AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 27 Probing and Understanding Effective Learning and Teaching
Poster, Monday, 9:20am-7:00pm, January 9, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[27.06] First Results from the Light and Spectroscopy Concept Inventory

E. M. Bardar (Boston U.), E. E. Prather (U. of Arizona), K. Brecher (Boston U.), T. F. Slater (U. of Arizona)

We are in the final stages of development and testing of a Light and Spectroscopy Concept Inventory (LSCI). This instrument is designed to measure how students’ naïve ideas evolve into more scientifically accurate conceptions as a result of the instructional intervention implemented in the introductory astronomy classroom. The concept domain addressed by the LSCI is shaped by the concepts that are most commonly taught in the introductory college astronomy survey course, such as: properties of the electromagnetic spectrum; Doppler shift; Wien’s Law; the Stefan-Boltzmann Law; and Kirchhoff’s Laws of spectral analysis.

The LSCI is currently comprised of 26 research-based multiple choice content questions that target known student alternative conceptions and reasoning difficulties associated with light and spectroscopy-related phenomena. In the fall of 2005 this test was administered to approximately 500 students at 12 participating colleges and universities. We present a first look at results from this multi-institutional study. Specifically, we provide an evaluation of the reliability and validity of the instrument along with a comparison of normalized gain scores for the participating student populations in order to establish the sensitivity of the instrument for distinguishing the relative effectiveness of various teaching interventions within the context of introductory college astronomy.

We gratefully acknowledge the instructors and students who contributed to this research.

B.U. funding is provided in part by NSF Grant # DUE-0125992 and NASA GSRP Grant # NGT5-60482.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.