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Light and Spectroscopy Concept Inventory (LSCI)


The Light and Spectroscopy Concept Inventory (LSCI) is designed to assess students’ alternate conceptions of light and spectroscopy typically encountered in college introductory astronomy courses. Specific topics include light, the Stefan-Boltzmann

law, Wien’s law, the Doppler shift, and spectroscopy.


The LSCI is commonly administered in college introductory astronomy courses.

Typical Performance

We haven’t performed an analysis of the LASSO data for typical performance, but the literature shows typical pretest scores around 25%. Course level normalized learning gains have ranged from -0.07 to 0.5 (note, we recommend using an effect size measure rather than normalized learning gain).

Example question:

Question 1


The LSCI was originally developed in 2007 and underwent significant additional validation in 2012. The validation has focussed on college students but spans several institutions. While there are some items that were shown to be weaker than others, in general, the instrument was shown to be reasonably reliable and valid across introductory physics classes. Relevant articles are listed below:

  • Bardar, E. M., Prather, E. E., Brecher, K., & Slater, T. F. (2007). Development and validation of the light and spectroscopy concept inventory. Astronomy Education Review, 5(2), 103-113.Barbera, J. (2013). A psychometric analysis of the chemical concepts inventory. Journal of Chemical Education, 90(5), 546-553.

  • Schlingman, W. M., Prather, E. E., Wallace, C. S., Rudolph, A. L., & Brissenden, G. (2012). A classical test theory analysis of the Light and Spectroscopy Concept Inventory national study data set. Astronomy Education Review, 11(1), 107-117.


There are over 145 publications that mention the LSCI. We recommend using Google Scholar and the citations listed under validation to find articles of interest.

Example LASSO Report

Please follow this link to our example report for concept inventories.

Similar Instruments

We do not currently host any similar instruments.

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