Analyzing Misconceptions Using the Signals and Systems Concept Inventory

Kathleen E. Wage, John R. Buck, and Margret A. Hjalmarson

The Signals and Systems Concept Inventory (SSCI) is a 25-question multiple-choice exam designed to assess students' understanding of fundamental concepts in signals and systems. Nine students were interviewed about their conceptual understanding using several SSCI questions to probe misconceptions about frequency selective filters and frequency representations of signals. Students revealed several misconceptions about the roles of the magnitude and phase of the frequency response in filtering. The students' responses also provide insight into the conceptual models used to reason about frequency and filtering. This paper also summarizes the latest results of the pretest/posttest SSCI research study comparing gains in conceptual understanding for traditional lecture and interactive-engagement courses. Students in interactive classes learn about 39% of the material they didn't know at the start of the course, while those in traditional lecture classes only improve about 22%.

© 2006 IEEE. The article (PDF) appeared in Proceedings of the 4th IEEE Signal Processing Education Workshop, pp. 123-128, September 2006. This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.

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