Understanding students’ readiness for precalculus and calculus at the community college level is critical not only because of the key role community colleges play in higher education but also because calculus remains a gateway course for students in advancing to higher level mathematics. The Algebra and Precalculus Concept Readiness Assessment for Community Colleges (APCR-CC) was designed to investigate community college students’ quantitative reasoning abilities and conceptual understanding in algebra. The present study investigates the psychometric properties of the APCR-CC instrument using item response theory based on a sample of intermediate and college algebra students from six community colleges collected in a pretest (N = 1,131) and posttest (N = 772) setting. We examine unidimensionality, item fit, local item independence, measurement invariance, and sensitivity to instruction. Our findings suggest that the APCR-CC instrument is sufficiently characterized by one underlying construct, local dependence does not seem to be an issue, and 80% of the items in the APCR-CC instrument are sensitive to instruction.
- algebra and precalculus concept readiness
- college assessment
- item response theory
- psychometric analysis