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The Astronomy and Space Science Concept Inventory: Development and Validation of Assessment Instruments Aligned with the K-12 National Science Standards

Abstract

"We report on the development of an item test bank and associated instruments based on those K-12 national standards which involve astronomy and space science. Utilizing hundreds of studies in the science education research literature on student misconceptions, we have constructed 211 unique items that measure the degree to which students abandon such ideas for accepted scientific views. Piloted nationally with 7599 students and their 88 teachers spanning grades 5-12, the items reveal a range of interesting results, particularly student difficulties in mastering the NRC Standards and AAAS Benchmarks. Teachers generally perform well on items covering the standards of the grade level at which they teach, exhibiting few misconceptions of their own. Teachers dramatically overestimate their students' performance, perhaps because they are unaware of their students' misconceptions. Examples are given showing how the developed instruments can be used to assess the effectiveness of instruction and to evaluate the impact of professional development activities for teachers."

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