacker, “Rubric for assessing thinking skills in Free-response exam problems,” Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 17, 010135 (2021).
  • Charles L. Ramey II, Dimitri R. Dounas-Frazer, and Beth Ann Thacker, “Comparative analysis of letters and reports in an upper-division lab,” 2020 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings, pp. 424-429 (2020).
  • Mengesha Ayene, Jeanne Krick, Baylie Damitie, Ake Ingerman, Beth Thacker, “A Holistic Picture of Physics Student Conceptions of Energy Quantization, the Photon Concept, and Light Quanta Interference,” International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 1-22 (2018).
  • Beth Thacker, Ganesh Chapagain, Vanelet Rusuriye, and Keith West, “Beyond Conceptual Inventories: Lessons from a Large-Scale Assessment,” US-China Education Review A, January 2017, Vol. 7, No. 1, 1-26. (https://www.davidpublisher.com/Public/uploads/Contribute/58e48ceff3b6a.pdf)
  • Beth Thacker, Hani Dulli, Dave Pattillo, and Keith West, “Lessons from a Large-Scale Assessment: Results from Conceptual Inventories,” Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 10, 020104 (2014). (https://journals.aps.org/prstper/pdf/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.10.020104)
  • Beth Thacker, “A Study of the Nature of Students' Models of Microscopic Processes in the Context of Modern Physics Experiments,” Am. J. of Phys. 71 (6), 599-606 (2003).