Skip to main content
A Historical Investigation into Item Formats of ACS Exams and Their Relationships to Science Practices
Journal of Chemical Education
  • Alexandra Brandriet, Iowa State University
  • Jessica J. Reed, Iowa State University
  • Thomas Holme, Iowa State University
Document Type
Publication Version
Published Version
Publication Date
The release of the NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards has important implications for classroom teaching and assessment. Of particular interest is the implementation of science practices in the chemistry classroom, and the definitions established by the NRC makes these objectives much more tangible. However, this still may leave some wondering about how to begin making these changes. Mid-twentieth century chemical educators and pioneers of the first ACS exams advocated for testing science thinking and skills as early as the 1930s, and this necessitates a discussion about how early ACS exams measured these attributes. More recent debates have seen arguments that multiple-choice questions cannot measure high levels of cognitive ability in chemistry, which leaves questions about how ACS exams or instructors who write tests for large scale classrooms might try to measure science practices. The possibility that an analysis of the item formats used on ACS exams from 1934 to 1970 would help inform the creation of improved item types in testing today is investigated and presented here.

Reprinted (adapted) with permission from J. Chem. Educ., 2015, 92 (11), pp 1798–1806. Copyright 2015 American Chemical Society.

Copyright Owner
American Chemical Society
File Format
Citation Information
Alexandra Brandriet, Jessica J. Reed and Thomas Holme. "A Historical Investigation into Item Formats of ACS Exams and Their Relationships to Science Practices" Journal of Chemical Education Vol. 92 Iss. 11 (2015) p. 1798 - 1806
Available at: