Smith Wittmann - PRST-PER 2008

Applying a resources framework to analysis of the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation
Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 4, 020101 (2008) [12 pages]

Trevor I. Smith and Michael C. Wittmann

We suggest one redefinition of common clusters of questions used to analyze student responses on the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation. Our goal is to propose a methodology that moves beyond an analysis of student learning defined by correct responses, either on the overall test or on clusters of questions defined solely by content. We use the resources framework theory of learning to define clusters within this experimental test that was designed without the resources framework in mind. We take special note of the contextual and representational dependence of questions with seemingly similar physics content. We analyze clusters in ways that allow the most common incorrect answers to give as much, or more, information as the correctness of responses in that cluster. We show that false positives can be found, especially on questions dealing with Newton’s third law. We apply our clustering to a small set of data to illustrate the value of comparing students’ incorrect responses which are otherwise identical on a correct or incorrect analysis. Our work provides a connection between theory and experiment in the area of survey design and the resources framework.