Structural assessment of knowledge for misconceptions in the domain of physics

Gul Shahzad Sarwar, Université D'Ottawa / University Of Ottawa, Université D'Ottawa / University Of Ottawa
2013
Unlike textual description, pathfinder network (an algorithm that results in a kind of concept map) provides a visual way to describe the knowledge structure of a student. It often provides a clear measure of the student's understanding and highlights the student's misconceptions. The traditional approaches of assessment such as multiple-choice questions and word problems often fail to identify these misconceptions. The following steps were carried out for this study. 1. The study assessed the
more » ... study assessed the knowledge structures of grade 11 physics students of a public high school of Ottawa and their instructor using pathfinder networks. The work concept (a subset of links around the concept of work) in the students' pathfinder networks was compared to the work concept in the referent network and the similarity between them was calculated. 2. During the intervention phase of the study, individualized instructions and exercises based on the misconceptions about the concept of work, shown by their knowledge structures, were given to the students. 3. The study again assessed the knowledge structures of the students for a change in work concept in their pathfinder networks by comparing it with the referent network. The study also analyzed the control concepts of "mass" and "gravity" in the pathfinder networks of the students and found no significant change in those. In addition to pathfinder networks' utility as a global measure of conceptual knowledge of the students, which is useful for summative assessment, this research is a step forward to provide evidence that an individual node in the pathfinder network can be explored to study a particular concept in the network. Therefore, the research demonstrates the potential utility of pathfinder networks for formative assessment. This offers the possibility of providing the students with extremely comprehensive feedback. Results revealed that the similarity index of work concept in the pathfinder networks of the students increased from pre- to post-intervention phase. Most likely, the [...]
doi:10.20381/ruor-18821 fatcat:ygajivts7vcp5me24crckt25fe