Wittmann and Black on Consistency Plots

Michael C. Wittmann and Katrina E. Black

Visualizing changes in pretest and post-test student responses with consistency plots
Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res 10, 010114 – Published 5 May 2014

Tabular presentations of student data often hide information about the switches in responses by individual students over the course of a semester. We extend unpublished work by Kanim on “escalator diagrams,” which show changes in student responses from correct to incorrect (and vice versa) while representing pre- and postinstruction results on questions. We introduce the representation of “consistency plots,” containing three pieces of information: each student’s method of solution and correctness of solution and the shift from before to after instruction. We present data from students in an intermediate mechanics class answering (nearly) identical midterm and final examination questions. These data serve as a proof of concept of the method; we suggest other possible uses of consistency plots in physics education research, as well.