Light and Spectroscopy Concept Inventory (LSCI)

Developed by Erin M. Bardar, Edward E. Prather, Kenneth Brecher, and Timothy F. Slater

Purpose To measure students’ conceptual understanding of topics related to light and spectroscopy, and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction in introductory college astronomy courses.
Format Pre/post, Multiple-choice
Duration 20-30 min
Focus Astronomy Content knowledge (light, waves, spectroscopy)
Level Intro college
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Sample questions from the LSCI:
LSCI sample questions

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E. Bardar, E. Prather, K. Brecher, and T. Slater, Development and Validation of the Light and Spectroscopy Concept Inventory, Astron. Educ. Rev. 5 (2), 103 (2007).
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Gold Star Validation
This is the highest level of research validation, corresponding to all seven 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 LSCI were developed based on research on student ideas about light and quantum phenomena, the teaching experience of the developers and student interviews. Answer choices were written to reflect student language and ideas. The questions were reviewed by experts and revised. The LSCI was given to over 50 introductory astronomy students and a subset were interviewed, and the questions were subsequently revised. The LSCI was then given to over 500 students at 11 institutions, and appropriate statistical analyses of reliability, difficulty and discrimination were conducted. Overall, reasonable values were found, and a few items were flagged to be reviewed and revised. The LSCI has been given to over 3000 students at over 30 institutions and results published in six peer-reviewed papers. 


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Typical Results

Typical results from Prather et al. 2009:

Plot of normalized gain <g> vs. average pre-test percentage for all 69 class sections in the study. The different symbols represent the four different types of institutions at which the classes were taught. The shaded region represents the range of pre-test scores and normalized gain seen by Hake for college-level classes in his study of introductory physics classes.

The latest version version of the LSCI, released in 2006, is version 1.