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2011 AAPT Summer Meeting
July 30-August 3, 2011
Omaha, Nebraska

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Automated Analysis of Students' Responses to Short-Answer Physics Questions^1
  Location: HC 3048
  Date: Tuesday, Aug.2
  Time: 2:35 PM -2:45 PM
  Author: Christopher Nakamura
Kansas State University Physics Department
(785) 532-7167,
  Co-Author(s): Sytil K. Murphy , Dean A. Zollman , Michael Christel , Scott Stevens
  Abstract: Online learning environments and synthetic tutoring systems are of interest as potential resources in physics education. These systems may allow many students to study physics in interactive ways at times and in locations of their choice. To effectively promote authentic learning, these environments must be able to present students with open-ended, conceptual questions, as a tutor would. The ability to interpret and respond automatically to students' responses would increase the interactivity of these systems considerably. It would also present a powerful analysis tool to address the large data sets these systems can generate. Vector-space based methods of text indexing and lexical network approaches to text analysis may be useful for this purpose. Here we discuss work exploring these types of approaches to interpreting student responses to short-answer questions. In particular we investigate the combination of qualitative coding methods with computerized text analysis to provide robust automated interpretation of responses.
  Footnotes: 1 This work is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation under grant numbers REC-0632587 and REC-0632657.
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