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ERIC Number: EJ931972
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 40
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1554-9178
Identifying Predictors of Physics Item Difficulty: A Linear Regression Approach
Mesic, Vanes; Muratovic, Hasnija
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, v7 n1 p010110-1-010110-15 Jan-Jun 2011
Large-scale assessments of student achievement in physics are often approached with an intention to discriminate students based on the attained level of their physics competencies. Therefore, for purposes of test design, it is important that items display an acceptable discriminatory behavior. To that end, it is recommended to avoid extraordinary difficult and very easy items. Knowing the factors that influence physics item difficulty makes it possible to model the item difficulty even before the first pilot study is conducted. Thus, by identifying predictors of physics item difficulty, we can improve the test-design process. Furthermore, we get additional qualitative feedback regarding the basic aspects of student cognitive achievement in physics that are directly responsible for the obtained, quantitative test results. In this study, we conducted a secondary analysis of data that came from two large-scale assessments of student physics achievement at the end of compulsory education in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Foremost, we explored the concept of "physics competence" and performed a content analysis of 123 physics items that were included within the above-mentioned assessments. Thereafter, an item database was created. Items were described by variables which reflect some basic cognitive aspects of physics competence. For each of the assessments, Rasch item difficulties were calculated in separate analyses. In order to make the item difficulties from different assessments comparable, a virtual test equating procedure had to be implemented. Finally, a regression model of physics item difficulty was created. It has been shown that 61.2% of item difficulty variance can be explained by factors which reflect the automaticity, complexity, and modality of the knowledge structure that is relevant for generating the most probable correct solution, as well as by the divergence of required thinking and interference effects between intuitive and formal physics knowledge structures. Identified predictors point out the fundamental cognitive dimensions of student physics achievement at the end of compulsory education in Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose level of development influenced the test results within the conducted assessments. (Contains 14 tables and 2 figures.)
American Physical Society. One Physics Ellipse 4th Floor, College Park, MD 20740-3844. Tel: 301-209-3200; Fax: 301-209-0865; e-mail: assocpub@aps.org; Web site: http://prst-per.aps.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Bosnia and Herzegovina