Gary Gladding presenting at a 2014 conference for physics teachers

PER group

Our group includes members from both the Physics Department and the School of Education.

Papers and Talks

Evaluating Multiple-Choice Exams in Large Introductory Physics Courses


The reliability and validity of multiple-choice exams have been extensively studied for "professionally" written exams such as the SAT and GRE, and even the Force Concept Inventory. Much of the success of these multiple-choice exams is attributed to the careful construction of each question, as well as each response. In a study at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, we investigated the reliability and validity of our multiple-choice exams written for and administered in our large, introductory physics courses. The reliability is found using standard statistical methods. To determine the test's validity, we compared student ranking for a subset of students based on their multiple-choice score, graded explanations, and student interviews. In this talk we will share with you our findings and discuss whether or not multiple-choice exams are a reliable and valid way to rank students.

View the entire presentation.