Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Assessment instruments as research tools: An Eye-tracking study of expert and novice chemistry problem solving


Chemistry Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Is the strategy people use to read a multiple-choice question in chemistry influenced by their prior knowledge or working memory capacity? In order to address this research question, multiple-choice chemistry questions were needed that would provide researchers insight into problem solving strategies and behavior, without fear of interference from bad questions. In order to be sure that data collected would be generalizable, questions were taken from the Bonding, Structures, and Properties Assessment instrument (BSPA), an assessment instrument with previously demonstrated validity and reliability. Although the BSPA was developed to give insight into student knowledge on the topics of structure and bonding in chemistry, it also provides a tool that allows us to collect data regarding reading and problem solving in general. In this study, eye-tracking data will be presented for both experts and novices in the field of chemistry as they solve questions on a validated multiple-choice assessment instrument. Reading strategies for multiple-choice questions will be discussed in the context of expertise and working memory capacity.

Conference Name

246th ACS National Meeting of the American Chemical Society

Conference Location

Indianapolis, Indiana

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