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The Development of a Spanish Version of the Concept Assessment Tools for Statics

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

New Research and Trends for Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1286.1 - 25.1286.8



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Paper Authors


Nadgee Mar González García University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez

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Nadgee Mar González García was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Nov. 20, 1987. She finished her bachelor's degree in civil engineering in the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and is currently doing her master's degree on geotechnical engineering at the same institution.

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Laura Isabel Nieves University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez

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Paola Beatriz Pacheco University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez

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Rosaurelis Joanne Marín University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez


Aidsa I. Santiago-Román University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez

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Aidsa I. Santiago-Román is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Science and Materials and the Director of the Strategic Engineering Education Development (SEED) Office at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez (UPRM). Santiago earned a B.A. (1996) and M.S. (2000) in industrial engineering from UPRM, and Ph.D. (2009) in engineering education from Purdue University. Her primary research interest is investigating students’ understanding of difficult concepts in engineering science with underrepresented populations. She also teaches introductory engineering courses such as problem solving and computer programming, statics, and mechanics.

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The Development of a Spanish Version of the Concept Assessment Tools for StaticsAbstractConcept inventories (CIs) are a criterion-referenced tests designed to evaluate whether a studenthas an accurate working knowledge of a specific set of concepts. Typically, concept inventoriesare organized as multiple-choice tests that address a single idea in order to ensure that they arescored in a reproducible manner. The purpose of CIs includes ascertaining (a) the range of whatindividuals think a particular question is asking and (b) the most common responses andmisconceptions to the questions. In its final form, each question includes one correct answer andseveral distractors.The impact of CIs in STEM education occurred after the development of the Force ConceptInventory (FCI), a multiple-choice test designed to assess students' Newtonian conceptions offorce. Studies with the FCI showed discrepancies between students’ performance on physicscourses (grades) and their performance on the FCI. Since then, various Engineering ConceptInventories (ECIs) have been developed as a tool to identify common misconceptions on specificengineering domains. For the last 30 years, approximately 21 ECIs have been developed; inchemistry, dynamics, electronics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and statics, among others.Unfortunately, ECIs have been developed at institutions were student from underrepresentedpopulations, such as Hispanic, are not considered mainly because there is no access to them.Therefore, there is a need to measure the efficacy of ECI among underrepresented population todetermine its validity and reliability.Traditionally, underrepresented populations score below nations’ average on these instruments.In 2010, the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded a project whose primary objective is totest the efficacy of the Concept Assessment Tool for Statics (CATS) among bilingualengineering students from a US Hispanic Service Institution (HSI). CATS is an ECI designed todetect errors associated with important and difficult statics concepts. The questions on CATSwere developed primarily through the experience of the designer and two Statics professors atdifferent universities and according to 9 difficult concepts. Four distractors were created for eachquestion based on students’ written responses to open-ended questions.The study is composed of a 4-phase mixed method design, where each phase is guided by aspecific objective and research. In this study, a bilingual student is one who is taught both inEnglish and/or Spanish, but Spanish is their primary language. This paper focuses on resultsfrom the first phase, whose objective was the creation of a Spanish version of CATS, referred toas CATS-S. On this phase, 4 experienced Hispanic professors translated the 27 CATS questionsinto Spanish. Then, 10 Civil Engineering Hispanic graduate students were selected to take theCATS-S. Their participation was absolutely voluntary and worked independently. Participantswere requested to indicate if the questions was understandable, what and how they should beimproved. The remaining phases of the study will allow the researchers to test the CATS-Samong other Hispanic students to determine if they exhibit the same misconceptions. Resultsfrom this study will allow CATS-S to be disseminated among Spanish-speaking engineeringuniversities and to students from other HIS in the US.

González García, N. M., & Nieves, L. I., & Pacheco, P. B., & Marín, R. J., & Santiago-Román, A. I. (2012, June), The Development of a Spanish Version of the Concept Assessment Tools for Statics Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22043

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