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ERIC Number: EJ839546
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1554-9178
Evaluating Multiple-Choice Exams in Large Introductory Physics Courses
Scott, Michael; Stelzer, Tim; Gladding, Gary
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, v2 n2 p020102-1--020102-14 Jul-Dec 2006
The reliability and validity of professionally written multiple-choice exams have been extensively studied for exams such as the SAT, graduate record examination, and the force concept inventory. Much of the success of these multiple-choice exams is attributed to the careful construction of each question, as well as each response. In this study, the reliability and validity of scores from multiple-choice exams written for and administered in the large introductory physics courses at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign were investigated. The reliability of exam scores over the course of a semester results in approximately a 3% uncertainty in students' total semester exam score. This semester test score uncertainty yields an uncertainty in the students' assigned letter grade that is less than 1 / 3 of a letter grade. To study the validity of exam scores, a subset of students were ranked independently based on their multiple-choice score, graded explanations, and student interviews. The ranking of these students based on their multiple-choice score was found to be consistent with the ranking assigned by physics instructors based on the students' written explanations ( r greater than 0.94 at the 95% confidence level) and oral interviews (r=0.94[subscript -0.09][superscript +0.06]). (Contains 30 endnotes, 4 tables and 7 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois