Date: 11 Dec 2009

USING ITEM RESPONSE THEORY TO CONDUCT A DISTRACTER ANALYSIS ON CONCEPTUAL INVENTORY OF NATURAL SELECTION

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Abstract

Concept inventories are often used to assess current student understanding although conceptual change models are problematic. Due to controversies with conceptual change models and the realities of student assessment, it is important that concept inventories are evaluated using a variety of theoretical models to improve quality. This study used a modified item response theory model to determine university nonmajor biology students’ levels of understanding of natural selection (n = 1,192). Using Conceptual Inventory of Natural Selection, we have reported how we applied Bock’s modified nominal item response theory model and the distracter test item analysis. We found that the use of this model can define student levels of understanding and identify problematic distracters.