Thursday, April 14, 2011

PCRM - Misconception

                                                                 Chapter 24

Knowledge and Judgment Scoring allows students the option of reporting what, in their own judgment, they know, can do, and find meaningful and useful. This generates four options instead of the usual two (right and wrong) obtained from multiple-choice items by the traditional count of right marks.

A misconception is a question that most students believe they know a right answer to, and mark, when in fact they do not know (more students, than the average score on the test, elected to mark, but less than that portion who marked, were right). Only one item was flagged as a misconception, item 6, on both halves of the biology fall 88 test. This can be compared to four on an earlier test.

Top students who rushed through the test marked “A” as a “most unexpected wrong response” on item 6 on Part 1&2. Other students gave a mixed response on Part 1&2. Only two top students who took their time marked “A” on Part 3&4. Most of the remaining students marked “A” wrong on Part 3&4. This observation gives rise to several stories.

Did top students in a hurry pick the same answer as lower scoring students who took their time? Did students functioning at higher levels of thinking and taking their time reason out the correct answer?  Is this just sampling error?

Misconceptions make for good class discussions. Lectures seem to have little effect on changing student misconceptions. One misconception question repeated in several bi-weekly exams stabilized by most students omitting. The one thing they did know was that they did not understand something that would allow them to trust marking an answer to the question correctly (nor did they have in mind a meaningless right answer that matched an option on the question as the answer options were not always the same and were always randomized).

The combined report from Ministep and PUP opens a new window of inquiry into the behavior of students and test items. In my experience, these student-counseling matrixes provided a better insight into how a class and students were performing than reading “blue book” essays. Winsteps adds predictive measures to otherwise descriptive classroom data.


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