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.|
|Focus||Mechanics Content knowledge (kinematics, forces, momentum, energy)|
|Level||Intro college, High school|
Sample question from the MBT:
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
- Student interviews
- Expert review
- Appropriate statistical analysis
- 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.
- C. Cardamone, J. Abbott, S. Rayyan, D. Seaton, A. Pawl, and D. Pritchard, Item response theory analysis of the mechanics baseline test, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2011, Omaha, Nebraska, 2011.
- D. Desbien, Modeling Discourse Management Compared to Other Classroom Management Styles in University Physics, Arizona State University, 2002.
- D. Hestenes and M. Wells, A mechanics baseline test, Phys. Teach. 30 (3), 159 (1992).
- R. Steinberg and M. Sabella, Performance on multiple-choice diagnostics and complementary exam problems, Phys. Teach. 35 (3), 150 (1997).
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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.