Publication Date

5-1-2008

Advisor(s)

Stemler, Steven E.

Major

Psychology

Language

English

Abstract

The current research examined whether theory-driven examinations that expand the range of cognitive skills assessed allow individual students to better demonstrate content knowledge and decrease achievement gaps between ethnic and sex groups. Two hundred and eighty one students enrolled in AP Physics courses in the 2006-2007 school-year took an augmented version of the AP Physics exam that included items measuring creative and practical thinking in addition to analytic and memory skills. Employing such a framework reduced achievement differences in ethnic groups compared to standard estimates. It further revealed distinct profiles of achievement across cognitive processes, suggesting that traditional tests, which tend to emphasize memory and analytic skills, may not allow all students to fully demonstrate their content mastery. This research points to a need to integrate theories of cognitive processing into the design of new tests

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