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ERIC Number: ED531696
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 260
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1094-2282-5
Advanced Quantitative Measurement Methodology in Physics Education Research
Wang, Jing
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Ohio State University
The ultimate goal of physics education research (PER) is to develop a theoretical framework to understand and improve the learning process. In this journey of discovery, assessment serves as our headlamp and alpenstock. It sometimes detects signals in student mental structures, and sometimes presents the difference between expert understanding and novice understanding. Quantitative assessment is an important area in PER. Developing research-based effective assessment instruments and making meaningful inferences based on these instruments have always been important goals of the PER community. Quantitative studies are often conducted to provide bases for test development and result interpretation. Statistics are frequently used in quantitative studies. The selection of statistical methods and interpretation of the results obtained by these methods shall be connected to the education background. In this connecting process, the issues of educational models are often raised. Many widely used statistical methods do not make assumptions on the mental structure of subjects, nor do they provide explanations tailored to the educational audience. There are also other methods that consider the mental structure and are tailored to provide strong connections between statistics and education. These methods often involve model assumption and parameter estimation, and are complicated mathematically. The dissertation provides a practical view of some advanced quantitative assessment methods. The common feature of these methods is that they all make educational/psychological model assumptions beyond the minimum mathematical model. The purpose of the study is to provide a comparison between these advanced methods and the pure mathematical methods. The comparison is based on the performance of the two types of methods under physics education settings. In particular, the comparison uses both physics content assessments and scientific ability assessments. The dissertation includes three parts. The first part involves the comparison between item response theory (IRT) and classical test theory (CTT). The two theories both provide test item statistics for educational inferences and decisions. The two theories are both applied to Force Concept Inventory data obtained from students enrolled in The Ohio State University. Effort was made to examine the similarity and difference between the two theories, and the possible explanation to the difference. The study suggests that item response theory is more sensitive to the context and conceptual features of the test items than classical test theory. The IRT parameters provide a better measure than CTT parameters for the educational audience to investigate item features. The second part of the dissertation is on the measure of association for binary data. In quantitative assessment, binary data is often encountered because of its simplicity. The current popular measures of association fail under some extremely unbalanced conditions. However, the occurrence of these conditions is not rare in educational data. Two popular association measures, the Pearson's correlation and the tetrachoric correlation are examined. A new method, model based association is introduced, and an educational testing constraint is discussed. The existing popular methods are compared with the model based association measure with and without the constraint. Connections between the value of association and the context and conceptual features of questions are discussed in detail. Results show that all the methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Special attention to the test and data conditions is necessary. The last part of the dissertation is focused on exploratory factor analysis (EFA). The theoretical advantages of EFA are discussed. Typical misunderstanding and misusage of EFA are explored. The EFA is performed on Lawson's Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning (LCTSR), a widely used assessment on scientific reasoning skills. The reasoning ability structures for U.S. and Chinese students at different educational levels are given by the analysis. A final discussion on the advanced quantitative assessment methodology and the pure mathematical methodology is presented at the end. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio; United States