Concept Inventories: Predicting the Wrong Answer May Boost Performance

Chemical education researchers often use concept inventories to assess the depth of conceptual understanding their students have about a variety of topics. These inventories are normally multiple-choice documents. The authors of these inventories are careful in choosing distractor answer choices based upon common misconceptions and faulty knowledge that students generally have. Besides informing the instructor of common misconceptions and other gaps in understanding, these inventories can also help determine the value of specific interventions designed to address those common misconception.

In reading the recently published JCE article, Concept Inventories: Predicting the Wrong Answer May Boost Performance, I was reminded of a variety of ways to encourage students to reflect on their answer choices for a longer time period. We can ask students to rate their confidence in their answer choice or to assess the rightness of their answers. Additionally, Talanquer suggests providing students with a prompt that asks them to predict the choices that uninformed students will incorrectly choose as the correct answer. Using any of these added treatments is intended to encourage deeper analytical reasoning and reflection as they choose their answers and possibly encourage deeper understanding of the content. 



The preview image is used with permission from Concept Inventories: Predicting the Wrong Answer May Boost Performance, Vicente Talanquer, Journal of Chemical Education Article ASAP, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.7b00427 Copyright 2017 American Chemical Society.

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