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Development of a three-tier test to assess ninth grade students' misconceptions about simple electric circuits

Peşman, Haki
The main purpose of this study was to develop a three-tier test for assessing ninth-grade students̕ misconceptions about simple electric circuits. The first tier of an item on the test presents an ordinary multiple choice question, the second tier presents a set of reasons for the response given to the first tier, and the third tier questions if examinees are confident for their responses to the first two tiers. The study was carried in Polatlı, the biggest outlying district of capital Ankara. In the light of the related literature, interviews were conducted by the researcher so as to collect information about students̕ understanding of simple electric circuits. Thereby, a list of misconceptions was acquired and it was used for developing an open-ended questionnaire. Next, the questionnaire was examined by two physics teachers and an instructor from METU for establishing content validity. The questionnaire was administered to 99 ninth-grade students and their responses were categorized in the purpose of determining the distracters of the three-tier test; the Simple Electric Circuit Diagnostic Test (SECDT). At last, the SECDT was developed and administered to 124 ninth-grade students. The validity of the SECDT was established by means of quantitative methods in addition to the qualitative methods. A positive correlation coefficient was estimated between student scores and confidence levels, that is, successful students on the SECDT were more confident for their responses than unsuccessful students. This result means that the SECDT works properly, for example, students generally understood the items and found their reasoning among the distracters. Also, what items measure was investigated by means of factor analysis, and three reasonable factors were obtained. Furthermore, proportions of false positives and negatives were estimated and found as 17.47 % and 10.82 %,