Teaching and Learning of Energy in K – 12 Education

pp 103-133


Developing and Using Distractor-Driven Multiple-Choice Assessments Aligned to Ideas About Energy Forms, Transformation, Transfer, and Conservation

  • Cari F. Herrmann-AbellAffiliated withAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science/Project 2061 Email author 
  • , George E. DeBoerAffiliated withAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science/Project 2061

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This chapter presents a summary of middle and high school students’ understanding of energy and the differences and similarities in the ideas that the middle and high school students hold. The student data are a result of the field testing of items aligned to ideas about forms of energy, energy transformations, energy transfer, and conservation of energy that were administered to 23,744 middle and high school students in 48 states across the U.S. between 2009 and 2010. Rasch modeling was used to analyze the data, and the data had a good fit to the model. Analysis of covariance, controlling for gender and English as the student’s primary language, showed a steady increase in student understanding of key energy concepts between 7th and 12th grades. Option probability curves provided additional information about the progression of students’ understanding of energy concepts and the persistence of a number of energy-related misconceptions.