Jack Barbera, Ph.D.

Picture of Jack Barbera, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • University of Northern Colorado
  • Greeley, CO 80639
  • Office: (970) 351-2545
  • Fax: (970) 351-2533
  • E-mail: Jack.Barbera@unco.edu

Barbera Group Webpage


The field of psychometrics dates back more than a century and is concerned with the theory and practice of psychological and educational measurement. Researchers in this field have established protocols to develop and evaluate a wide variety of assessment instruments, including multiple-choice concept inventories. With these protocols, chemists can make measurements of student knowledge and understanding with the same care and precision they use in the laboratory. Our projects make use of the Rasch and Item Response Theory models, as well as Structural Equation Modeling, during the development of assessment instruments. Using these models during the development phase of an instrument will lead to more reliable and valid data once the instrument is completed.


Travis Knowles, Ph.D. Chemistry Education

Victor Kiryak, Ph.D. Chemistry Education

Brent Ferrell, Ph.D. Chemistry Education

Ashley Neybert, Undergraduate Researcher


Paul Schwartz, M.S. 2013, chemistry teacher Crosby High School

David Wren, Ph.D. 2013, chemistry faculty Wake Forest University

Corina E. Brown, Ph.D. 2013, lecturer University of Northern Colorado

Jodie Wasacz, Ph.D. 2010, chemistry faculty Mount Saint Mary College


14. David Wren and Jack Barbera, “Psychometric Analysis of the Thermochemistry Concept Inventory,” Chemistry Education Research and Practice – Special Edition on Physical Chemistry Education, 2014, DOI: 10.1039/C3RP00170A.

13. Paul Schwartz and Jack Barbera, “Evaluating the Content and Response Process Validity of Data from the Chemistry Concepts Inventory,” Journal of Chemical Education, 2014, DOI: 10.1021/ed400716p.

12. David Wren and Jack Barbera, “Gathering Evidence for Validity During the Design, Development and Qualitative Evaluation of Thermochemistry Concept Inventory Items,” Journal of Chemical Education, 90, 2013, 1590-1601.

11. T. C. Pentecost and J. Barbera, “Measuring Change in Chemical Education Research: A Comparison of Methods,“ Journal of Chemical Education, 90, 839-845, 2013.

10. J. Barbera, “A Psychometric Analysis of the Chemistry Concepts Inventory,“ Journal of Chemical Education, 90, 546-553, 2013.

9. C. E. Brown, M. L. Henry, J. Barbera, and R. M. Hyslop, “A Bridge Between Two Cultures: Uncovering the Chemistry Concepts Relevant to the Nursing Clinical Practice,” Journal of Chemical Education, 89, 1114-1121, 2012.

8. J. Barbera and J. R. VandenPlas,“All assessment material are not created equal: The myths about instrument development, validity, and reliability,” Investigating Classroom Myths through Research on Teaching and Learning, ACS Symposium Series, Volume 1074, Chapter 11, pages 177-193, 2011.

7. J. R. VandenPlas, J. Barbera, K. Mickelsen, and A. Hjerstedt “Student prepared formula sheets in general chemistry: Do they help or hinder learning?,” Investigating Classroom Myths through Research on Teaching and Learning, ACS Symposium Series, Volume 1074, Chapter 3, pages 25-35, 2011.

6. J. Barbera and C. E. Wieman, ”Effect of Dynamic Learning Tutorials on Students’ Understanding of Heat and the First Law of Thermodynamics,” The Chemical Educator 14, 45-48, 2009.

5. J. Barbera, K. K. Perkins, W. K. Adams, and C. E. Wieman, “Modifying and Validating the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey for Use in Chemistry,”Journal of Chemical Education, 85, 1435-1439 , 2008.

4. J. Barbera, S. Horvath, V. Dribinski, A. B. McCoy, and W. C. Lineberger, “Femtosecond Dynamics of Cu(CD3OD),” Journal of Chemical Physics, 126, 219606, 2007.

3. K. K. Perkins, J. Barbera, W. K. Adams, and C. E. Wieman, “Chemistry vs. Physics: A Comparison of How Biology Majors View Each Discipline,” PERC Proceedings, 2006.

2. V. Dribinski, J. Barbera, J. P. Martin, A. Svendsen, M. A. Thompson, R. Parson, and W. C. Lineberger, “Time-Resolved Study of Solvent Induced Recombination in Photodissociated IBr−(CO2)n Clusters,” Journal of Chemical Physics, 125, 133405, 2006.

1. M. S. Taylor, J. Barbera, C. P. Schulz, F. Muntean, A. B. McCoy, and W. C. Lineberger, “The Femtosecond Dynamics of Cu(H2O)2,”Journal of Chemical Physics, 122, 054310, 2005.