By studying the patterns of a group of individuals' responses to a series of multiple-choice questions, researchers can utilize Model Analysis Theory to create a probability distribution of mental models for a student population. The eigenanalysis of this distribution yields information about what mental models the students possess, as well as how consistently they utilize said mental models. Although the theory considers the probabilistic distribution to be fundamental, there exists opportunities for random errors to occur. In this paper we will discuss a numerical approach for mathematically accounting for these random errors. As an example of this methodology, analysis of data obtained from the Lunar Phases Concept Inventory will be presented. Limitations and applicability of this numerical approach will be discussed.


  • Education > General
  • Mathematics > General

Education Levels:

  • Grade 1
  • Grade 6
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 9


Lunar Phases Concept Inventory (LPCI),NSDL,Education Foundations,Undergraduate (Lower Division),Research Design & Methodology,statistical analysis,Mathematics,Physics Education Research,General Physics,Graduate/Professional,Model Analysis theory,oai:nsdl.org:2200/20061003065541186T,Mathematical Tools,students' mental models,Astronomy,Numerical Analysis,Higher Education,Education Research,PERC 2003,error analysis,modelling,Physics,Education,human factors,Ecology, Forestry and Agriculture,NSDL_SetSpec_439869,Vocational/Professional Development Education,Astronomy Education,Geoscience,Space Science



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