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ERIC Number: EJ1143391
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2469-9896
Conceptual Coherence of Non-Newtonian Worldviews in Force Concept Inventory Data
Scott, Terry F.; Schumayer, Dániel
Physical Review Physics Education Research, v13 n1 p010126-1-010126-12 Jan-Jun 2017
The Force Concept Inventory is one of the most popular and most analyzed multiple-choice concept tests used to investigate students' understanding of Newtonian mechanics. The correct answers poll a set of underlying Newtonian concepts and the coherence of these underlying concepts has been found in the data. However, this inventory was constructed after several years of research into the common preconceptions held by students and using these preconceptions as distractors in the questions. Their sole purpose is to deflect non-Newtonian candidates away from the correct answer. Alternatively, one can argue that the responses could also be treated as polling these preconceptions. In this paper we shift the emphasis of the analysis away from the correlation structure of the correct answers and look at the latent traits underlying the incorrect responses. Our analysis models the data employing exploratory factor analysis, which uses regularities in the data to suggest the existence of underlying structures in the cognitive processing of the students. This analysis allows us to determine whether the data support the claim that there are alternate non-Newtonian worldviews on which students' incorrect responses are based. The existence of such worldviews, and their coherence, could explain the resilience of non-Newtonian preconceptions and would have significant implications to the design of instruction methods. We find that there are indeed coherent alternate conceptions of the world which can be categorized using the results of the research that led to the construction of the Force Concept Inventory.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A