Analysis of Pre-Service Physics Teachers’ Understanding of Vectors and Forces

  • Sirait, J. Hamdani
  • Oktavianty, E.
Keywords: vector, force, free body diagram


The aim of this study is to analyze the ability of students to understand vectors as well as force concepts. Survey study was implemented in this study to obtain detailed information of students’ ability and involved 212 physics education students of Tanjungpura University who have completed Basic Physics course. They were asked to solve tests of vector and tests of force adapted from physics education research group. Test of vector (TUV) consists of 13 items and covers addition, subtraction, and component. Furthermore, test of force (TOF) that has nine items covers three different contexts - horizontal surface, inclined plane, and pulling the rope. The results show that (i) students answer correctly 56% of TUV and 46% of TOF, (ii) subtraction concept is the most difficult for students to solve vector test and inclined plane is the lowest percentage done correctly by students in force test, and (iii) the correlation between students’ ability of vector and students’ ability of force is 0,304 (p = 0.01) with moderate category. This indicates that one of factors that can affect student’s performance in solving force concept is vector skills. Hence, before students starting learning force concept, teachers can administer vector test to elicit students’ prior knowledge of vector.