The physics problem-solving taxonomy (PPST): Development and application for evaluating student learning

Larisa Shakhman, Moshe Barak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This study addresses the development and evaluation of the Physics Problem-Solving Taxonomy (PPST), comprising five levels: retrieval, diagnosis, strategy, conceptual, and creative thinking. The taxonomy draws on Bloom's revised taxonomy in the cognitive domain, the Types of Knowledge Taxonomy, and the Problem-Solving Taxonomy in engineering. The study includes applying PPST to analyze the content of the Israeli national physics exam (the Bagrut), student Bagrut scores (n = 18,000), and student answers to a school-level physics exam (n = 164). The findings indicate that in both the Bagrut and the school exam, the higher an item ranks on PPST, the lower the students' grades on this item. In addition, the distribution of student scores on the two exams is similar, indicating high reliability and validity of the PPST scale. This tool could help physics teachers to rank difficulty levels of the high school physics exam questions, and create high school physics questions, to foster students' proficiency in physics problem solving.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberem1764
JournalEurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Curriculum
  • Evaluation
  • Physics
  • Problem solving
  • Taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Applied Mathematics


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