Next Gen Physical Science Diagnostic (NGPSD)

Developed by P. Sean Smith, Paula V. Engelhardt, Jennifer Torsiglieri Sprague, Steve Robinson, Fred Goldberg, and Edward Price

Purpose To assess the content in Next Gen PET curriculum, including mechanics, magnetism and static electricity, waves, sound, light and physical science topics such as physical changes and chemical reactions.
Format Pre/post, Multiple-choice
Duration 5 min/unit min
Focus Mechanics Content knowledge (magnetism, static electricity, energy, forces, waves and sound, light)
Level Intro college
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Sample question from the forces sub-test:

A ball is kicked straight upward. Why does the ball go slower and slower as it moves upward?

  1. The ball's force is getting used up.
  2. The total (net) force acting on the ball is in the downward direction.
  3. There are no forces acting on the ball.
  4. The force due to the kick gets smaller as the ball moves upward.

Sample question from the potential energy sub-test:

If a person is on a roller coaster, at which of the following points is the gravitational potential energy the MOST?

  1. Point 1, before the first drop
  2. Point 2, at the bottom of the second drop                          
  3. Point 3, at the top of the loop
  4. Point 4, at the bottom of the last drop

NGPSD Implementation and Troubleshooting Guide

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

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RESEARCH VALIDATION
Silver Validation
This is the second highest level of research validation, corresponding to at least 5 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 NGPSD were developed by identifying the learning goals for each Next Gen PET unit, collecting existing validated questions from multiple sources, and associating each question with one or more learning objectives. New questions were constructed when there were not enough existing questions for a unit. These questions were given to approximately 275 introductory physics students as a pre and posttest, the reliability and difficulty of the questions was determined, and a few questions that were too easy, or did not correlate well with the test were removed/replaced. The NGPSD was then given to students in classes taught by 17 different instructors, and results analyzed with appropriate statistical tests. The results of the NGPSD are published in one peer-reviewed paper. 

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Typical Results

The NGPSD is under-development, so there is only preliminary data around student results. The developers find that the normalized gain varies by unit, but averages around 12%.


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The latest version of the NGPSD, released in 2018, is version 2.

Related Teaching Method

Physical Science and Everyday Thinking