• Bryce Thomas Battisti
  • Nikki HaneganEmail author
  • Richard Sudweeks
  • Rex Cates


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.

Key words

biology concept inventories item response theory 


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Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryce Thomas Battisti
    • 1
  • Nikki Hanegan
    • 2
    Email author
  • Richard Sudweeks
    • 3
  • Rex Cates
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Integrated SciencesAsian University for WomenChittagongBangladesh
  2. 2.Department of Biology, College of Life SciencesBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Instructional Psychology and Technology, McKay School of EducationBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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