Discipline-Based Education Research Group


Date of this Version


Document Type



DBER Group Discussion on 2013‐10‐24
Copyright (c) 2013 Travis Lund


During the development of a general chemistry concept survey, interviews demonstrated that students used distinctly different problem‐solving strategies to answer two survey questions, one verbally‐based and one pictorially‐based, despite the fact that the questions were both designed to test the same concept of strong versus weak acids. Alternate versions of the concept survey were administered, with the order of the pictorial and verbal questions reversed. A significant ordering effect was observed in the questions of interest, and the incorrect answer choices that became better or worse distractors were identified. Current findings, future directions, and practical implications for instructors and researchers will be discussed.