Assessment of College Students' Understanding of the Equals Relation: Development and Validation of an Instrument
This work made publicly available electronically on December 23, 2010.
Research indicates that many elementary students do not comprehend that the equal sign is an indication that an equality relation exists between two structures. Instead, they perceive the equal sign as an indication that a particular procedure is to be performed. As students mature, and as their exposure to the equal sign and equality relations in multiple contexts increases, most obtain the ability to interpret the equal sign as an indicator of an equivalence relation. Incorrect usages of the equal sign, however, by post-algebra students indicate a tendency for students to regress back to a comprehension of the equal sign as an operator symbol or to ignore the equal sign altogether.
The purpose of this project was to develop an instrument that is relevant to objectives associated with the interpretation of the equals relation, and to perform a test reliability analysis to assess measurement reliability and construct validity for the instrument. The model that was utilized to develop items for the instrument followed a general item development and validity assessment model proposed by Cangelosi. This model requires an iterative process that includes a peer review of objectives and instrument items by a panel of experts and a revision of the items based upon recommendations from the panel. A pilot test was synthesized from the revised items and administered to a group of subjects, and an instrument reliability analysis and an item efficiency analysis were performed. The quantitative and qualitative data obtained from this process were used to create the 18-item instrument entitled, Wheeler Test for Comprehension of Equals. The researcher recommends further validity assessments for the instrument across multiple settings and subject groups.
Gregory D. Wheeler. "Assessment of College Students' Understanding of the Equals Relation: Development and Validation of an Instrument" All Graduate Theses and Dissertations (2010).
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gregory_wheeler/4