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AAAS creates website to help educators understand key misconceptions among students

MONDAY, APRIL 11, 2011 20:24 PM

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) recently updated its testing questions after educators recently found the key and incorrect ideas students may have.

Officials said that knowing the misconceptions students may have about science could help teachers improve instruction and design their test questions to better assess their students. Furthermore, the new exam questions counter the belief that multiple choice questions are only useful for testing recall of memorized definitions and trivial facts.

"As a result of our efforts, many of the test questions included in the new website measure not only knowledge of factual information, but they also probe a student's ability to explain real-world phenomena, reason logically through problem situations, or identify the reason why a claim is true," said George DeBoer, deputy director of Project 2061, a AAAS program.

The AAAS developed a new website in order to help teachers with these tests. Officials added that the website presents detailed information on how a national sample of students answered each question, along with the analysis of both the correct and incorrect responses.

For instance, nearly 27 percent of middle school and 20 percent of high school students were found to believe that cells are not made up of atoms. Officials noted that having information about this misconceptions may reveal a gap that prevents the understanding of this key topic.