Identifying what makes a good question in a mechanics diagnostic test

Many students entering engineering degrees encounter problems with the mathematics involved. More recently, research has shown that freshers may have insuffi cient knowledge of mechanics. In order to assess this, the authors created and administered a multiple-choice mechanics diagnostic test. This paper gives details of the test, and evaluates, using item analysis, how students performed on the questions and on the topics assessed by it. It also makes recommendations for devising questions which allow a diagnostic test to discriminate between students.