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Journal of Chemical Education

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Chemistry -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Research, Chemistry -- Curriculum -- Assessment


Identifying effective methods of assessment and developing robust assessments are key areas of research in chemistry education. This research is needed to evaluate instructional innovations and curricular reform. In this primer, we advocate for the use of a type of assessment, ordered multiple-choice (OMC), across postsecondary chemistry. OMC assessments are grounded in a developmental perspective, which treats students’ knowledge as developing in sophistication over time. This is in contrast to a dichotomous perspective, which asserts that students’ knowledge is either aligned or misaligned with scientifically accepted knowledge. By drawing on a developmental perspective, OMC assessments offer insights into student understanding that can be useful for informing instruction. To that end, this primer will overview OMC assessments, illustrate their development and evaluation in two chemistry contexts, and make an argument for their utility in the chemistry education community.


Copyright © 2021 American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc.

This is the author’s version of a work that was subsequently published in The Journal of Chemical Education. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in The Journal of Chemical Education, 2021, and can be found online at:



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