In this study, we investigated why Laotian students had a low score, when they were tested
by the Force Concept Inventory (FCI). About 400 first year university students answered
the FCI or a Lao version of the FCI (LFCI) with the contexts of some questions changed.
The students answered a questionnaire and 34 of the students were interviewed. The
students found the FCI/LFCI questions difficult and the phenomena in some of the
questions unfamiliar, for example questions about ice hockey. The results show that the
low score cannot be explained by specific alternative conceptions and only to a very small
part by unfamiliar context. The explanation seems to be that the students relied on
everyday life experiences when they answered the questions.