Tool to Analyze Student Transition(s) on the FCI
Paul Walter and Gary Morris developed this tool to help classroom teachers assess students’ progress towards understanding of the Newtonian concept of force. The results provide insight into development of full comprehension, which is a process of gradually deepening ideas rather than a bold leap from complete non-understanding to full understanding.
This tool is available for instructors assessing student understanding of Newtonian concepts on the Force Concept Inventory (FCI). It uses an Excel spreadsheet application to create a simple matrix that identifies the percentage of students who select each possible pre-/post-test answer combination on each question of the FCI.
For those students that selected the wrong answer to a question on both the pre-/post-test, transition matrices can determine whether they are moving towards a “better” wrong answer by determining changes in students’ understanding of concepts and common misconceptions. The transition matrices help instructors visualize their students’ development (even if just small steps) as well as make differentiated, targeted instructional interventions. The authors’ hope is that feedback from the tool will allow instructors to close the loop on assessment and tailor instruction in an informed way based on incorporating more of the information provided by the FCI.