David Wren, Jack Barbera (University of Northern Colorado, USA)
Understanding the thermochemistry concepts taught in first-semester general chemistry is often challenging for college students, in part, due to the inherent abstract-nature of several concepts. For example, enthalpy is often defined in terms of other variables, drastically increasing the level of abstraction , which challenges many students. Mapping levels of abstraction to levels of conceptual misunderstanding can be used to construct and evaluate concept inventory item distracters. The levels of abstraction as related to thermochemistry will be discussed as a background for the development of concept inventory items. Furthermore, item analysis of a 12-item thermochemistry concept inventory will be presented using Rasch analysis. This presentation will also include descriptions of how psychometric properties and iterative pilot testing were used to create and evaluate inventory items.