Publications & Resources

Task Templates Based on Misconception Research

Dec 2004

Jennifer G. Cromley and Robert J. Mislevy

Researchers spend much time and effort developing measures, including measures of students’ conceptual knowledge. In an effort to make such assessments easier to design, the Principled Assessment Designs for Inquiry (PADI) project has developed a framework for designing tasks and to illustrate its use has “reverse engineered” several existing science assessments. This paper reports one such project, motivated by assessments that elicit students’ qualitative explanations of situations that have been designed to provoke misconceptions and partial understandings. We describe four task-specific templates we created—three based on Hestenes, Wells, and Swackhamer’s (1992) Force Concept Inventory and one based on Novick and Nussbaum’s (1981) Test About Particles in a Gas (TAP). We then describe an overarching framework for these templates, another PADI object called a Design Pattern, based on Stewart’s concept of “Model Using” (Stewart & Hafner, 1994). For each template, we describe a multivariate student model, a measurement model, and a task model. We conclude by suggesting how these templates and the design pattern could help researchers (and perhaps teachers) who wish to design new assessments in science domains where students are known to hold misconceptions.

Cromley, J. G., & Mislevy, R. J. (2004). Task templates based on misconception research (CSE Report 646). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).