Department of Chemistry


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Published in Journal of Chemical Education 88 (2011), pp. 1359-1365; doi: 10.1021/ed1002509 This article is a U.S. government work, and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


Development of learning progressions has been at the forefront of science education for several years. While understanding students’ conceptual development toward “big ideas” in science is extremely valuable for researchers, science teachers can also benefit from assessment tools that diagnose their students’ trajectories along the learning progressions. In this paper, we describe the development and validation of a teacher-friendly survey, the Structure and Motion of Matter (SAMM) survey, designed to measure students’ trajectories along aspects of a research-based learning progression on the particulate nature of matter. Specifically, the survey assesses students’ implicit assumptions about four concepts: the structure of solute and solvent substances in a gas solution, the origin of motion of gaseous solute particles, and their trajectories. The process to ensure the translation validity (face and content validity) of the survey is described. Criterion validity study results indicate that the SAMM survey is well grounded in theory, and the test-retest study results indicate that the survey is also reliable. Finally, the development of an Excel-based scoring scheme associated with the SAMM survey is also described. Inter-rater reliability studies indicate that the scoring scheme can be used reliably.

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