Research in Science Education

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 37–43 | Cite as

An interview study of responses to diagnostic, multiple-choice, physics items

  • Colin Gauld
  • Kathryn Ryan


In three-quarters of the student-item pairs the multiple-choice items correctly identified the use of adequate or inadequate strategies so on a general level the items might be thought to have performed satisfactorily. However as diagnostic tools they were generally inadequate and this fact points to the desirability of using the student-oriented procedure for constructing such items. In this procedure student understanding of the domain of knowledge is probed through interviews and distractors are designed to reflect the dominant types of misconceptions.

The importance of the school-related context was something which emerged during the interviews and, in the light of the discrepancy between student understanding as revealed through school tests and interview studies, this is an area to which more attention needs to be given.


Diagnostic Tool General Level Interview Study Dominant Type Student Understanding 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Australian Science Education Research Association 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin Gauld
  • Kathryn Ryan

There are no affiliations available

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