Comparing pre/post item response curves to identify changes in misconceptions

Paul J. Walter, Trevor I. Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


We use quantitative measures and visual inspection to compare the item response curves (IRCs) of matched pre-/post-instruction Force Concept Inventory (FCI) data. We find that the IRCs are not static; the pre-instruction IRCs differ from the post-instruction IRCs by more than can be explained by random chance. This result is also the case for a subpopulation consisting of students who make little or no gains on the FCI, suggesting that learning is taking place even when scores do not change appreciably. We consider three items where students make substantial progress (item 4) or little progress (items 14 and 21) compared to overall changes in FCI scores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhysics Education Research Conference Proceedings
EditorsMichael B. Bennett, Brian W. Frank, Rebecca E. Vieyra
PublisherAmerican Association of Physics Teachers
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9780917853487
StatePublished - 2021
EventPhysics Education Research Conference, PERC 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Aug 4 2021Aug 5 2021

Publication series

NamePhysics Education Research Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)1539-9028
ISSN (Electronic)2377-2379


ConferencePhysics Education Research Conference, PERC 2021
CityVirtual, Online

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparing pre/post item response curves to identify changes in misconceptions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this