Analysis of the Astronomy Diagnostic Test
Seventy undergraduate class sections were examined from the database of Astronomy Diagnostic Test (ADT) results of Deming and Hufnagel to determine if course format correlated with ADT normalized gain scores. Normalized gains were calculated for four different classroom scenarios: lecture, lecture with discussion, lecture with lab, and lecture with both lab and discussion. Statistical analysis shows that there are no significant differences in normalized gain among the self- reported classroom formats. Prerequisites related to mathematics courses did show differences in normalized gain. Of all reported course activities, only the lecture and the readings for the course correlate significantly with the normalized gain. This analysis suggests that the ADT may not have enough sensitivity to measure differences in the effectiveness of different course formats because of the wide range of topics that the ADT addresses with few questions. Different measures of gain and their biases are discussed. We argue that the use of the normalized gain is not always warranted because of its strong bias toward high pretest scores.