Using textual analysis with Concept Inventories to identify root causes of misconceptions

Andrea Goncher, Wageeh Boles, Dhammika Jayalath

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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    Engineers must have deep and accurate conceptual understanding of their field and Concept inventories (CIs) are one method of assessing conceptual understanding and providing formative feedback. Current CI tests use Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) to identify misconceptions and have undergone reliability and validity testing to assess conceptual understanding. However, they do not readily provide the diagnostic information about students’ reasoning and therefore do not effectively point to specific actions that can be taken to improve student learning. We piloted the textual component of our diagnostic CI on electrical engineering students using items from the signals and systems CI. We then analysed the textual responses using automated lexical analysis software to test the effectiveness of these types of software and interviewed the students regarding their experience using the textual component. Results from the automated text analysis revealed that students held both incorrect and correct ideas for certain conceptual areas and provided indications of student misconceptions. User feedback also revealed that the inclusion of the textual component is helpful to students in assessing and reflecting on their own understanding.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationFIE 2014
    Subtitle of host publicationOpening Doors to Innovation and Internationalization in Engineering Education
    PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
    Number of pages4
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    Event44th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference: FIE 2014 - Melia Castilla Hotel & Convention Center, Madrid, Spain
    Duration: 22 Oct 201425 Oct 2014 (Conference website) (Conference proceedings)


    Conference44th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference
    Abbreviated titleOpening Doors to Innovation and Internationalization in Engineering Education
    Internet address


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