3B: Using think-aloud interviews to assess student understanding of statistics concepts *

A Reinhart, P Burckhardt, P W Elliott, C Evans, A Luby, M Meyer, J Orellana, R Yurko, G Weinberg, J Wieczorek, R Nugent (Carnegie Mellon University)


Assessing student understanding of statistics concepts is quite difficult: conceptual questions are difficult to write clearly, students often interpret questions in unexpected ways, and students may choose answers (even the correct answer) for unexpected reasons. This makes it difficult to assess student learning of concepts, but as we continuously improve our introductory statistics courses, we need tools to understand what students understand. 

In this breakout session, we will report on a year-long exploratory project to build an assessment using a powerful tool: think-aloud interviews. Audience members will learn to use think-aloud interviews to elicit student misconceptions and revise assessment questions, providing a practical method they can use in their own courses and research to better assess student learning. We will then share surprising misconceptions discovered during our own round of 36 student interviews, and summarize our assessment’s results from several hundred students in several introductory courses.