Computerized lexical analysis of students’ written responses for diagnosing conceptual understanding of energy

TitleComputerized lexical analysis of students’ written responses for diagnosing conceptual understanding of energy
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsPark, M, Haudek, K, Urban-Lurain, M
Conference NameNARST 2015 Annual International Conference
Date Published04/2015
AbstractThis study explores the feasibility of computerized lexical analysis for investigating student conceptions of energy. Beginning-level college students' responses to two-tiered format energy concept questions were analyzed using IBM SPSS Modeler software. The SPSS modeler allowed us to extract and categorize terms (words and phrases) from student written responses. Using the categories and students' choices to the multiple-choice question, discriminant analysis was conducted to identify key ideas that predict chosen multiple-choice options. The results showed that students who focused on surface-level information failed to answer the question correctly while students who used the underlying energy concepts along with information from the question were more likely to answer successfully. Our results support the use of computerized lexical analysis coupled with statistical analyses to gain insight into student understanding of energy concepts beyond what multiple choice questions can reveal.

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (DUE grants: 1438739, 1323162, 1347740, 0736952 and 1022653). Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.