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Research-validated multiple-choice tests can be useful tools for investigating student learning in physics courses both when traditional lecture-based instruction is used or when innovative curricula and pedagogies are used.
Such multiple-choice tests are easy and economical to administer and grade, have objective scoring, and are amenable to statistical analysis that can be used to compare student populations or instructional methods.
Development of validated physics surveys on various topics is important for investigating the extent to which students master those concepts after traditional instruction and for assessing innovative curricula and pedagogies that can improve student understanding significantly.
Here, we discuss the development and validation of a conceptual multiple-choice survey related to magnetism suitable for introductory physics courses.
There is little difference in difficulty, discrimination, and test score reliability among items containing two, three, and four distractors. , in which some or all of the alternatives consist of different combinations of options.
As with “all of the above” answers, a sophisticated test-taker can use partial knowledge to achieve a correct answer. Savvy test-takers can use information in one question to answer another question, reducing the validity of the test.
For example, they are not an effective way to test students’ ability to organize thoughts or articulate explanations or creative ideas.
Reliability is defined as the degree to which a test consistently measures a learning outcome.
The key to taking advantage of these strengths, however, is construction of good multiple choice items.We compared the performance of students on the survey in the algebra-based and calculus-based introductory physics courses before and after traditional lecture-based instruction in relevant magnetism concepts.