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Optica Publishing Group
  • ETOP 2013 Proceedings
  • (Optica Publishing Group, 2013),
  • paper EThI3

Light & Optics Conceptual Evaluation Findings from First Year Optometry Students

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The Light and Optics Conceptual Evaluation (LOCE) was developed to examine conceptual understanding of basic geometric and physical optics for the Active Learning in Optics and Photonics program administered by UNESCO. This 50 item test (46 multiple choice, 4 ray-tracing short answer) was administered to entering students in the Optometry professional degree (OD) program. We wanted to determine how much of the physics/optics concepts from undergraduate physics courses (a pre-requisite for entry to the OD program) were retained. In addition, the test was administered after the first year students had taken a required course in geometric and visual optics as part of their first semester courses. The LOCE was completed by two consecutive classes to the program in 2010 (n=89) and 2011 (n=84). The tests were administered the first week of the term and the test was given without any prior notice. In addition, the test was administered to the class of 2010 students after they had completed the course in geometric and visual optics. The means of the test were 22.1 (SD=4.5; range: 12-35) and 21.3(SD=5.1; range: 11-35) for the two entering classes. There was no statistical significance between the two classes (t-test, p>0.05). Similarly there was no difference between the scores in terms of gender. The post-course test (administered during the first week of the second term) showed a statistically significant improvement (mean score went from 22.1 to 31.1, a 35% improvement).

It should be noted that both groups of students performed worse in questions related to physical optics as well as lens imaging, while scoring best in questions related to refraction and reflection. These data should be taken into consideration when designing optics curricula for optometry (and other allied health programs such as opticianry or ophthalmology).


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