AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 80. The Astronomy Diagnostic Test: Development, Results and Applications
Special Session Oral, Tuesday, January 8, 2002, 2:00-3:30pm, Georgetown West

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[80.03] Birth of the Astronomy Diagnostic Test: Prototest Evolution

M. Zeilik (University of New Mexico)

In 1992, with funding by the National Science Foundation, a multidisciplinary research team at the University of New Mexico accreted to transform a "traditional Astro 101" course into a conceptually-oriented one. The team consisted of people from astronomy, cognitive psychology, and education. Our aim was to improve the learning environment in a large "lecture" course based on current cognitive models of adult learning. We demanded that our effort be research-based, but found little in the literature to assist us; for example, no field-tested assessment tools that would measure appropiate outcomes had been developed in higher education. From prior research at lower grades, we saw the need of a valid and reliable "misconceptions" test. We also desired to tap into higher level conceptual learning, and so developed concept map assessments to measure acquisition of the "Big Picture" in astronomy. These "misconceptions measures" were protoversions of the Astronomy Diagnostic Test (ADT) that gained in structure and usefulness over four semesters involving hundreds of students.

I will outline our methodology to develop the ADT in a bootstrap way, its basis as a learning tool, and its correlation with other assessments (especially the concept maps) and achievement in the UNM "Astro 101" course.

This work was supported in part by NSF DUE grants 9253983 and 9981155.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.wcer.wisc.edu/nise/cl1/flag/cat/diagnostic/diagnostic1.htm. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: zeilik@la.unm.edu

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