Misconceptions about science

Not long ago (29 April) an article titled “AAAS Testing Web Site Probes Students’ Misconceptions About Science” appeared in Science. The website is assessment.aaas.org (free registration required). Science matter

It includes this graphic, with the caption, “The answer is D. Nearly 70% of students tested by Project 2061 answered correctly, but 17% chose answer A. By offering insight on students’ misconceptions, the new assessments Web site can help shape more effective teaching.”

Do you find this question as annoying as I do? I take D to say that all matter is atoms, which is plainly not the case.

The test-wise student will realize that it’s the answer they’re going for, of course, though a case can be made for A (read it like this: “Atoms are not [identical with] matter, but they are contained in [the the set of all] matter”).

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