Assessing the Efficacy of the Measure of Understanding of Macroevolution as a Valid Tool for Undergraduate Non-Science Majors

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Efficacy of the Measure of Understanding of Macroevolution (MUM) as a measurement tool has been a point of contention among scholars needing a valid measure for knowledge of macroevolution. We explored the structure and construct validity of the MUM using Rasch methodologies in the context of a general education biology course designed with an emphasis on macroevolution content. The Rasch model was utilized to quantify item- and test-level characteristics, including dimensionality, reliability, and fit with the Rasch model. Contrary to previous work, we found that the MUM provides a valid, reliable, and unidimensional scale for measuring knowledge of macroevolution in introductory non-science majors, and that its psychometric behavior does not exhibit large changes across time. While we found that all items provide productive measurement information, several depart substantially from ideal behavior, warranting a collective effort to improve these items. Suggestions for improving the measurement characteristics of the MUM at the item and test levels are put forward and discussed.



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