Emanuela Botta, Stefania Pozio


Incorrect responses to an item requiring solving a geometry problem were analysed as part of a research project on an adaptive computer-based test assessing mathematical ability. The item bank was calibrated by using the Rasch model (1960) and the item revealed to be of a medium-high level of difficulty. Analyses of incorrect responses allowed to identify and hypothesize students’ problem-solving strategies. The responses were categorised using a two-level procedure, related to the basic steps of problem-solving processes. Errors were fairly distant from the correct answer and showed different levels of reasoning consistency. ANOVA was conducted on the mean ability of students to reveal the differences between the categories and relate the students’ abilities to the error. The results show that the ability is correlated to motivation to reach the solution and that there are significant differences in the mean ability between the different categories identified.


Adaptive Test, MST Test, mathematical ability, problem solving

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