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Glen and Michael publish in Phys Rev on cultural studies using the FMCE

November 30th, 2017

Comparing Item Response Curves of Japanese and American Students on the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation
M. Ishimoto, G. Davenport, and M. C. Wittmann

Physical Review Physics Education Research 13, 20135 (published Nov 30, 2017)

Student views of force and motion reflect the personal experiences and physics education of the student. With a different language, culture, and educational system, we expect that Japanese students’ views on force and motion might be different from those of American students. The Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation (FMCE) is an instrument used to probe student views on force and motion. It was designed using research on American students, and, as such, the items might function differently for Japanese students. Preliminary results from a translated version indicated that Japanese students had similar misconceptions as those of American students. In this study, we used item response curves (IRCs) to make more detailed item-by-item comparisons. IRCs show the functioning of individual items across all levels of performance by plotting the proportion of each response as a function of the total score. Most of the IRCs showed very similar patterns on both correct and incorrect responses; however, a few of the plots indicate differences between the populations. The similar patterns indicate that students tend to interact with FMCE items similarly, despite differences in culture, language, and education. We speculate about the possible causes for the differences in some of the IRCs. This report is intended to show how IRCs can be used as a part of the validation process when making comparisons across languages and nationalities. Differences in IRCs can help to pinpoint artifacts of translation, contextual effects because of differences in culture, and perhaps intrinsic differences in student understanding of Newtonian motion.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.13.020135

Posted in papers
Physics Education Research Laboratory
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E-mail: mackenzie.stetzer@maine.edu; thompsonj@maine.edu; mwittmann@maine.edu
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