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Abstract Title: Use of Question Formatting in Relation to Cognitive Assessment
Abstract: We discuss the effect of problem format on students' responses. We focus on the information gained about the students' thinking processes and knowledge structures as related to the content being assessed. We present data indicating that when students are required to show their calculations and/or explain their reasoning, the instructor has evidence of the level of scientific thinking, or the use of elements of cognitive structure, such as phenomenological primitives (p-prims). We also show data indicating that when the format of multiple choice is compared to other formats (for the same problem), such as explain your reasoning, ranking or  multiple choice with explain your reasoning that the number of students answering completely correctly drops dramatically. Our data indicates that the use of multiple choice as the form of assessment 1) does not give instructors information on the thinking processes of the students and 2) masks the fact that a significant number of students do not get to the correct answer by a consistent and coherent reasoning process.  

This project is supported by the NIH grant 5RC1GM090897-02.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Mark Ellermann
and Co-Presenter(s)
Beth Thacker