Mechanics Baseline Test (MBT)

Developed by David Hestenes and Malcom Wells

Purpose To assess more formal dimensions of basic Newtonian physics and to be used alongside the FCI to get a well-rounded picture of students’ understanding.
Format Multiple-choice
Duration 45 min
Focus Mechanics Content knowledge (kinematics, forces, momentum, energy)
Level Intro college, High school
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Sample question from the MBT:

MBT Implementation and Troubleshooting Guide

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D. Hestenes and M. Wells, A mechanics baseline test, Phys. Teach. 30 (3), 159 (1992).
RESEARCH VALIDATION
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 answers to the MBT questions are based on research into student thinking. Some of the questions come from Advanced Placement (AP) exams. There is a strong correlation (0.68) between the FCI and the MBT for a group of university students. Item response theory was used to look at the difficulty of the questions and their ability to discriminate between students of different levels. There were five questions that were found not to be effective at discriminating between students of different abilities. The MBT has been administered to over 5000 students at the university and high school level and used to compare teaching methods. Results are published in three peer-reviewed articles.

References

PhysPort provides translations of assessments as a service to our users, but does not endorse the accuracy or validity of translations. Assessments validated for one language and culture may not be valid for other languages and cultures.

Language Translator(s)  
Finnish Ismo Koponen and Johanna Jauhiainen
French Bernard Blandin, Research Director, CESI (France)
German Joern Gerdes
Italian Leonardo Colletti, Liceo Carducci
Japanese Yamato Hasegawa and Jun-ichiro Yasduda
Malay Jaafar Jantan, Ph.D.
Persian Masoumeh Ghasemi
Portuguese Inês Leitão and Luis Breda (Portugal)
Spanish Julio C. Benegas
Turkish Salih Ates

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Typical Results

Typical post-test scores from Hestenes and Wells, 1992:


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The latest version of the MBT, released in 1996, is version 97.

Related Teaching Method

Modeling Instruction