ERIC Number: ED326553
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
The Earthquake Information Test: Validating an Instrument for Determining Student Misconceptions.
Ross, Katharyn E. K.; Shuell, Thomas J.
Some pre-instructional misconceptions held by children can persist through scientific instruction and resist changes. Identifying these misconceptions would be beneficial for science instruction. In this preliminary study, scores on a 60-item true-false test of knowledge and misconceptions about earthquakes were compared with previous interview results to determine whether or not both methods yield the same conclusions. An Earthquake Information Test (EIT), was administered to 194 students in grades 4 through 6 in Salt Lake City (Utah) and Buffalo (New York). Subjects included: 19 fourth graders from an urban public school in Buffalo; and 175 fourth, fifth, and sixth graders from an urban public school in Salt Lake City. The EIT contained scientifically correct statements interspersed with misconceptions previously expressed by students in individual interviews. The EIT was administered after most students had received some instruction about earthquakes. Students from Buffalo and a random sample from Salt Lake City were also individually interviewed. Internal consistency was calculated, and an item analysis was performed. Students could correctly choose scientifically acceptable answers while simultaneously choosing answers not compatible with science. The EIT was least reliable for grade 4 students. While a refined version of the EIT could provide useful information about student misconceptions, individual interviews should continue as a source of test questions and information about children's misconceptions. Five tables provide study data. A 25-item list of references is included. (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Earthquake Information Test
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Northeastern Educational Research Association (Ellenville, NY, October 31-November 2, 1990).