This study described an attempt to develop a networked two-tier test system. A two-tier test is a two-level multiple-choice question that diagnoses students' alternative conceptions in science. Three networked, two-tier test items were presented in this study. Students in Taiwan (555 14 year olds and 599 16 year olds) were asked to answer these items online. An analysis of students' answers suggested that students' alternative conceptions might be retained even after formal instruction about relevant conceptions. Moreover, their responses were related across these three two-tier test items. Further development of the two-tier test system will mainly focus on designing appropriate feedback and guidance that help students overcome their alternative conceptions. In this way, the networked two-tier test system is not only a diagnostic tool, but also an effective instructional tool. This study has illuminated some innovative thoughts for the research and practice of science education.
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