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Physical Review Physics Education Research




Ishimoto, Davenport, and Wittmann have previously reported analyses of data from student responses to the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation (FMCE), in which they used item response curves (IRCs) to make claims about American and Japanese students’ relative likelihood to choose certain incorrect responses to some questions. We have used an independent dataset of over 6,500 American students’ responses to the FMCE to generate IRCs to test their claims. Converting the IRCs to vectors, we used dot product analysis to compare each response item quantitatively. For most questions, our analyses are consistent with Ishimoto, Davenport, and Wittmann, with some results suggesting more minor differences between American and Japanese students than previously reported. We also highlight the pedagogical advantages of using IRCs to determine the differences in response patterns for different populations to better understand student thinking prior to instruction.


Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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