What is IMMEX™?

There is a pressing need to improve the science achievement of American students, who do not perform well on assessments of scientific problem solving. For example, The latest results, published in 2013 from tests taken in 2012, Program for International Student Assessment [PISA] test, American 15-year olds ranked 36th out of 40 developed nations in mathematics literacy and problem solving (Augustine, 2005; NCES, 2016). Improving science achievement depends on developing innovative instructional models that will ensure that teachers can provide effective classroom experiences. More specifically, teachers need information about how their students are learning so that they can adapt their instruction to address areas of confusion, and this information must be available in a timely manner.

With the development of increasingly powerful online learning environments and the coupling of them to dynamic assessment methodologies it is now becoming possible to rapidly acquire data with linkages to the students’ changing knowledge, skill and understanding as they engage in real-world complex problem solving.

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Cell Biology Education has published the manuscript entitled Probabilities and Predictions: Modeling the Development of Scientific Problem Solving Skills in their Spring 2005 issue. This article documents the research of IMMEX™ data generated by molecular genetics students at UC Irvine over two years. The development of probabilistic models of undergraduate student problem solving in molecular genetics are shown, and the spectrum of strategies students use when problem solving, and how their strategic approaches evolve with experience are detailed.

Strategic Performance Maps

Strategic Performance Maps aka: Search Path Maps or SPM's are graphic representations of a student's performance strategy. SPM's provide teachers of all grade levels and disciplines the opportunity use this technology-based assessment tool that integrates and maps their students' abilities to analyze, synthesize, test, and apply information to real-world problems. The spreadsheet-style, formats student's step-by-step sequence toward a solution and with the addition of a frequency chart, it makes multiple views of a performance a thing of the past. SPM's are created in advance so downloads begin as soon as the instruction is given.


The IMMEX™ Digital Dashboard is a tool that lets teachers follow their student's problem solving progress in real time. The display first shows the proportion of all IMMEX™ cases that have been solved in each of her classes. For instance, in the view above this teacher has 12 classes that she is teaching / supervising. Some of them have up to 800 performances whereas others have fewer than 100. The proportion of the cases solved is shown by the dark and light colors. If students have performed multiple problem sets their performance on any one can be selected by the drop down list box. This figure shows the solve rates for each class on Paul's Pepperoni Pizza and it shows the overall QuadScore® for all classes. Q1 most often represents guessing, Q2 performances are where students access lots of information but miss the problem, Q3 is where students access lots of information but solve the problem, and Q4 are very efficient and effective students.