Effectiveness of methods of testing conceptual understanding in physics: a study done in the concept of floating and sinking in form 3 students at Mbooni – East district
The central problem of this study was to determine the most effective method of testing prior knowledge and conceptual understanding in physics in the concept of floating and sinking among form three students from Mbooni – East district in Makueni County. The study was comparing between Essay tests, Experimental test and Objective tests. It was hypothesized that Experimental method of testing was hypothesized to be the most effective method of testing conceptual knowledge. The study employed a comparative case study design which involved pretest, instruction and then pre-test. A school in Mbooni east was sampled randomly where the research was to be conducted. In the selected school 30 form 3 students were chosen at random in from the form 3 students who take physics randomly. The selected sample was further divided three groups in which a test was administered to the student one group with essay test, the other group with Experimental test while the third group with objective test after which the sample population was taken through an instructional process using guided discovery method for one the once again tested using the same test. The scripts were marked and the scores obtained formed the data for the research. The selected sample was again given questioners to respond to establish the demographic factors of the sample of study. The collected data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The main technique used to analyse the data was paired t-Test and Analysis of variance (ANOVA), Means, standard deviations and percentages. And reported using tables and frequency graphs. From the study it was established that objective test were the most effective method of testing prior knowledge and conceptual understanding followed by Experimental test and the least effective was Essay tests was recommended that tests should be incorporated in our teaching before and after. In order to test the scope of the prior knowledge and the extent in which the learners have understood the scientific concepts. Finally suggestions for further research were made either to replicate this study to cover a wide area to find out the most effective method of testing conceptual understanding in other areas of the country and in other subjects. Also it can done using a different method of instruction.