Pre-course Results from the Astronomy Diagnostic Test
We present selected results from the January 1999 semester pre-course administration of the Astronomy Diagnostic Test (ADT), a research-based, multiple-choice instrument that assesses student knowledge and understanding about selected concepts in astronomy. The ADT is valid for undergraduate non-science majors taking an introductory astronomy course. This paper briefly summarises the development and validation processes, which included pre-course administration to 1557 students in 22 classes attending 17 various post-secondary institutions across the USA in the January 1999 semester. Two interesting results of the ADT’s pre-course administration are (1) the average class score of the ADT is about the same (32%) regardless of type of post-secondary institution or class size and (2) there
is a significant gender difference, with women scoring an average of 28% and men 38%, with the standard errors both less than 1%. The current version of the ADT (Version 2 dated 21 June 1999) and a comparative by-class database is available to astronomy instructors at the (USA) Association of Astronomy Educators’ and the National Institute for Science Education’s (NISE) WebPages.