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Force Concept Inventory-based multiple-choice test for investigating students' representational consistency Documents

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Force Concept Inventory-based multiple-choice test for investigating students’ representational consistency 

written by Pasi Nieminen, Antti Savinainen, and Jouni Viiri

This study investigates students' ability to interpret multiple representations consistently (i.e., representational consistency) in the context of the force concept. For this purpose we developed the Representational Variant of the Force Concept Inventory (R-FCI), which makes use of nine items from the 1995 version of the Force Concept Inventory (FCI). These original FCI items were redesigned using various representations (such as motion map, vectorial and graphical), yielding 27 multiple-choice items concerning four central concepts underpinning the force concept: Newton's first, second, and third laws, and gravitation. We provide some evidence for the validity and reliability of the R-FCI; this analysis is limited to the student population of one Finnish high school. The students took the R-FCI at the beginning and at the end of their first high school physics course. We found that students' (n=168) representational consistency (whether scientifically correct or not) varied considerably depending on the concept. On average, representational consistency and scientifically correct understanding increased during the instruction, although in the post-test only a few students performed consistently both in terms of representations and scientifically correct understanding. We also compared students' (n=87) results of the R-FCI and the FCI, and found that they correlated quite well.

Please note the published erratum when examining this article.

This article was published in Phys. Rev. ST Physics Ed. Research 6, 020109, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.6.020109 and is released under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Published August 25, 2010
Last Modified March 12, 2011

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Primary Documents

Erratum: Force Concept Inventory-based multiple-choice test for investigating students’ representational consistency [Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 6, 020109 (2010)] 

In our paper published recently in this journal, we presented the rationale and structure of the Representational Variant of the Force Concept Inventory (R-FCI). For this purpose we analyzed high school students' (n=168) pre- and post-test data.

Most of the students studied in Finnish and took the R-FCI pre- and post-test in Finnish too. One student group (Pre-IB, n=25, 15% of all students) studied in English and took the Finnish R-FCI pretest and the English post-test. We found a difference between the English and Finnish test versions: the order of the alternatives was different for items 18 and 20.

Because we had developed the analyzing system for the Finnish version of the R-FCI, this difference caused some errors in the R-FCI post-test results.

The errors are mostly minor (1-2 percentage points) and irrelevant to the aim of the published paper, i.e., presenting the R-FCI. However, the errors related to the distribution of correct answers for items 18 and 20 have some relevance in our paper. Item 18 is a vectorial item of theme 30 concerning gravitation, and item 20 is a vectorial item of theme 4 concerning Newton's third law. We reported that 57% of students correctly answered item 18, and 83% correctly answered item 20. The correct figures are 67% and 94%, respectively. This caused an error in Fig. 6 and Table V in the published article and induced a faulty result--a statistically significant effect of a representational format in themes 4 and 30 (see details in Section II C).

This is not true. The corrected Fig. 6 and Table V show that students did not perform significantly worse with the vectorial than with the other representations in themes 4 and 30 in the post-test.

Most of the errors are minor, and the notable ones are related to the distribution of correct answers for two items. Hence, we conclude that despite these errors the published article still fulfills its main purpose: to describe the structure, rationale and validity of the R-FCI.

This article is published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. The citation is: P. Nieminen, A. Savinainen, and J. Viiri, "Erratum: Force Concept Inventory-based multiple-choice test for investigating students' representational consistency [Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 6, 020109 (2010)]," Phys. Rev. ST PER 6 (2), 029903(E) (2010), 10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.6.029903.

Published October 29, 2010
Last Modified May 3, 2012

This file has previous versions.