2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 9:35 AM


WARD, Emily M. Geraghty, Geology, Rocky Mountain College, 1511 Poly Drive, Billings, MT 59102, LIBARKIN, Julie C., Department of Geological Sciences, Division of Science and Mathematics Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, KORTEMEYER, Gerd, Division of Science & Math Education, Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824 and RAEBURN, Stuart, Division of Science & Math Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, emily.ward@rocky.edu

Developing effective assessment instruments requires careful consideration of target populations, including potential users, subjects, and critics. In higher education science, users are often faculty who look to concept inventories (CIs) to assess student learning in specific courses. However, input on the content, construction, review, and dissemination of CIs from the academic community is needed to more effectively meet growing needs. CI users play a key role in making valid and reliable instruments – a role often overlooked by development teams - by ensuring that questions are both appropriate and well written. Users can consider the value of item topics for their courses, gain an understanding of the importance of word choice in question creation, and provide expert insight as they review questions. A limitation of existing CIs is the rigid character of the content. That is, the developers predetermine specific questions and potential users are limited by the question content. Furthermore, courses not covering inventory content are still limited to evaluation via these few existing instruments. A project to revise and expand the Geoscience Concept Inventory via a WebCenter offers flexibility in sub-test design while maintaining the ability to statistically compare results across content. The GCI WebCenter allows users to comment instantly on existing questions (GCI v.2.1) as well as author new questions for community review and inclusion on future versions of the GCI. Also, we plan to provide online testing services for those interested in pre- and post-course assessment. To find out more, visit the GCI WebCenter: http://gci.lite.msu.edu/. We find that GCI users are interested in its content and are eager to help; at the same time, participation in GCI development requires an unexpected amount of community training as well as targeted requests for assistance with specific questions. Implications for CI development and plans for future work will be discussed.