Heat and Temperature Conceptual Evaluation (HTCE)

Developed by Ron Thornton and David Sokoloff

Purpose To assess students’ understanding of heat and temperature concepts.
Format Pre/post, Multiple-choice, Short answer
Duration 40 min
Focus Thermal / Statistical Content knowledge (temperature, phase change, heat transfer, thermal properties of materials)
Level Intro college
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Sample questions from the HCTE:

HTCE Implementation and Troubleshooting Guide

Everything you need to know about implementing the HTCE in your class.

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C. Tanahoung, M. Sharma, I. Johnston, R. Chitaree, and C. Soankwan, Surveying Sydney Introductory Physics Students' Understandings of Heat and Temperature, presented at the Australian Institute of Physics National Congress, Brisbane, 2006.
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Bronze Validation
This is the third highest level of research validation, corresponding to at least 3 of the validation categories below.

Research Validation Summary

Based on Research Into:

  • Student thinking

Studied Using:

  • Student interviews
  • Expert review
  • Appropriate statistical analysis

Research Conducted:

  • At multiple institutions
  • By multiple research groups
  • Peer-reviewed publication

The multiple-choice questions on the HTCE are based on research into student thinking. The HTCE has been tested with over 1000 students at four universities.


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Language Translator(s)  
Chinese Wei Fang

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Typical Results

Typical Results from Tanahoung et. al, 2006. Question 24 was omitted from the analysis because it was not multiple-choice. 

University Pre-test Post-test ‹g›
Mahidol University   62%  
Khon Kaen University   51%  
Ubon Rajathnee University   42%  
University of Sydney (2005)   69%  
University of Sydney regular class (2006) 53% 72% 40%
University of Sydney advanced class (2006) 69% 84% 47%

The latest version of the HCTE, released in 2001, is version 1.