Waltz, Micah J.
Students are leaving undergraduate science programs without the knowledge and skills they are expected to have. This is apparent in professional programs, such as medical and veterinary school, where students do not possess the critical thinking skills necessary to be successful. Physiology is a required discipline for these professional programs and often before, as a pre-requisite. Physiology classrooms are an excellent place to teach critical thinking skills because the content consists of integrated processes. Therefore, in one study, it was investigated whether focusing on physiological concepts improved student understanding of physiology in both a non-physiological science course, Invertebrate Zoology, and in an undergraduate physiology course. An educational intervention was used in Invertebrate Zoology, where students were exposed to human physiology concepts that were similar to comparative physiology concepts they had learned during the semester. A pre-/post-test was used to assess learning gains. In a second study, the use of multimedia file usage was correlated to student exam scores in a physiology course. This was done to see if providing additional study materials that focused on specific concepts improved student understanding, as assessed using exam scores. Overall these studies indicate that encouraging assimilation of new concepts that expand upon material from lecture may help students gain a more complete understanding of a concept. The integration of these concepts into pre-existing conceptual frameworks may serve to teach students valuable critical thinking skills such as evaluation of new ideas within their current understanding and synthesizing the new content with the existing information. Focusing on this type of conceptual learning may enable students to apply content knowledge and think through problems. Additionally, focusing on concepts may enable students to improve their understanding of material without being overwhelmed by content.
Cheong, Irene Poh-Ai; Treagust, David; Kyeleve, Iorhemen J.; Oh, Peck-Yoke
In this study, a two-tier diagnostic test for understanding malaria was developed and administered to 314 Bruneian students in Year 12 and in a nursing diploma course. The validity, reliability, difficulty level, discriminant indices, and reading ability of the test were examined and found to be acceptable in terms of measuring students'…
The study examines how students' conceptual understanding changes from high confidence with incorrect conceptions to high confidence with correct conceptions when reasoning about electromagnetics. The Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism test is weighted with students' self-rated confidence on each item in order to infer how strongly…
Wild, Tiffany A.; Hilson, Margilee P.; Hobson, Sally M.
Introduction: The purpose of the study presented here was to understand and describe the misconceptions of students with visual impairments about sound and instructional techniques that may help them to develop a scientific understanding. Methods: Semistructured interview-centered pre-and posttests were used to identify the students' conceptual…
Constructs a teaching strategy to facilitate conceptual change in freshman students' understanding of electrochemistry. Provides students with the correct response along with alternative responses (teaching experiments), producing a conflicting situation that is conducive to an equilibration of their cognitive structures. Concludes that the…
Heckler, Andrew F.
Modeling students' conceptual understanding of force, velocity, and acceleration Rebecca Rosenblatt, velocity, and acceleration. The test was administered to more than 800 students enrolled in standard incorrect response that velocity must be in the direction of the acceleration or net force, up to 30
Costu, Bayram; Ayas, Alipasa; Niaz, Mansoor
We constructed the PDEODE (Predict-Discuss-Explain-Observe-Discuss-Explain) teaching strategy, a variant of the classical POE (Predict-Observe-Explain) activity, to promote conceptual change, and investigated its effectiveness on student understanding of the evaporation concept. The sample consisted of 52 first year students in a primary science…
delMas, Robert; Garfield, Joan; Ooms, Ann; Chance, Beth
This paper describes the development of the CAOS test, designed to measure students' conceptual understanding of important statistical ideas, across three years of revision and testing, content validation, and reliability analysis. Results are reported from a large scale class testing and item responses are compared from pretest to posttest in…
Avoiding Reflex Responses: Strategies for Revealing Students' Conceptual Understanding in Biology and strategies we use to create questions that better probe student understanding. Keywords: reflexive responses
Britton, Sandra; Henderson, Jenny
This article looks at some of the conceptual difficulties that students have in a linear algebra course. An overview of previous research in this area is given, and the various theories that have been espoused regarding the reasons that students find linear algebra so difficult are discussed. Student responses to two questions testing the ability…
Colorado at Boulder, University of
Exploring Student Understanding of Energy through the Quantum Mechanics Conceptual Survey S. B. Mc Abstract. We present a study of student understanding of energy in quantum mechanical tunneling and barrier refer to as the Quantum Mechanics Conceptual Survey (QMCS), is being developed to measure student
Colorado at Boulder, University of
Longitudinal study of student conceptual understanding in electricity and magnetism S. J. Pollock at the freshman level on juniors' performance on a conceptual survey of Electricity and Magnetism E&M . We measured student performance on a research-based conceptual instrument--the Brief Electricity & Magnetism
Slater, Stephanie; Bretones, P. S.; McKinnon, D.; Schleigh, S.; Slater, T. F.; Astronomy, Center; Education Research, Physics
Large international investigations into the learning of science, such as the TIMSS and PISA studies, have been enlightening with regard to effective instructional practices. Data from these studies revealed weaknesses and promising practices within nations' educational systems, with evidence to suggest that these studies have led to international reforms in science education. However, these reforms have focused on the general characteristics of teaching and learning across all sciences. While extraordinarily useful, these studies have provided limited insight for any given content domain. To date, there has been no systematic effort to measure individual's conceptual astronomy understanding across the globe. This paper describes our motivations for a coordinated, multinational study of astronomy understanding. First, reformed education is based upon knowing the preexisting knowledge state of our students. The data from this study will be used to assist international astronomy education and public outreach (EPO) professionals in their efforts to improve practices across global settings. Second, while the US astronomy EPO community has a long history of activity, research has established that many practices are ineffective in the face of robust misconceptions (e.g.: seasons). Within an international sample we hope to find subpopulations that do not conform to our existing knowledge of student misconceptions, leading us to cultural or educational practices that hint at alternative, effective means of instruction. Finally, it is our hope that this first venture into large-scale disciplinary collaboration will help us to craft a set of common languages and practices, building capacity and leading toward long-term cooperation across the international EPO community. This project is sponsored and managed by the Center for Astronomy & Physics Education Research (CAPER), in collaboration with members of the International Astronomical Union-Commission 46. We are actively welcoming and seeking partners in this work.
Bandyopadhyay, Atanu; Kumar, Arvind
This work is an attempt to see how physics undergraduates view the basic ideas of general relativity when they are exposed to the topic in a standard introductory course. Since the subject is conceptually and technically difficult, we adopted a "case studies" approach, focusing in depth on about six students who had just finished a one semester…
Jin, Haiyue; Wong, Khoon Yoong
Conceptual understanding is a major aim of mathematics education, and concept map has been used in non-mathematics research to uncover the relations among concepts held by students. This article presents the results of using concept map to assess conceptual understanding of basic algebraic concepts held by a group of 48 grade 8 Chinese students.…
Yenilmez, Ayse; Tekkaya, Ceren
This study investigated the effectiveness of combining conceptual change text and discussion web strategies on students' understanding of photosynthesis and respiration in plants. Students' conceptual understanding of photosynthesis and respiration in plants was measured using the two-tier diagnostic test developed by Haslam and Treagust (1987,…
Clark, Douglas B.
This research analyzes students' conceptual change across a semester in an 8th-grade thermodynamics curriculum. Fifty students were interviewed 5 times during their 8th-grade semester and then again preceding their 10th- and 12th-grade years to follow their subsequent progress. The interview questions probed students' understanding of…
Montfort, Devlin B.; Brown, Shane; Whritenour, Victoria
Researchers have long been interested in how to recruit and retain more and more diverse students into engineering programs. One consistent challenge in this research is understanding the impacts of interventions from the point of view of the student, and how their preconceptions may influence that effectiveness. This study investigated how…
Atasoy, Basri; Akkus, Huseyin; Kadayifci, Hakki
The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of a conceptual change approach over traditional instruction on tenth-grade students' conceptual achievement in understanding chemical equilibrium. The study was conducted in two classes of the same teacher with participation of a total of 44 tenth-grade students. In this study, a…
Niaz, Mansoor; Chacon, Eleazar
Describes a study that used a teaching strategy based on two teaching experiments which could facilitate students' conceptual understanding of electrochemistry. Involves two sections (n=29 and n=28) of 10th grade high school students in Venezuela. Concludes that the teaching experiments facilitated student understanding of electrochemistry.…
Cataloglu, E.; Robinett, R. W.
Describes an assessment instrument designed to test conceptual and visual understanding of quantum theory, probe various aspects of student understanding of some core ideas of quantum mechanics, and investigate how students develop over the undergraduate curriculum. (Contains 52 references.) (Author/YDS)
Alkhawaldeh, Salem A.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the conceptual change text oriented instruction over traditionally designed instruction on ninth grade students' understanding of the human circulatory system concepts, and their retention of this understanding. The subjects of this study consist of 73 ninth grade female students…
Ozkan, Gulbin; Selcuk, Gamze Sezgin
In this study, the effect of technology enhanced conceptual change texts on elementary school students' understanding of buoyant force was investigated. The conceptual change texts (written forms) used in this study are proven for effectiveness and are enriched by using technology support in this study. These texts were tried out on two groups. A…
The study deals with the development of an analogy-integrated e-learning module on Cellular Respiration, which is intended to facilitate conceptual understanding of students with different brain hemisphere dominance and learning styles. The module includes eight analogies originally conceptualized following the specific steps used to prepare…
Decristan, Jasmin; Hondrich, A. Lena; Büttner, Gerhard; Hertel, Silke; Klieme, Eckhard; Kunter, Mareike; Lühken, Arnim; Adl-Amini, Katja; Djakovic, Sanna-K.; Mannel, Susanne; Naumann, Alexander; Hardy, Ilonca
A cognitive and a guidance dimension can describe the support of students' conceptual understanding in inquiry-based science education. The role of guidance for student learning has been intensively discussed. Furthermore, inquiry learning may pose particular challenges to students with low language proficiency. The present intervention in primary…
Erduran, Sibel; Duschl, Richard A.
The research described in this paper investigates the use of portfolio assessment techniques in middle school science classrooms. It explores how alternative assessment frameworks, such as portfolios, can be used by the classroom teacher and the students as an indicator of students' conceptual understanding and to facilitate changes in science…
Dahsah, Chanyah; Coll, Richard K.
Stoichiometry and related concepts are an important part of student learning in chemistry. In this interpretive-based inquiry, we investigated Thai Grade 10 and 11 students' conceptual understanding and ability to solve numerical problems for stoichiometry-related concepts. Ninety-seven participants completed a purpose-designed survey instrument…
Danipog, Dennis L.; Ferido, Marlene B.
This study aimed to determine the effects of art-based chemistry activities (ABCA) on high school students' conceptual understanding in chemistry. The study used the pretest-posttest control group design. A total of 64 third-year high school students from two different chemistry classes participated in the study. One class was exposed to art-based…
Cakirt, Ozlem S.; Geban, Omer; Yuruk, Nejla
This study investigated the effect of conceptual change text-oriented instruction over traditional instruction on students' understanding of cellular respiration concepts and their attitudes toward biology as a school subject. The sample of this study consisted of 84 eleventh-grade students from four classes of a high school. Two of the classes…
Cakir, Ozlem S.; Yuruk, Nejla; Geban, Omer
The purpose of the study is to compare the effectiveness of conceptual change text oriented instruction and traditional instruction on students' understanding of cellular respiration concepts and their attitudes toward biology as a school subject. The sample of this study consisted of 84 eleventh-grade students from the 4 classes of a high school.…
Students commonly find the field of physics difficult. Therefore, they generally have learning problems. One of the subjects with which they have difficulties is optics within a physics discipline. This study aims to determine students' conceptual understanding levels at different education levels relating to lenses in geometric optics. A…
Senior, Carl; Howard, Chris
The role that student friendship groups play in learning was investigated here. Employing a critical realist design, two focus groups on undergraduates were conducted to explore their experience of studying. Data from the “case-by-case” analysis suggested student-to-student friendships produced social contexts which facilitated conceptual understanding through discussion, explanation, and application to “real life” contemporary issues. However, the students did not conceive this as a learning experience or suggest the function of their friendships involved learning. These data therefore challenge the perspective that student groups in higher education are formed and regulated for the primary function of learning. Given these findings, further research is needed to assess the role student friendships play in developing disciplinary conceptual understanding. PMID:25309488
Reinfried, Sibylle; Aeschbacher, Urs; Rottermann, Benno
Students' everyday ideas of the greenhouse effect are difficult to change. Environmental education faces the challenge of developing instructional settings that foster students' conceptual understanding concept of the greenhouse effect in order to understand global warming. To facilitate students' conceptual development with regard to the…
Sungur, Semra; Tekkaya, Ceren; Geban, Omer
Investigates the contribution of conceptual change texts accompanied by concept mapping instruction to 10th-grade students' understanding of the human circulatory system. Indicates that the conceptual change texts accompanied by concept mapping instruction produced a positive effect on students' understanding of concepts. Concludes that students…
Mitchell, Richard C.
This study investigated the conceptual and algorithmic problem-solving understanding of secondary students in chemistry in the context of chemical equilibrium. Previously, Nakhleh and Mitchell (1993) probed the differences in performance between algorithmic and conceptual problem-solving questions among chemistry majors. This study extends that research into the secondary level and to the topic of chemical equilibrium. A teaching intervention was used to study possible changes in the conceptual understanding of chemical equilibrium by Advance Placement (A.P.) Chemistry students in a midwestern high school. Three data sources were used: follow-up posttests, problem-solving interviews, and concept maps. The experimental and control groups demonstrated no significant difference in the initial and final concept maps drawn by the students when evaluated for chemical equilibria concepts. The experimental group does, however, post significantly different scores on the student-drawn concept maps when evaluated for the use of particle terminology. It appears that the teaching experiments may have contributed to an increased understanding of the particle nature of reactants and products involved in chemical equilibria systems. The problem-solving interviews provided an effective analysis of the participants' understanding of chemical equilibria and their conceptual understanding of the topic. While demonstrating that the teaching experiments had little effect on the problem-solving methodologies of the participants in either control or experimental groups, several patterns of problem-solving common to both groups and important to the research base were elicited from the data.
Zacharia, Zacharias C.; Olympiou, Georgios; Papaevripidou, Marios
This study aimed to investigate the comparative value of experimenting with physical manipulatives (PM) in a sequential combination with virtual manipulatives (VM), with the use of PM preceding the use of VM, and of experimenting with PM alone, with respect to changes in students' conceptual understanding in the domain of heat and temperature. A…
Chang, Chun-Yen; Yeh, Ting-Kuang; Barufaldi, James P.
This study explored the phenomenon of testing effect during science concept assessments, including the mechanism behind it and its impact upon a learner's conceptual understanding. The participants consisted of 208 high school students, in either the 11th or 12th grade. Three types of tests (traditional multiple-choice test, correct concept test,…
Kumar, David Devraj; Sherwood, Robert D.
A study of the effect of science teaching with a multimedia simulation on water quality, the "River of Life," on the science conceptual understanding of students (N = 83) in an undergraduate science education (K-9) course is reported. Teaching reality-based meaningful science is strongly recommended by the National Science Education Standards…
Baser, Mustafa; Geban, Omer
This study was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of learning activities based on conceptual change conditions and traditionally designed physics instruction on tenth-grade students' understanding of static electricity concepts and their attitudes toward physics as a school subject. Misconceptions related to static electricity concepts…
This study explores the effectiveness of conceptual change oriented instruction and standard science instruction and contribution of logical thinking ability on seventh grade students' understanding of heat and temperature concepts. Misconceptions related to heat and temperature concepts were determined by related literature on this subject.…
Onder, Ismail; Geban, Omer
The present study aimed to investigate the effect of conceptual change texts oriented instruction on 10th grade students' understanding of solubility equilibrium concept. The misconceptions related to solubility equilibrium concept were obtained through interviews with high school chemistry teachers and related literature. The data were obtained…
Bayrak, Beyza Karadeniz
The purpose of this study was to identify primary students' conceptual understanding and alternative conceptions in acid-base. For this reason, a 15 items two-tier multiple choice test administered 56 eighth grade students in spring semester 2009-2010. Data for this study were collected using a conceptual understanding scale prepared to include…
Holtman, Lorna Benita
This study investigated eighty junior and senior college students' understanding of evolutionary biology concepts in lecture-only and lecture-laboratory settings. The evolution lab stressed the processes of evolution, and involved simulations, experiments, discussions, report writing, and reading. Test scores do not reveal everything about the actual process of learning in the laboratory. This study examined conceptual change patterns over a period of one semester using in-depth interviews with eight participants. The study revealed that the lecture-laboratory group performed better than the lecture-only group on certain shared items on the objective examination. The interview participants showed various patterns of conceptual change; that is, holistic (wholesale and cascade), fragmented, and dual constructions. Dual constructions and wholesale conceptual changes were the most common types of conceptual change patterns observed. Laboratory work in evolution allowed students to grapple with their alternative conceptions for abstract evolutionary concepts. They made use of the opportunities for cognitive conflict provided by the lab sessions. Some students adhered to their initial alternative conceptions which constrained the provision of scientific explanations for the biological problems. Examples of alternative conceptions are a young earth, rejection of macroevolution, and Lamarckian conceptions. The belief system of one student strongly influenced her retention of alternative conceptions, although she had done the laboratory course. However, two other students (one a lecture-lab participant) who held similar religious beliefs were able to develop a better understanding of evolution. Strong religious beliefs do not always preclude a good understanding of evolution. This study revealed a direct, positive relationship between students' understanding of evolutionary concepts and their understanding of the nature of science. The observation was true for both lecture-only and lecture-lab groups.
The complex and interdisciplinary nature of climate change science poses special challenges for educators in helping students understand the climate system, and how it is evolving under natural and anthropogenic forcing. Students and citizens alike have existing mental models that may limit their perception and processing of the multiple relationships between processes (e.g., feedback) that arise in global change science, and prevent adoption of complex scientific concepts. Their prior knowledge base serves as the scaffold for all future learning and grasping its range and limitations serves as an important basis upon which to anchor instruction. Different instructional strategies can be adopted to help students understand the inherently interdisciplinary topic of global climate change, its interwoven human and natural causes, and the connections it has with society through a complex range of political, social, technological and economic factors. One assessment method for students' understanding of global climate change with its many uncertainties, whether associated with the workings of the climate system or with respect to social, cultural and economic processes that mediate human responses to changes within the system, is through the use of conceptual maps. When well designed, they offer a representation of students' mental model prior and post instruction. We will present two conceptual mapping activities used in the classroom to assess students' knowledge and understanding about global climate change and uncover misconceptions. For the first one, concept maps will be used to demonstrate evidence of learning and conceptual change, while for the second we will show how conceptual maps can provide information about gaps in knowledge and misconceptions students have about the topic.
Butler, Kyle A.; Lumpe, Andrew
This study was designed to theoretically articulate and empirically assess the role of computer scaffolds. In this project, several examples of educational software were developed to scaffold the learning of students performing high level cognitive activities. The software used in this study, Artemis, focused on scaffolding the learning of students as they performed information seeking activities. As 5th grade students traveled through a project-based science unit on photosynthesis, researchers used a pre-post design to test for both student motivation and student conceptual understanding of photosynthesis. To measure both variables, a motivation survey and three methods of concept map analysis were used. The student use of the scaffolding features was determined using a database that tracked students' movement between scaffolding tools. The gain scores of each dependent variable was then correlated to the students' feature use (time and hits) embedded in the Artemis Interface. This provided the researchers with significant relationships between the scaffolding features represented in the software and student motivation and conceptual understanding of photosynthesis. There were a total of three significant correlations in comparing the scaffolding use by hits (clicked on) with the dependent variables and only one significant correlation when comparing the scaffold use in time. The first significant correlation ( r = .499, p < .05) was between the saving/viewing features hits and the students' task value. This correlation supports the assumption that there is a positive relationship between the student use of the saving/viewing features and the students' perception of how interesting, how important, and how useful the task is. The second significant correlation ( r = 0.553, p < 0.01) was between the searching features hits and the students' self-efficacy for learning and performance. This correlation supports the assumption that there is a positive relationship between the student use of the searching features and the students' perception of their ability to accomplish a task as well as their confidence in their skills to perform that task. The third significant correlation ( r = 0.519, p < 0.05) was between the collaborative features hits and the students' essay performance scores. This correlation supports the assumption that there is a positive relationship between the student use of the collaborative features and the students' ability to perform high cognitive tasks. Finally, the last significant correlation ( r = 0.576, p < 0.01) was between the maintenance features time and the qualitative analysis of the concept maps. This correlation supports the assumption that there is a positive relationship between the student use of the maintenance features and student conceptual understanding of photosynthesis.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the interactions between multiple intelligence strengths and alternative teaching methods on student academic achievement, conceptual understanding and attitudes. The design was a quasi-experimental study, in which students enrolled in Principles of Anatomy and Physiology, a developmental biology course, received lecture only, problem-based learning with lecture, or peer teaching with lecture. These students completed the Multiple Intelligence Inventory to determine their intelligence strengths, the Students' Motivation Toward Science Learning questionnaire to determine student attitudes towards learning in science, multiple choice tests to determine academic achievement, and open-ended questions to determine conceptual understanding. Effects of intelligence types and teaching methods on academic achievement and conceptual understanding were determined statistically by repeated measures ANOVAs. No significance occurred in academic achievement scores due to lab group or due to teaching method used; however, significant interactions between group and teaching method did occur in students with strengths in logical-mathematical, interpersonal, kinesthetic, and intrapersonal intelligences. Post-hoc analysis using Tukey HSD tests revealed students with strengths in logical-mathematical intelligence and enrolled in Group Three scored significantly higher when taught by problem-based learning (PBL) as compared to peer teaching (PT). No significance occurred in conceptual understanding scores due to lab group or due to teaching method used; however, significant interactions between group and teaching method did occur in students with strengths in musical, kinesthetic, intrapersonal, and spatial intelligences. Post-hoc analysis using Tukey HSD tests revealed students with strengths in logical-mathematical intelligence and enrolled in Group Three scored significantly higher when taught by lecture as compared to PBL. Students with strengths in intrapersonal intelligence and enrolled in Group One scored significantly lower when taught by lecture as compared to PBL. Results of a repeated measures ANOVA for student attitudes showed significant increases in positive student attitudes toward science learning for all three types of teaching method between pretest and posttest; but there were no significant differences in posttest attitude scores by type of teaching method.
Seah, Lay Hoon
This study is an attempt to examine the use of linguistic resources by primary science students so as to understand the conceptual and language demands encountered by them when constructing written explanations. The students' written explanations and the instructional language (whole-class discussion and textbook) employed over the topic, the life cycle of plants, in four grade 4 classrooms (age 10) taught by three teachers constitute the data for this study. Students' written explanations were subjected to a combination of content and linguistic analysis. The linguistic analysis was conducted using selected analytical tools from the systemic functional linguistics framework. A diversity of linguistic resources and meanings were identified from the students' explanations, which reveal the extent to which the students were able to employ linguistic resources to construct written scientific explanations and the challenges involved. Both content and linguistic analyses also illuminate patterns of language use that are significant for realising scientific meanings. Finally, a comparison is made in the use of linguistic resources between the students' explanations and the instructional language to highlight possible links. This comparison reveals that the teachers' expectations of the students' written explanations were seldom reflected in their oral questioning or made explicit during the instruction. The findings of this study suggest that a focus on conceptual development is not sufficient in itself to foster students' ability to construct explanations. Pedagogical implications involving the support needed by primary students to construct scientific explanations are discussed.
In present paper, we propose a new diagnostic test to measure students' conceptual knowledge of principles of modern physics topics. Over few decades since born of physics education research (PER), many diagnostic instruments that measure students' conceptual understanding of various topics in physics, the earliest tests developed in PER are Force…
Reports on a study that constructs a Lakatosian teaching strategy that can facilitate conceptual change in students' understanding of chemical equilibrium. Results indicate that the experimental group performed better on tests. Contains 81 references. (DDR)
McFall, Rebecca E.
The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of using concept maps or dialogue journals on bilingual students' conceptual understanding in science. Three fourth grade classes, which included 60 students, using the Science and Technology for Children, Plant Growth and Development unit participated in the study. The vocabulary knowledge and conceptual understanding of bilingual and native English students in three treatment groups were compared. The study was conducted over a three month period. The three treatment groups consisted of (1) a control group using only the Science and Technology for Children, Plant Growth and Development unit, (2) the concept map treatment group, and (3) the dialogue journal treatment group. Student achievement was measured using a pretest and a posttest. Significant differences in the pretest and posttest scores were found for all three treatment groups. The concept map treatment group scored significantly higher than the dialogue journal and control groups on the posttest. The use of concept maps was found to be highly effective for both native English and bilingual students.
Hrepic, Zdeslav; Zollman, Dean A.; Rebello, N. Sanjay
We investigated introductory physics students' mental models of sound propagation. We used a phenomenographic method to analyze the data in the study. In addition to the scientifically accepted Wave model, students used the "Entity" model to describe the propagation of sound. In this latter model sound is a self-standing entity, different from the…
This quantitative study explored the impact of literacy integration in a science inquiry classroom involving the use of science notebooks on the academic language development and conceptual understanding of students from ...
Forder, S. E.; Welstead, C.; Pritchard, M.
A glance through the Harvard Business Review reveals many suggestions and research pieces reviewing sales and marketing techniques. Most educators will be familiar with the notion that making accurate first impressions and being responsive, whilst maintaining pace is critical to engaging an audience. There are lessons to be learnt from industry that can significantly impact upon our teaching. Eisenkraft, in his address to the NSTA, proposed four essential questions. This presentation explores one of those questions: 'Why should I care?', and discusses why this question is crucial for engaging students by giving a clear purpose for developing their scientific understanding. Additionally, this presentation explores how The ISF Academy has adapted the NGSS, using the 14 Grand Engineering Challenges and the IB MYP, to provide current, authentic global contexts, in order to give credibility to the concepts, understandings and skills being learnt. The provision of global contexts across units and within lessons supports a platform for students to have the freedom to explore their own sense of social responsibility. The Science Department believes that planning lessons with tasks that elaborate on the student's new conceptualisations, has helped to transfer the student's new understanding into social behavior beyond the classroom. Furthermore, extension tasks have been used to transfer conceptual understanding between different global contexts.
This study investigated seventh grade learners' decision making about genetic engineering concepts and applications. A social network analyses supported by technology tracked changes in student understanding with a focus on social and conceptual influences. Results indicated that several social and conceptual mechanisms potentially affected how…
Bilgin, Ibrahim; Geban, Omer
The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of the cooperative learning approach based on conceptual change conditions over traditional instruction on 10th grade students' conceptual understanding and achievement of computational problems related to chemical equilibrium concepts. The subjects of this study consisted of 87 tenth grade…
Ugulu, Ilker; Yorek, Nurettin; Baslar, Suleyman
The objective of this study is to analyze and determine whether a developed recycling education program would lead to a positive change in the conceptual understanding of ecological concepts associated with matter cycles by high school students. The research was conducted on 68 high school 10th grade students (47 female and 21 male students). The…
Hill, M.; Sharma, M. D.; Johnston, H.
The use of online learning resources as core components of university science courses is increasing. Learning resources range from summaries, videos, and simulations, to question banks. Our study set out to develop, implement, and evaluate research-based online learning resources in the form of pre-lecture online learning modules (OLMs). The aim of this paper is to share our experiences with those using, or considering implementing, online learning resources. Our first task was to identify student learning issues in physics to base the learning resources on. One issue with substantial research is conceptual understanding, the other with comparatively less research is scientific representations (graphs, words, equations, and diagrams). We developed learning resources on both these issues and measured their impact. We created weekly OLMs which were delivered to first year physics students at The University of Sydney prior to their first lecture of the week. Students were randomly allocated to either a concepts stream or a representations stream of online modules. The programme was first implemented in 2013 to trial module content, gain experience and process logistical matters and repeated in 2014 with approximately 400 students. Two validated surveys, the Force and Motion Concept Evaluation (FMCE) and the Representational Fluency Survey (RFS) were used as pre-tests and post-tests to measure learning gains while surveys and interviews provided further insights. While both streams of OLMs produced similar positive learning gains on the FMCE, the representations-focussed OLMs produced higher gains on the RFS. Conclusions were triangulated with student responses which indicated that they have recognized the benefit of the OLMs for their learning of physics. Our study shows that carefully designed online resources used as pre-instruction can make a difference in students’ conceptual understanding and representational fluency in physics, as well as make them more aware of their learning processes. In particular, the representations-focussed modules offer more advantages.
Johnson, Karen Gabrielle; Galluzzo, Benjamin Jason
Mathematical modeling and directed learning groups were employed in a terminal mathematics course to encourage university students to conceptualize real-world mathematics problems. Multiple assessments were utilized to determine whether students' conceptual development is enhanced by participating in directed learning groups conducted in a…
Daubenmire, Paul L.
Much like a practiced linguist, expert chemists utilize the power and elegance of chemical symbols to understand what is happening at the atomic level and to manipulate atoms and molecules to effect an observable change at the macroscopic level. Unfortunately, beginning chemistry is often taught in a way that emphasizes memorizing the symbolic representations of equations and reactions without much opportunity to meaningfully connect the observable macroscopic phenomena with an understanding of the chemistry taking place at the atomic level. The compartmentalized manner of chemistry instruction in most chemistry classrooms further nullifies the efficacy of the triplet relationship to connect between macroscopic observations, symbolic representations, and atomic scale views. If symbolic representations are presented as the goal of instruction, rather than as the means to gain understanding, then students will be impaired in developing a coherent understanding of chemical principles. This dissertation describes the development and implementation of an interview study to examine how undergraduate students interpreted multiple representations of a chemical equilibrium. To establish a baseline of ideas, students first were coached to verbally generate successive representations. They were then cued to think about the chemistry occurring between atoms and ions at the molecular level. Next, an experiment involving a change in states of matter and color was performed which paralleled the symbolic representations. Through self-explanations and verbalizing of conjectures, students were encouraged to explore, interpret, and refine their understanding of the observations related to the chemical symbols presented to them. Finally, with the goal of fostering a deeper understanding of the process of equilibrium, a dynamic visualization of the molecular level was introduced as a tool for helping students connect these multiple representations. This study revealed that one way in which students develop conceptual understanding and resolve conflicts between different representations of the same phenomena is by verbalizing their ideas as a conjecture (as a verbal explanation to advance towards a hypothesis). Thus, it is proposed that symbolic representations are most effective viewed not as an end goal but as a bridge for connecting macroscopic, visible phenomena with what is occurring at the molecular, invisible level. When the focus on merely memorizing chemical equations and symbols is removed, students can gain a coherent understanding of the meaning available when multiple representations are viewed together.
This article describes the development and field test of the Sound Concept Inventory Instrument (SCII), designed to measure middle school students' concepts of sound. The instrument was designed based on known students' difficulties in understanding sound and the history of science related to sound and focuses on two main aspects of sound: sound has material properties, and sound has process properties. The final SCII consists of 71 statements that respondents rate as either true or false and also indicate their confidence on a five-point scale. Administration to 355 middle school students resulted in a Cronbach alpha of 0.906, suggesting a high reliability. In addition, the average percentage of students' answers to statements that associate sound with material properties is significantly higher than the average percentage of statements associating sound with process properties (p <0.001). The SCII is a valid and reliable tool that can be used to determine students' conceptions of sound.
Zacharia, Zacharias; Anderson, O. Roger
Investigates the effects of interactive computer-based simulations presented prior to inquiry-based laboratory experiments on students' conceptual understanding of mechanics, waves/optics, and thermal physics. Uses conceptual tests to assess conceptual understandings of each topic. Indicates that the use of the simulations improved students'…
Zacharia, Z. C.
The purpose of this study was to investigate value of combining Real Experimentation (RE) with Virtual Experimentation (VE) with respect to changes in students' conceptual understanding of electric circuits. To achieve this, a pre-post comparison study design was used that involved 88 undergraduate students. The participants were randomly assigned…
With the current focus in mathematics education on the importance of developing students' conceptual understanding, fluency with the language of mathematics, critical thinking, and working mathematically, teachers are constantly expected to design challenging and investigative tasks that can engage and motivate students in their learning of…
Niebert, Kai; Gropengießer, Harald
Over the last 20 years, science education studies have reported that there are very different understandings among students of science regarding the key aspects of climate change. We used the cognitive linguistic framework of experientialism to shed new light on this valuable pool of studies to identify the conceptual resources of understanding…
Al khawaldeh, Salem A.; Al Olaimat, Ali M.
The present study conducted to investigate the contribution of conceptual change texts, accompanied by concept mapping instruction to eleventh-grade students' understanding of cellular respiration concepts, and their retention of this understanding. Cellular respiration concepts test was developed as a result of examination of related literature…
Slater, Timothy F.; Lee, K. M.
Many different types of schematic diagrams are useful in helping students organize and internalize their developing understanding in introductory astronomy courses. These include Venn Diagrams, Flowcharts, Concept Maps, among others, which illustrate the relationships between astronomical objects and dynamic concepts. These conceptual framework diagrams have been incorporated into the NSF-funded ClassAction project. ClassAction is a collection of electronic materials designed to enhance the metacognitive skills of college and university introductory astronomy survey students by promoting interactive engagement and providing rapid feedback in a highly visual setting. The main effort is targeted at creating dynamic think-pair-share questions supported by simulations, animations, and visualizations to be projected in the lecture classroom. The infrastructure allows instructors to recast these questions into alternative forms based on their own pedagogical preferences and feedback from the class. The recourses can be easily selected from a FLASH computer database and are accompanied by outlines, graphics, and numerous simulations which the instructor can use to provide student feedback and, when necessary, remediation. ClassAction materials are publicly available online at URL: http://astro.unl.edu and is funded by NSF Grant #0404988.
Al Khawaldeh, Salem A.; Al Olaimat, Ali M.
The present study conducted to investigate the contribution of conceptual change texts, accompanied by concept mapping instruction to eleventh-grade students' understanding of cellular respiration concepts, and their retention of this understanding. Cellular respiration concepts test was developed as a result of examination of related literature and interviews with teachers regarding their observations of students' difficulties. The test was administrated as pre-test, post-test, and delayed post-test to a total of 70 eleventh-grade students in two classes of the same high school in an urban area, taught by the same teacher. The experimental group was a class of 34 students who received conceptual change texts accompanied by concept mapping instruction. A class of 36 students comprised the control group who received traditional instruction. Besides treatment, previous understanding and logical thinking ability were other independent variables involved in this study. The results showed that logical thinking, treatment, previous understanding of cellular respiration concepts each made a statistically significant contribution to the variation in students' understanding of cellular respiration concepts. The result also showed that conceptual change texts accompanied by concept mapping instruction was significantly better than traditional instruction in retention of this understanding.
Georgiou, H.; Sharma, M. D.
Encouraging ‘active learning’ in the large lecture theatre emerges as a credible recommendation for improving university courses, with reports often showing significant improvements in learning outcomes. However, the recommendations are based predominantly on studies undertaken in mechanics. We set out to examine those claims in the thermodynamics module of a large first year physics course with an established technique, called interactive lecture demonstrations (ILDs). The study took place at The University of Sydney, where four parallel streams of the thermodynamics module were divided into two streams that experienced the ILDs and two streams that did not. The programme was first implemented in 2011 to gain experience and refine logistical matters and repeated in 2012 with approximately 500 students. A validated survey, the thermal concepts survey, was used as pre-test and post-test to measure learning gains while surveys and interviews provided insights into what the ‘active learning’ meant from student experiences. We analysed lecture recordings to capture the time devoted to different activities in a lecture, including interactivity. The learning gains were in the ‘high gain’ range for the ILD streams and ‘medium gain’ for the other streams. The analysis of the lecture recordings showed that the ILD streams devoted significantly more time to interactivity while surveys and interviews showed that students in the ILD streams were thinking in deep ways. Our study shows that ILDs can make a difference in students’ conceptual understanding as well as their experiences, demonstrating the potential value-add that can be provided by investing in active learning to enhance lectures.
Pinarbasi, Tacettin; Canpolat, Nurtac; Bayrakceken, Samih; Geban, Omer
This study investigated the effect of conceptual change text-oriented instruction over traditional instruction on students' understanding of solution concepts (e.g., dissolving, solubility, factors affecting solubility, concentrations of solutions, types of solutions, physical properties of solutions) and their attitudes towards chemistry. The…
This qualitative case study examined how middle school science teachers conducted collaborative inquiry and reflection about students' conceptual understanding, and how individual teachers in the middle school science group acted and made reflections in response to their collaborative inquiry. It also examined external influences that affected the…
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of problem-based learning (PBL) on freshmen engineering students' beliefs about physics and physics learning (referred to as epistemological beliefs) and conceptual understanding of physics. The multiple-choice test of energy and momentum concepts and the Colorado learning attitudes about…
Mikkila-Erdmann, Mirjamaija; Sodervik, Ilona; Vilppu, Henna; Kaapa, Pekka; Olkinuora, Erkki
Medical students often have initial understanding concerning medical domains, such as the central cardiovascular system (CCVS), when they enter the study programme. These notions may to some extent be in conflict with scientific understanding, which can be seen as a challenge for medical teaching. Hence, the purpose of this study was to analyse…
Susanne Prediger & Lena Wessel - IEEM Dortmund, Germany Learning situations that concentrate on conceptual bilingual German-Turkish students deal with challenging tasks on complex relations of fractions by our schools (mostly children of immigrants in first to third generation) have to learn mathematics in another
This study investigated the effects of problem-based learning on students' beliefs about physics and physics learning and conceptual understanding of Newtonian mechanics. The study further examines the relationship between students' beliefs about physics and their conceptual understanding of mechanics concepts. Participants were 124 Turkish…
Gobert, Janice D.; Clement, John J.
Grade five students' (n=58) conceptual understanding of plate tectonics was measured by analysis of student-generated summaries and diagrams, and by posttest assessment of both the spatial/static and causal/dynamic aspects of the domain. The diagram group outperformed the summary and text-only groups on the posttest measures. Discusses the effects…
Southerland, Sherry A.; Abrams, Eleanor; Cummins, Catherine L.; Anzelmo, Julie
This study explores two differing perspectives of the nature of students' biological knowledge structures, conceptual frameworks, and p-prims. Students from four grade levels and from three regions of the United States were asked to explain a variety of biological phenomena. Students' responses to the interview probes were analyzed to describe 1) patterns in the nature of students' explanations across grade levels and interview probes, and 2) the consistency of students' explanations across individual interview probes and across the range of probes. The results were interpreted from both perspectives of knowledge structures. While definitive assertions supporting either perspective could not be made, each hypothesis was explored. Although the more prevalent description of student conceptions within a broader conceptual framework could not be discounted, the p-prim of need as a rationale for change was also found to offer a useful description of knowledge frameworks for this content area. The difficulties endemic to the use of biology for the study of basic knowledge structures are also discussed.
Jang, Jeong Yoon
This study was designed to investigate the impact of using a Structured Reading Framework within the Science Writing Heuristic approach on a summary writing task, and how this framework is related to the development of students' conceptual understanding in the summary writing task. A quasi-experimental design with sixth and seventh grade students taught by two teachers in the middle school was used. Each teacher had four classes with two classes using the Structured Reading Framework (treatment) and the other two classes used the original reading framework (control). A total of 170 students participated in the study, with 83 in the control group (four classes) and 87 in the treatment group (four classes). All students used the SWH student templates to guide their written work and completed these templates during the SWH investigations of each unit. After completing the SWH investigations, both groups of students were asked to complete the summary writing task at the end of each unit. This process was replicated for each of the two units. All student writing samples collected were scored using an analytical framework and scoring matrices developed for the study. A total of 588 writing samples were included in the statistical analysis. Results indicated that the treatment group who used the Structured Reading Framework performed significantly better on the Summary Writing task than the control group. The results suggest that the using of the Structured Reading Framework in prompting and guiding the reading activities within the SWH approach have an impact on the development of conceptual understanding. In addition, it appears that the Structured Reading Framework impacted the development of conceptual understanding in the Summary Writing task by providing a scaffold to assist students' knowledge construction.
McNeill, Katherine L.; Vaughn, Meredith Houle
This study investigates how the enactment of a climate change curriculum supports students' development of critical science agency, which includes students developing deep understandings of science concepts and the ability to take action at the individual and community levels. We examined the impact of a four to six week urban ecology curriculum…
Niaz, Mansoor; Aguilera, Damarys; Maza, Arelys; Liendo, Gustavo
Reports on a study aimed at facilitating freshman general chemistry students' understanding of atomic structure based on the work of Thomson, Rutherford, and Bohr. Hypothesizes that classroom discussions based on arguments/counterarguments of the heuristic principles on which these scientists based their atomic models can facilitate students'…
Kalman, Calvin S.
Students can have great difficulty reading scientific texts and trying to cope with the professor in the classroom. Part of the reason for students' difficulties is that for a student taking a science gateway course the language, ontology and epistemology of science are akin to a foreign culture. There is thus an analogy between such a student and an anthropologist spending time among a native group in some remote part of the globe. This brings us naturally to the subject of hermeneutics. It is through language that we attempt to understand an alien culture. The hermeneutical circle involves the interplay between our construct of the unfamiliar with our own outlook that deepens with each pass. It can be argued that for novice students to acquire a full understanding of scientific texts, they also need to pursue a recurrent construction of their comprehension of scientific concepts. In this paper it is shown how an activity, reflective-writing, can enhance students' understanding of concepts in their textbook by getting students to approach text in the manner of a hermeneutical circle. This is illustrated using studies made at three post-secondary institutions.
Chen, Ying-Chih; Hand, Brian; McDowell, Leah
This quasi-experimental and pre/posttest study was designed to examine whether fourth-grade students who engaged in collaboratively writing letters to 11th-grade students performed better on tests of conceptual understanding of a unit on force and motion than students who did not. The participants included 835 fourth-grade students and 416…
This study investigated the effects of problem-based learning on students' beliefs about physics and physics learning and conceptual understanding of Newtonian mechanics. The study further examines the relationship between students' beliefs about physics and their conceptual understanding of mechanics concepts. Participants were 124 Turkish university students (PBL = 55, traditional = 69) enrolled in a calculus-based introductory physics class. Students' beliefs about physics and physics learning and their physics conceptual understanding were measured with the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey (CLASS) and the Force Concept Inventory (FCI), respectively. Repeated measures analysis of variance of how PBL influence beliefs and conceptual understanding were performed. The PBL group showed significantly higher conceptual learning gains in FCI than the traditional group. PBL approach showed no influence on students' beliefs about physics; both groups displayed similar beliefs. A significant positive correlation was found between beliefs and conceptual understanding. Students with more expert-like beliefs at the beginning of the semester were more likely to obtain higher conceptual understanding scores at the end of the semester. Suggestions are presented regarding the implementation of the PBL approach.
Olympiou, Georgios; Zacharia, Zacharias C.
This study aimed to investigate the effect of experimenting with physical manipulatives (PM), virtual manipulatives (VM), and a blended combination of PM and VM on undergraduate students' understanding of concepts in the domain of "Light and Color." A pre-post comparison study design was used for the purposes of this study that involved 70…
Hilton, Annette; Nichols, Kim
Understanding bonding is fundamental to success in chemistry. A number of alternative conceptions related to chemical bonding have been reported in the literature. Research suggests that many alternative conceptions held by chemistry students result from previous teaching; if teachers are explicit in the use of representations and explain their…
Eight physical science textbooks were analyzed for coverage on acids, bases, and neutralization. At the level of the text, clarity and coherence of statements were investigated. The conceptual framework for this topic was represented in a concept map which was used as a coding tool for tracing concepts and links present in textbooks. Cognitive…
Rundgren, Carl-Johan; Hirsch, Richard; Chang Rundgren, Shu-Nu; Tibell, Lena A. E.
This study examines how students explain their conceptual understanding of protein function using visualizations. Thirteen upper secondary students, four tertiary students (studying chemical biology), and two experts were interviewed in semi-structured interviews. The interviews were structured around 2D illustrations of proteins and an animated…
Smith, Trenton John
Pre-service secondary science individuals, future middle or high school instructors training to become teachers, along with both Honors and general first year undergraduate biology students were investigated to determine how they reason about and understand two core topics in Biology: matter and energy flow through biological systems and evolution by natural selection. Diagnostic Question Clusters were used to assess student understanding of the processes by which matter and energy flow through biological systems over spatial scales, from the atomic-molecular to ecosystem levels. Key concepts and identified misconceptions were examined over topics of evolution by natural selection using the multiple-choice Concept Inventory of Natural Selection (CINS) and open-response Assessing COntextual Reasoning about Natural Selection (ACORNS). Pre-service teachers used more scientifically based reasoning than the undergraduate students over the topics of matter and energy flow. The Honors students used more scientific and less improper informal reasoning than the general undergraduates over matter and energy flow. Honors students performed best on both the CINS and ACORNS items over natural selection, while the general undergraduates scored the lowest on the CINS, and the pre-service instructors scored lowest on the ACORNS. Overall, there remain a large proportion of students not consistently using scientific reasoning about these two important concepts, even in future secondary science teachers. My findings are similar to those of other published studies using the same assessments. In general, very few biology students at the college level use scientific reasoning that exhibits deep conceptual understanding. A reason for this could be that instructors fail to recognize deficiencies in student reasoning; they assume their students use principle-based reasoning. Another reason could be that principle-based reasoning is very difficult and our teaching approaches in college promote memorization of content rather than conceptual change. My findings are significant to the work and progression of concept inventories in biology education, as well as to the instructors of students at all levels of biology curriculum, and those of future science teachers.
Holme, Thomas A.; Luxford, Cynthia J.; Brandriet, Alexandra
Among the many possible goals that instructors have for students in general chemistry, the idea that they will better understand the conceptual underpinnings of the science is certainly important. Nonetheless, identifying with clarity what exemplifies student success at achieving this goal is hindered by the challenge of clearly articulating what…
Wallace, Colin S.; Prather, Edward E.; Duncan, Douglas K.
This is the first in a series of five articles describing a national study of general education astronomy students' conceptual and reasoning difficulties with cosmology. In this paper, we describe the process by which we designed four new surveys to assess general education astronomy students' conceptual cosmology knowledge. These surveys focused…
This article describes the development and field test of the Sound Concept Inventory Instrument (SCII), designed to measure middle school students' concepts of sound. The instrument was designed based on known students' difficulties in understanding sound and the history of science related to sound and focuses on two main aspects of…
Chemistry as a subject is difficult to learn and understand, due in part to the specific language used by practitioners in their professional and scientific communications. The language and ways of representing chemical interactions have been grouped into three modes of representation used by chemistry instructors, and ultimately by students in understanding the discipline. The first of these three modes of representation is the symbolic mode, which uses a standard set of rules for chemical nomenclature set out by the IUPAC. The second mode of representation is that of microscopic, which depicts chemical compounds as discrete units made up of atoms and molecules, with a particular ratio of atoms to a molecule or formula unit. The third mode of representation is macroscopic, what can be seen, experienced, or measured directly, like ice melting or a color change during a chemical reaction. Recent evidence suggests that chemistry instructors can assist their students in making the connections between the modes of representation by incorporating all three modes into their teaching and discussions, and overtly connecting the modes during instruction. In this research, chemistry teachers at the community college level were observed over the course of an entire semester, to evaluate their instructional use of mode of representation. The students of these teachers were tested prior to and after a semester's worth of instruction, and changes in the basic chemistry conceptual knowledge of these students were compared. Additionally, a subset of the overall population that was pre- and post-tested was interviewed at length using demonstrations of chemical phenomenon that students were asked to translate using all three modes of representation. Analysis of the instruction of three community college teachers shows there were significant differences among these teachers in their instructional use of mode of representation. Additionally, the students of these three teachers had differential and statistically significant achievement over the course of the semester. This research supports results of other similar studies, as well as providing some unexpected results from the students involved.
Celikten, Oksan; Ipekcioglu, Sevgi; Ertepinar, Hamide; Geban, Omer
The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of the conceptual change oriented instruction through cooperative learning (CCICL) and traditional science instruction (TI) on 4th grade students' understanding of earth and sky concepts and their attitudes toward earth and sky concepts. In this study, 56 fourth grade students from the…
Ellis, Jennifer T.
This study was designed to evaluate the effects of a proprietary software program on students' conceptual and visual understanding of dimensional analysis. The participants in the study were high school general chemistry students enrolled in two public schools with different demographics (School A and School B) in the Chattanooga, Tennessee,…
The purpose of this study is to assess students' conceptual learning of electricity and magnetism and examine how these conceptions, beliefs about physics, and quantitative problem-solving skills would change after peer instruction (PI). The Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism (CSEM), Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey…
Kalman, Calvin S.
Students can have great difficulty reading scientific texts and trying to cope with the professor in the classroom. Part of the reason for students' difficulties is that for a student taking a science gateway course the language, ontology and epistemology of science are akin to a foreign culture. There is thus an analogy between such a student and…
Jauhiainen, Johanna; Koponen, Ismo T.; Lavonen, Jari
Students' conceptual understanding of Newton's third law has been the subject of numerous studies. These studies have often pointed out the importance of addressing the concept of interaction in teaching Newtonian mechanics. In this study, teachers were interviewed in order to examine how they understand interaction and use it in their…
Larkin, Alan; Phillips, Keith
This book is intended to assist trade and industrial education teachers in teaching mathematical trade topics in a way that will increase students' conceptual understanding of them. The first chapter provides an overview of the book's contents and suggests ways of using it. The next five chapters address the following aspects of using principles…
Chemical stoichiometry is a conceptual framework that encompasses other concepts such as the mole, writing of chemical equations in word and representative form, balancing of equations and the equilibrium concept. The underlying concepts enable students to understand relationships among entities of matter and required amounts for use when…
Sanger, Michael J.
A total of 156 students were asked to provide free-response balanced chemical equations for a classic multiple-choice particulate-drawing question first used by Nurrenbern and Pickering. The balanced equations and the number of students providing each equation are reported in this study. The most common student errors included a confusion between…
Waldrip, Bruce; Prain, Vaughan; Sellings, Peter
The development of students' reasoning and argumentation skills in school science is currently attracting strong research interest. In this paper we report on a study where we aimed to investigate student learning on the topic of motion when students, guided by their teacher, responded to a sequence of representational challenges in which their…
Gobert, Janice D.; O'Dwyer, Laura; Horwitz, Paul; Buckley, Barbara C.; Levy, Sharona Tal; Wilensky, Uri
This research addresses high school students' understandings of the nature of models, and their interaction with model-based software in three science domains, namely, biology, physics, and chemistry. Data from 736 high school students' understandings of models were collected using the Students' Understanding of Models in Science (SUMS) survey as…
Grimellini-Tomasini, N.; And Others
Reviews research on student learning about collisions in physics instruction. Focus is placed on the main differences between the spontaneous perspective in describing/interpreting collisions and the disciplinary perspective based upon the energy and linear momentum conservation laws. (PR)
Ozkaya, Ali Riza; Uce, Musa; Saricayir, Hakan; Sahin, Musa
The results of previous educational research raise some questions about the efficacy of conventional teaching strategies and point to a need for using teaching strategies that explicitly take into account misconceptions students bring to the classes or acquire during the teaching-learning process. Accordingly, this article presents efforts to…
With the release of the Next Generation Science Standards, high school chemistry teachers are now pondering the implications of their recommendations for their teaching. They may agree that traditional instruction, as the Framework points out, "emphasizes discrete facts with a focus on breadth over depth, and does not provide students with…
Nantawanit, Nantawan; Panijpan, Bhinyo; Ruenwongsa, Pintip
Most students think animals are more interesting than plants as a study topic believing that plants are inferior to animals because they are passive and unable to respond to external challenges, particularly biological invaders such as microorganisms and insect herbivores. The purpose of this study was to develop an inquiry-based learning unit,…
The aim of the work presented here was to devise an activity associated with factors affecting boiling points. The intervention used a four-step constructivist-based teaching strategy, which was subsequently evaluated by a cohort of students. Data collection consisted of application of a purpose designed questionnaire consisting of four open-ended…
Analyzes narrative essays--stories of rock formation--written by pre-service elementary school teachers. Reports startling misconceptions among preservice teachers on pebbles that grow, human involvement in rock formation, and sedimentary rocks forming as puddles as dry up, even though these students had completed a college level course on Earth…
Ernst, Jeremy V.; Clark, Aaron C.
In 2009, the North Carolina Virtual Public Schools worked with researchers at the William and Ida Friday Institute to produce and evaluate the use of game creation by secondary students as a means for learning content related to career awareness in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines, with particular emphasis in…
Butler, Kyle A.; Lumpe, Andrew
This study was designed to theoretically articulate and empirically assess the role of computer scaffolds. In this project, several examples of educational software were developed to scaffold the learning of students performing high level cognitive activities. The software used in this study, Artemis, focused on scaffolding the learning of…
Donovan, Jenny; Venville, Grady
The new Australian Curriculum ignites debate about science content appropriate for primary school children. Abstract genetics concepts such as genes and DNA are still being avoided in primary school, yet research has shown that, by age 10, many students have heard of DNA and/or genes. Scientific concepts appear in the mass media, but primary…
This study aimed to develop the small-scale experiments involving electrochemistry and the galvanic cell model kit featuring the sub-microscopic level. The small-scale experiments in conjunction with the model kit were implemented based on the 5E inquiry learning approach to enhance students' conceptual understanding of electrochemistry. The…
Çinar, Derya; Bayraktar, Sule
The aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of Argumentation Based Science Teaching on 5th grade students' conceptual understanding of the subjects related to "Matter and Change". This research is a qualitative research and its design is a multiple (compare) case study. In this study, semi-structured interviews related to the…
Çinar, Derya; Bayraktar, Sule
The aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of Argumentation Based Science Teaching on 5th grade students' conceptual understanding of the subjects related to "Matter and Change". This research is a qualitative research and its design is a multiple (compare) case study. In this study, semi-structured interviews related to the…
Freidenreich, Hava Bresler; Duncan, Ravit Golan; Shea, Nicole
Genetics is the cornerstone of modern biology and a critical aspect of scientific literacy. Research has shown, however, that many high school graduates lack fundamental understandings in genetics necessary to make informed decisions about issues and emerging technologies in this domain, such as genetic screening, genetically modified foods, etc.…
Lee, Yeung Chung; Kwok, Ping Wai
Children are familiar with situations in which air resistance plays an important role, such as parachuting. However, it is not known whether they have any understanding about the concept of air resistance, how air resistance affects falling objects, and the differential effect it has on different objects. The literature reveals that there are…
Physics educators around the world often need reliable diagnostic materials to measure students' understanding of physics concept in high school. The purpose of this study is to evaluate a new diagnostic tool on High School Optics concept. Test of Conceptual Understanding on High School Optics (TOCUSO) consists of 25 conceptual items that…
Alao, Solomon; Guthrie, John T.
The relationships among prior knowledge, learning strategy use, interest, learning goals, and conceptual understanding were studied with 72 fifth graders from 3 science classrooms. In September 1996 students completed a knowledge test designed to assess their prior knowledge and conceptual understanding of ecological concepts (plant and animal…
Hsu, Ying-Shao; Wu, Hsin-Kai; Hwang, Fu-Kwun
The purpose of this study is to understand in what ways a technology-enhanced learning (TEL) environment supports learning about the causes of the seasons. The environment was designed to engage students in five cognitive phases: Contextualisation, Sense making, Exploration, Modeling, and Application. Seventy-five high school students participated…
Milne, Catherine; Kirch, Susan; Basu, Sreyashi Jhumki; Leou, Mary; Fraser-Abder, Pamela
We engage in a metalogue based on eight papers in this issue of Cultural Studies of Science Education that review the state of conceptual change research and its possible affect on the teaching and learning of science. Our discussion addresses three aspects of conceptual change research: theoretical, methodological, and practical, as we discuss conceptual change research in light of our experiences as science educators. Finally, we examine the implications of conceptual change research for the teachers and students with whom we work.
Chemistry as a subject is difficult to learn and understand, due in part to the specific language used by practitioners in their professional and scientific communications. The language and ways of representing chemical interactions have been grouped into three modes of representation used by chemistry instructors, and ultimately by students in…
Unterbruner, U.; Hilberg, S.; Schiffl, I.
Groundwater is a crucial topic in education for sustainable development. Nevertheless, international studies with students of different ages have shown that the basic hydrogeological concept of groundwater defined as water within porous and permeable rocks is not an established everyday notion. Building upon international research a multimedia learning program ("Between the raincloud and the tap") was developed. Insights from the fields of conceptual change research, multimedia research, and the Model of Educational Reconstruction were specifically implemented. Two studies were conducted with Austrian pupils (7th grade) and teacher training students from the fields of biology and geography in order to ascertain the effectiveness of the learning program. Using a quasi-experimental research design, the participants' conceptions and knowledge regarding groundwater were determined in a pre- and post-test. The pupils and students greatly profited from independently working through the learning software. Their knowledge of groundwater increased significantly compared to the control group and there was a highly significant increase in the number of scientifically correct notions of groundwater. The acceptance of the program was also generally very high. The results speak for the fact that theory-guided multimedia learning programs can play an important role in the transfer of research results into the classroom, particularly in science education.
Suping, Shanah M.
This ERIC Digest concerns the constructed knowledge (also called nave knowledge or prior conceptions) held by students and the changes required to alter students' framework to understand and believe the true science concepts involved. This process is called conceptual change. Theoretical framework of conceptual change, what exactly is conceptual…
Ryu, Suna; Han, Yuhwha; Paik, Seoung-Hey
The present study explores how engaging in modeling practice, along with argumentation, leverages students' epistemic and conceptual understanding in an afterschool science/math class of 16 tenth graders. The study also explores how students used mobile Internet phones (smart phones) productively to support modeling practices. As the modeling practices became more challenging, student discussion occurred more often, from what to model to providing explanations for the phenomenon. Students came to argue about evidence that supported their model and how the model could explain target and related phenomena. This finding adds to the literature that modeling practice can help students improve conceptual understanding of subject knowledge as well as epistemic understanding.
Wallace, Colin S.; Prather, Edward E.; Duncan, Douglas K.
This is the third of five papers detailing our national study of general education astronomy students' conceptual and reasoning difficulties with cosmology. In this paper, we use item response theory to analyze students' responses to three out of the four conceptual cosmology surveys we developed. The specific item response theory model we use is…
Wallace, Colin S.; Prather, Edward E.; Duncan, Douglas K.
This is the second of five papers detailing our national study of general education astronomy students' conceptual and reasoning difficulties with cosmology. This article begins our quantitative investigation of the data. We describe how we scored students' responses to four conceptual cosmology surveys, and we present evidence for the inter-rater…
Butler, Malcolm B.; Nesbit, Catherine
The purpose of this article is to provide teachers with strategies for improving students' writing and deepening their conceptual understanding through the use of science notebooks. The strategies include using various resources and providing a variety of feedback opportunities for students. A sample science investigation and an accompanying…
Alao, Solomon; Guthrie, John T.
Examined the relationship between prior knowledge, learning-strategy use, interest, learning goals, and conceptual understanding among fifth-grade science students. Results of student knowledge tests and a self-report measure of learning goals, interest, and strategy use indicated that the study variables were positively related to each other and…
Rebello, Carina M.; Siegel, Marcelle A.; Witzig, Stephen B.; Freyermuth, Sharyn K.; McClure, Bruce A.
The purpose of this investigation was to explore students' epistemic beliefs and conceptual understanding of biotechnology. Epistemic beliefs can influence reasoning, how individuals evaluate information, and informed decision making abilities. These skills are important for an informed citizenry that will participate in debates regarding areas in science such as biotechnology. We report on an in-depth case study analysis of three undergraduate, non-science majors in a biotechnology course designed for non-biochemistry majors. We selected participants who performed above average and below average on the first in-class exam. Data from multiple sources—interviews, exams, and a concept instrument—were used to construct (a) individual profiles and (b) a cross-case analysis of our participants' conceptual development and epistemic beliefs from two different theoretical perspectives—Women's Ways of Knowing and the Reflective Judgment Model. Two independent trained researchers coded all case records independently for both theoretical perspectives, with resultant initial Cohen's kappa values above .715 (substantial agreement), and then reached consensus on the codes. Results indicate that a student with more sophisticated epistemology demonstrated greater conceptual understandings at the end of the course than a student with less sophisticated epistemology, even though the latter performed higher initially. Also a student with a less sophisticated epistemology and low initial conceptual performance does not demonstrate gains in their overall conceptual understanding. Results suggest the need for instructional interventions fostering epistemological development of learners in order to facilitate their conceptual growth.
Despite the advances made in various fields, women are still considered as minorities in the fields of science and mathematics. There is a gender gap regarding women's participation and achievement in physics. Self-efficacy and attitudes and beliefs toward physics have been identified as predictors of students' performance on conceptual surveys in physics courses. The present study, which used two-way analysis of variance and multiple linear regression analyses at a community college in California, revealed there is no gender gap in achievement between male and female students in physics courses. Furthermore, there is an achievement gap between students who are enrolled in algebra-based and calculus-based physics courses. The findings indicate that attitudes and beliefs scores can be used as predictors of students' performance on conceptual surveys in physics courses. However, scores of self-efficacy cannot be used as predictors of students' performance on conceptual surveys in physics courses.
Rebello, Carina M.; Siegel, Marcelle A.; Witzig, Stephen B.; Freyermuth, Sharyn K.; McClure, Bruce A.
The purpose of this investigation was to explore students' epistemic beliefs and conceptual understanding of biotechnology. Epistemic beliefs can influence reasoning, how individuals evaluate information, and informed decision making abilities. These skills are important for an informed citizenry that will participate in debates regarding areas in…
Songer, Catherine J.; Mintzes, Joel J.
Explores and documents the frequencies of conceptual difficulties confronted by college students (n=200) seeking to understand the basic processes of cellular respiration. Findings suggest that novices harbor a wide range of conceptual difficulties that constrain their understanding of cellular respiration and many of these conceptual problems…
Gericke, Niklas; Hagberg, Mariana; Jorde, Doris
In this study we investigate students' ability to discern conceptual variation and the use of multiple models in genetics when reading content-specific excerpts from biology textbooks. Using the history and philosophy of science as our reference, we were able to develop a research instrument allowing students themselves to investigate the…
Wei, Silin; Liu, Xiufeng; Wang, Zuhao; Wang, Xingqiao
Research suggests that difficulty in making connections among three levels of chemical representations--macroscopic, submicroscopic, and symbolic--is a primary reason for student alternative conceptions of chemistry concepts, and computer modeling is promising to help students make the connections. However, no computer modeling-based assessment…
Ryu, Suna; Han, Yuhwha; Paik, Seoung-Hey
The present study explores how engaging in modeling practice, along with argumentation, leverages students' epistemic and conceptual understanding in an afterschool science/math class of 16 tenth graders. The study also explores how students used mobile Internet phones (smart phones) productively to support modeling practices. As the modeling…
Moore, Jacob P.
The purpose of this study is to explore the feasibility and effectiveness of a scalable concept map based navigation system for a digital textbook. A literature review has been conducted to identify possible methods to promote conceptual understanding in the context of a digital textbook, and these hypothesized solutions will be evaluated through…
Rasila, Antti; Malinen, Jarmo; Tiitu, Hannu
We consider two complementary aspects of mathematical skills, i.e. "procedural fluency" and "conceptual understanding," from a point of view that is related to modern e-learning environments and computer-based assessment. Pedagogical background of teaching mathematics is discussed, and it is proposed that the traditional book…
Dagli, Ümmühan Yesil; Halat, Erdogan
This study explored 5-6 year-old children's conceptual understanding of one geometric shape, the triangle. It focused on whether children could draw a triangle from memory, and identify triangles of different types, sizes, and orientations. The data were collected from 82 children attending state preschool programs through a one-on-one interview,…
This action research study examined a small cross-section of a Texas public school population. Participants were kindergarten through third grade students enrolled in the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program who were pulled out of their general classroom to receive English support within the content area of science. This study looked at how effective a hands-on learning experience using a schoolyard garden enhanced the academic language and science content of the participants. The study began in mid-March and concluded at the end of April with each group receiving 40 minutes of instruction five days a week. Each group consisted of a Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced/Advanced High student for a total of 12 participants. Four forms of data were used in this study: archival, pre-test, post-test, and journal. Rubrics were used to analyze individual students' level of academic language before and after the study. The results illustrate that the younger students (kindergarten and first grade) descriptions were very basic and concrete while the older students had more accurate and descriptive responses. Upon completion of this research, it was determined that the usage of a schoolyard garden compliments both the acquisition of academic language and the increase in science content knowledge.
McNeal, Karen Sue
research strands which contribute to the scientific and pedagogical understanding of complex Earth systems. In the first strand, a method that characterizes volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as ecological proxies of soil microbial ecosystems was validated...
Maryland at College Park, University of
. In section II, I present results on students' understanding of Newton's laws of motion and force for each understanding of physics. One of the main goals of this dissertation is to see if students taught with the three of the three research-based curricula as well as for traditional instruction for comparison. To determine
Ross, Pauline; Tronson, Deidre; Ritchie, Raymond J.
Biology students in their first year at university have difficulty understanding the abstract concepts of photosynthesis. The traditional didactic lecture followed by practical exercises that show various macroscopic aspects of photosynthesis often do not help the students visualise or understand the submicroscopic (molecular-level) reactions that…
Jaakkola, Tomi; Nurmi, Sami; Veermans, Koen
The aim of this experimental study was to compare learning outcomes of students using a simulation alone (simulation environment) with outcomes of those using a simulation in parallel with real circuits (combination environment) in the domain of electricity, and to explore how learning outcomes in these environments are mediated by implicit (only…
Yadav, Aman; Vinh, Megan; Shaver, Gregory M.; Meckl, Peter; Firebaugh, Stephanie
Recently, there has been a push within engineering curricula to adopt more learner-centered pedagogies, such as case-based instruction. Case-based instruction has been hypothesized to make the curriculum more relevant and motivating for students by pushing them to integrate the concepts they have learned with other experiences. The current study…
Walker, Joi Phelps; Sampson, Victor; Grooms, Jonathon; Anderson, Brittany; Zimmerman, Carol O.
This article describes a new instructional model called Argument-Driven Inquiry (ADI). This model is designed to promote student engagement in processes of investigation design and scientific argumentation. In this study, the ADI instructional model is compared with a more traditional approach to instruction across 16 laboratory sections of…
Azevedo, Roger; Guthrie, John T.; Seibert, Diane
This study examines the role of self-regulated learning (SRL) in facilitating students' shifts to more sophisticated mental models of the circulatory system as indicated by both performance and process data. We began with Winne and colleagues' information processing model of SRL (Winne, 2001; Winne & Hadwin, 1998) and used it to examine how…
Effects of Problem-Based Learning with Web-Anchored Instruction in Nanotechnology on the Science Conceptual Understanding, the Attitude towards Science, and the Perception of Science in Society of Elementary Students
Yurick, Karla Anne
This study explored the effects of Problem-Based Leaning (PBL) with web-anchored instruction in nanotechnology on the science conceptual understanding, the attitude towards science, and the perception of science in society of elementary students. A mixed-methods approach was used. Subjects (N=46) participated in the study for approximately two…
Teachers of science-based education in Malaysian secondary schools, especially those in the field of physics, often find their students facing huge difficulties in dealing with conceptual ideas in physics, resulting thus in a lack of interest towards the subject. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the Brain-Based Teaching…
Howard, Kristen E.; Brown, Shane A.; Chung, Serena H.; Jobson, B. Thomas; VanReken, Timothy M.
Research has shown that high school and college students have a lack of conceptual understanding of global warming, ozone, and the greenhouse effect. Most research in this area used survey methodologies and did not include concepts of atmospheric chemistry and ozone formation. This study investigates college students' understandings of atmospheric…
This article reports on a classroom-based case study of a group of six Year 10 students, within a class of 23 students. The study implemented constructivist-informed teaching and learning approaches within a classroom setting in the topic of optics and documented any changes in the conceptual understanding students had about seven central concepts…
Zacharia, Zacharias C.; de Jong, Ton
This study investigates whether Virtual Manipulatives (VM) within a Physical Manipulatives (PM)-oriented curriculum affect conceptual understanding of electric circuits and related experimentation processes. A pre-post comparison study randomly assigned 194 undergraduates in an introductory physics course to one of five conditions: three…
Supasorn, Saksri; Promarak, Vinich
The main purpose of this study was to enhance student understanding of the scientific concepts of chemical reaction rate. Forty-four grade 11 students were the target group. The treatment tools were seven learning plans of 5E inquiry incorporated with an analogy learning approach during 15 hours of class time. In each learning plan, the students…
Eisen, Yehudit; Stavy, Ruth
Reported are the differences in the understanding of concepts involved in photosynthesis and its role in ecology between students who had studied advanced biology and those who had not. Reports that the less experienced students had a poorer understanding of autotrophic respiration and energy aspects of photosynthesis. (CW)
Dumais, Nancy; Hasni, Abdelkrim
Understanding real-life issues such as influenza epidemiology may be of particular interest to the development of scientific knowledge and initiation of conceptual changes about viruses and their life cycles for high school students. The goal of this research project was to foster the development of adolescents' conceptual understanding of viruses…
Wallace, Colin S.; Prather, Edward E.; Duncan, Douglas K.
This is the final paper in a five-paper series describing our national study of the teaching and learning of cosmology in general education astronomy college-level courses. A significant portion of this work was dedicated to the development of five new "Lecture-Tutorials" that focus on addressing the conceptual and reasoning difficulties that our…
Wiesman, Jeff L.
Students enrolled in a middle school prealgebra or algebra course often struggle to conceptualize and understand the meaning of radical notation when it is introduced. For example, although it is important for students to approximate the decimal value of a number such as [square root of] 30 and estimate the value of a square root in the form of…
Gillies, Robyn M.; Nichols, Kim; Khan, Asaduzzaman
Teaching students to use and interpret representations in science is critically important if they are to become scientifically literate and learn how to communicate their understandings and learning in science. This study involved 248 students (119 boys and 129 girls) from 26 grade 6 teachers' classes in nine primary schools in Brisbane,…
Learning quantum mechanics is challenging for many students. We are investigating the difficulties that upper-level students have in learning quantum mechanics. To help improve student understanding of quantum concepts, we are developing quantum interactive learning tutorials (QuILTs) and tools for peer-instruction. Many of the QuILTs employ computer simulations to help students visualize and develop better intuition about quantum phenomena. We will discuss the common students' difficulties and research-based tools we are developing to bridge the gap between quantitative and conceptual aspects of quantum mechanics and help students develop a solid grasp of quantum concepts. Support from the National Science Foundation is gratefully acknowledged.
Karpudewan, Mageswary; Treagust, David F.; Mocerino, Mauro; Won, Mihye; Chandrasegaran, A. L.
This study investigated the year 12 students' (N = 56) understanding of chemical equilibrium concepts after instruction using two conceptual tests, the "Chemical Equilibrium Conceptual Test 1" ("CECT-1") consisting of nine two-tier multiple-choice items and the "Chemical Equilibrium Conceptual Test 2"…
Lenning, Oscar T.
Pilot study compares characteristics of forty students who committed misdemeanors with a control group, in hopes that understanding them better will lead to more effective counseling practices. Chi-square analysis tables included. Study basis of paper presented at APGA, Detroit, 1968. (CJ)
This study purposed to determine the effect of an endogenously designed instructional game on conceptual understanding of the associative and distributive properties of multiplication. Additional this study sought to investigate if performance on measures of conceptual understanding taken prior to and after game play could serve as predictors of…
Vincent, Dusti Jean
Instructing students within a curriculum framework based on conceptual understanding requires a shift from a lecture-style, teacher-centered delivery method to one that is student-centered and inquiry-driven. A challenge with this shift is holding students accountable to preparing for course materials so that class time can be spent exploring the content in more depth through class discussions, experiential and laboratory exercises, and modeling. Three components were implemented in an AP Biology classroom of 39 students to increase engagement and accountability. These components were short readings with corresponding tutorials, formative assessments called ConcepTests, and reflective writing. Student participation in these components was measured. Conceptual understanding of biology was evaluated with a pre-test at the beginning of the term and measured again with a post-test. A Project-Based Learning (PBL) assessment was also implemented to further engage students and provide a way for students to apply their understanding to solving a real-world problem. Students demonstrated significant gains in conceptual understanding through the concept and PBL assessment. Participation in the components ranged from 73% to 86%, but it was difficult to show a positive correlation between participation and conceptual understanding.
The aims of this cross-grade study were (1) to determine the level of understanding of energy concepts of students at different academic grades and the differences in understanding between these grades and (2) to analyse the conceptual development of these students. Two hundred and forty-three students at 3 different levels (high school,…
Tzur, Ron; Clark, Matthew R.
This article presents playful activities for fostering students' conceptual understanding of angle--a root concept in mathematics--that revolve around the Mathematical Merry-Go-Round game. The authors focus on activities for two reasons. On one hand, NCTM's Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (2000) stresses the central role of student…
Panasuk, Regina M.
Algebra students may often demonstrate a certain degree of proficiency when manipulating algebraic expressions and verbalizing their behaviors. Do these abilities imply conceptual understanding? What is a reliable indicator that would provide educators with a relatively trustworthy and consistent measure to identify whether students learn…
Baser, Mustafa; Geban, Omer
This study investigated the differential effects of two modes of instructional program (conceptual change oriented and traditionally designed) and gender difference on students' understanding of heat and temperature concepts, and their attitudes toward science as a school subject. The subjects of this study consisted of 72 seventh grade students…
Dorko, Allison; Speer, Natasha M.
Researchers have documented difficulties that elementary school students have in understanding volume. Despite its importance in higher mathematics, we know little about college students' understanding of volume. This study investigated calculus students' understanding of volume. Clinical interview transcripts and written responses to volume…
In recent years, biodiversity has received a great deal of attention worldwide, especially in environmental education. The reasons for this attention are the increase of human activities on biodiversity and environmental problems. The purpose of this study is to investigate biology student teachers' conceptual frameworks regarding biodiversity.…
Furio-Mas, Carles; Calatayud, Maria-Luisa; Barcenas, Sergio L.
By the end of their high school studies, students should be able to understand macroscopic and sub-microscopic conceptualization of acid-base behavior and the relationship between these conceptual models. The aim of this article is to ascertain whether grade-12 students have sufficient background knowledge to explain the properties of acids,…
Ford, Michael J.; Wargo, Brian M.
This article draws on M. M. Bakhtin's (1981) notion of dialogism to articulate what it means to understand a scientific idea. In science, understanding an idea is both conceptual and epistemic and is exhibited by an ability to use it in explanation and argumentation. Some distillation of these activities implies that dialogic understanding of a…
Background Since Goffman’s seminal work on psychiatric institutions, deinstitutionalization has become a leading term in the psychiatric debate. It described the process of closure or downsizing of large psychiatric hospitals and the establishment of alternative services in the community. Yet, there is a lack of clarity on what exactly the concept of institutionalization means in present-day psychiatry. This review aims to identify the meaning of psychiatric institutionalization since the early 1960s to present-day. Method A conceptual review of institutionalization in psychiatry was conducted. Thematic analysis was used to synthesize the findings. Results Four main themes were identified in conceptualizing institutionalization: bricks and mortar of care institutions; policy and legal frameworks regulating care; clinical responsibility and paternalism in clinician-patient relationships; and patients’ adaptive behavior to institutionalized care. Conclusions The concept of institutionalization in psychiatry reflects four distinct themes. All themes have some relevance for the contemporary debate on how psychiatric care should develop and on the role of institutional care in psychiatry. PMID:23773398
Brown, Bryan A.; Kloser, Matt
This project explores "conceptual continuity" as a framework for understanding students' native ways of understanding and describing. Conceptual continuity suggests that the relationship between the use of words in one genre and the scientific genre can exist at varying levels of association. This perspective can reveal the varied relationships…
Tsaparlis, Georgios; Papaphotis, Georgios
This study tested for deep understanding and critical thinking about basic quantum chemical concepts taught at 12th grade (age 17-18). Our aim was to achieve conceptual change in students. A quantitative study was conducted first (n = 125), and following this 23 selected students took part in semi-structured interviews either individually or in…
McNeal, K.; Vasquez, Y.; Avandano, C.; Moreno, K.; Besinaiz, J.
The Graduate K-12 (GK12) program has been developed by NSF to support the national effort to advance scientific knowledge through educational partnerships. This paper highlights research conducted during the 2006-2007 school year with the Texas A&M University GK12 project. Two elementary schools with very high numbers of at risk students - those who are poor, speak English as their second language, and have a history of failing state-mandated tests were identified to be the field site for the GK12 project. In these two, high-minority (97% and 40% African American and Hispanic) schools, 80% and 56% of the children have been identified by the state as at risk; 94% and 52% are classified as economically disadvantaged; and 46% and 2% are limited English proficient, respectively. In the past year, 30% and 73% of fifth grade students in these schools passed the science portion of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. Data collected during a three- week period where GK12 fellows taught the fifth graders Earth science-related topics is presented. During the implementation, students were engaged in technology-, inquiry-, and game-based activities. Students were divided into low-, medium-, and high-abilities in one school, and regular and bilingual groups in the other. Pre- post open-ended multiple choice tests indicated that all but the low performing students' conceptual understanding (CU) significantly (p < 0.05) improved during the IT activity. The low and high student groups' CU significantly improved during the inquiry activity, and the high and bilingual students' CU significantly improved for the game activities. Classroom observation assessments showed that there was a significant (p < 0.10) positive (0.347) correlation between on-task behavior and CU. Significant differences between student groups' CU and on-task behavior indicated that technology-based activities showed greatest differences between the low- ability learners and the other students, whereas, inquiry-based activities tended not to show such extremes. In the case of the bilingual and regular students however, technology-based instruction tended to increase their scores and decrease gaps with other groups. Using different pedagogical approaches (e.g., technology-, inquiry- and game-based methods) to teach Earth science is important to reach all elementary students. Earth science educators should not forget that there does not exist any one teaching and learning method that will be a 'quick fix' for the masses. However, educational partnerships between universities and K-12 schools strengthen the efforts to increase scientific literacy among all students, including diverse and at risk populations.
Jennison, Michelle; Beswick, Kim
This paper reports on two of ten themes that emerged from a study of the impacts of a fraction teaching intervention on the mathematics anxiety and fraction competence of eight Year 8 students. The themes arose from multiple data sources and relate to Student Attitude and Student Understanding. The students identified practical, hands-on…
Describes the use of a new pedagogic approach to geology used to create a sequence of investigative activities enabling students to speculate, hypothesize, observe, test, reason, and infer about the characteristics of rocks. The approach is framed by two questions: (1) What are the key characteristics of different rock groups?; and (2) How did the…
Claesgens, Jennifer; Scalise, Kathleen; Wilson, Mark; Stacy, Angelica
Preliminary pilot studies and a field study show how a generalizable conceptual framework calibrated with item response modeling can be used to describe the development of student conceptual understanding in chemistry. ChemQuery is an assessment system that uses a framework of the key ideas in the discipline, called the Perspectives of Chemists,…
Chu, Hye-Eun; Treagust, David F.; Yeo, Shelley; Zadnik, Marjan
The aims of this study were to determine the underlying conceptual structure of the thermal concept evaluation (TCE) questionnaire, a pencil-and-paper instrument about everyday contexts of heat, temperature, and heat transfer, to investigate students' conceptual understanding of thermal concepts in everyday contexts across several school years and…
Robbins, J. Nevin
If human service personnel are to serve clients effectively, they must understand the condition of human need and the objects of need which satisfy the condition. While definitions of need vary according to academic discipline, a review of literature in ten academic areas revealed that need as a human condition is based upon the existence of…
Leon, Marjorie Roth; Zawojewski, Judith S.
The understanding of children and adults regarding four component properties of the arithmetic mean was studied. The component properties were: (1) the mean is a data point between extreme values of a score distribution; (2) the sum of deviations about the mean equals zero; (3) when the mean is calculated, any value of zero must be taken into…
Students may use the technical engineering terms without knowing what these words mean. This creates a language barrier in engineering that influences student learning. Previous research has been conducted to characterize the difference between colloquial and scientific language. Since this research had not yet been applied explicitly to engineering, conclusions from the area of science education were used instead. Various researchers outlined strategies for helping students acquire scientific language. However, few examined and quantified the relationship it had on student learning. A systemic functional linguistics framework was adopted for this dissertation which is a framework that has not previously been used in engineering education research. This study investigated how engineering language proficiency influenced conceptual understanding of introductory materials science and engineering concepts. To answer the research questions about engineering language proficiency, a convenience sample of forty-one undergraduate students in an introductory materials science and engineering course was used. All data collected was integrated with the course. Measures included the Materials Concept Inventory, a written engineering design task, and group observations. Both systemic functional linguistics and mental models frameworks were utilized to interpret data and guide analysis. A series of regression analyses were conducted to determine if engineering language proficiency predicts group engineering term use, if conceptual understanding predicts group engineering term use, and if conceptual understanding predicts engineering language proficiency. Engineering academic language proficiency was found to be strongly linked to conceptual understanding in the context of introductory materials engineering courses. As the semester progressed, this relationship became even stronger. The more engineering concepts students are expected to learn, the more important it is that they are proficient in engineering language. However, exposure to engineering terms did not influence engineering language proficiency. These results stress the importance of engineering language proficiency for learning, but warn that simply exposing students to engineering terms does not promote engineering language proficiency.
Fox-Turnbull, Wendy; O'Sullivan, Gary
This article reports on the up-date and development of an on-line resource to support of teachers' conceptual understandings and pedagogical practice in New Zealand. Techlink is a website dedicated to supporting technology teachers, students and those with an interest in technology education. This research documents part of a Ministry of Education…
Boyd, Fenice B.; Ikpeze, Chinwe H.
The authors draw on Cognitive Flexibility Theory (Spiro, Coulson, Feltovich, & Anderson, 2004) as a lens to examine one seventh-grade English language arts teacher's pedagogical approach to using multiple text types to develop students' conceptual understandings about the 1957 integration of Little Rock's Central High School. Multiple text types…
Metz, Kathleen E.
The study examined children's understanding of scientific inquiry, through the lens of their conceptualization of uncertainty in investigations they had designed and implemented with a partner. These largely student-regulated investigations followed a unit about animal behavior that emphasized the scaffolding of independent inquiry. Participants…
Kim, Minkee; Song, Jinwoong
Many models in science education have tried to clarify the causal relationships of affective variables on student performance, by presenting theoretical models, exploratory SEM (structural equation models), and confirmatory SEM. Based on the literature, the recent AS-TI-CU model scrutinised the most robust stimuli of conceptual understanding (CU):…
Flores, Alfinio; Turner, Erin E.; Bachman, Renee C.
The way in which two teachers, Elizabeth and Carolyn, posed problems to develop their own conceptual understanding of division of fractions in terms that would also be meaningful for their students is described. Carolyn and Elizabeth's approach is to pose several problems of various degrees of difficulty and complexity for each aspect of the…
Kulkarni, Vasudeo Digambar; Tambade, Popat Savaleram
In this study, a Thermodynamic Concept Test (TCT) was designed to assess student's conceptual understanding heat and thermodynamics at undergraduate level. The different statistical tests such as item difficulty index, item discrimination index, point biserial coefficient were used for assessing TCT. For each item of the test these indices…
Ridenour, J.; Feldman, G.; Teodorescu, R.; Medsker, L.; Benmouna, N.
Developing competency in problem solving and enhancing conceptual understanding are primary objectives in introductory physics, and many techniques and tools are available to help instructors achieve them. Pedagogically, we use an easy-to-implement intervention, the ACCESS protocol, to develop and assess problem-solving skills in our SCALE-UP classroom environment for algebra-based physics. Based on our research and teaching experience, an important question has emerged: while primarily targeting improvements in problem-solving and cognitive development, is it necessary that conceptual understanding be compromised? To address this question, we gathered and analyzed information about student abilities, backgrounds, and instructional preferences. We report on our progress and give insights into matching the instructional tools to student profiles in order to achieve optimal learning in group-based active learning. The ultimate goal of our work is to integrate individual student learning needs into a pedagogy that moves students closer to expert-like status in problem solving.
Cox, Charles T., Jr.; Jordan, Joni; Cooper, Melanie M.; Stevens, Ron
Most science teachers are amazed when grading tests and quizzes, often wondering how and why students have reached a conclusion, particularly when students fail to provide a detailed account of their logic. Ideally, a variety of assessments should be used to identify alternate student conceptions or gaps in understanding, particularly when…
Ellis, Jane P.; Jones, Alan M.
This study examined children's drawings to explain children's conceptual understanding of plant structure and function. The study explored whether the children's drawings accurately reflect their conceptual understanding about plants in a manner that can be interpreted by others. Drawing, survey, interview, and observational data were collected from 182 students in grades K and 1 in rural southeastern United States. Results demonstrated the children held a wide range of conceptions concerning plant structure and function. These young children held very simple ideas about plants with respect to both their structure and function. Consistent with the drawings, the interviews presented similar findings. PMID:25185222
Bartell, Tonya Gau; Webel, Corey; Bowen, Brian; Dyson, Nancy
This study examined prospective teachers' (PSTs) ability to recognize evidence of children's conceptual understanding of mathematics in three content areas before and after an instructional intervention designed to support this ability. It also investigates the role PSTs' content knowledge plays in their ability to recognize children's…
This study provides a conceptual framework for understanding what employers think about the value of graduates with similar educational credentials in the workplace (their employability), using insights from the new institutionalism. In this framework, the development of employers' beliefs about graduates' employability is broken into a number of…
Historians and philosophers of science have recognized the importance of controversies in the progress of science. The objective of this study was to facilitate in-service chemistry teachers' understanding of conceptual change based on alternative philosophical interpretations (controversies). Selected controversies formed part of the chemistry…
A heuristic model is developed to develop a conceptual understanding of leakage during soil-gas sampling. Leakage is shown to be simply a function of the permeability contrast between the formation and borehole and geometric factors. As the ratio of formation to borehole permea...
Liu, Ru-De; Ding, Yi; Zong, Min; Zhang, Dake
The aim of this study was to examine the concept development of decimal numbers in 244 Chinese elementary students in grades 4-6. Three grades of students differed in their intuitive sense of decimals and conceptual understanding of decimals, with more strategic approaches used by older students. Misconceptions regarding the density nature of…
Bond, Marjorie E.; Perkins, Susan N.; Ramirez, Caroline
Although statistics education research has focused on students' learning and conceptual understanding of statistics, researchers have only recently begun investigating students' perceptions of statistics. The term perception describes the overlap between cognitive and non-cognitive factors. In this mixed-methods study, undergraduate students…
Kessler, Aaron M.; Stein, Mary Kay; Schunn, Christian D.
Model tracing tutors represent a technology designed to mimic key elements of one-on-one human tutoring. We examine the situations in which such supportive computer technologies may devolve into mindless student work with little conceptual understanding or student development. To analyze the support of student intellectual work in the model…
Burch, Gerald F.; Heller, Nathan A.; Burch, Jana J.; Freed, Rusty; Steed, Steve A.
Student engagement is considered to be among the better predictors of learning, yet there is growing concern that there is no consensus on the conceptual foundation. The authors propose a conceptualization of student engagement grounded in A. W. Astin's (1984) Student Involvement Theory and W. A. Kahn's (1990) employee engagement research where…
Gay, A. Susan; Peterson, Ingrid
Concept-focused quiz questions required College Algebra students to write about their understanding. The questions can be viewed in three broad categories: a focus on sense-making, a focus on describing a mathematical object such as a graph or an equation, and a focus on understanding vocabulary. Student responses from 10 classes were analyzed.…
Evolution by natural selection provides the conceptual framework upon which much of modern biology is based: therefore understanding core ideas about biological evolution is an essential part of scientific literacy. Nonetheless, research repeatedly shows that high school and college students have difficulties understanding the notion of natural…
Sadaghiani, Homeyra R.
Quantum mechanics has revolutionized the way we view the physical world. This theory has required a dramatic revision in the structure of the laws of mechanics governing the behavior of the particles and led to the discovery of macroscopic quantum effects ranging from lasers and superconductivity to neutron stars and radiation from black holes. Though its validity is well confirmed by the experimental evidence available, quantum mechanics remains somewhat of a mystery. The purpose of this study is to identify students' conceptual and mathematical difficulties in learning the core concepts of introductory quantum mechanics, with the eventual goal of developing instructional material to help students with these difficulties. We have investigated student understanding of several core topics in the introductory courses, including quantum measurement, probability, Uncertainty Principle, wave functions, energy eigenstates, recognizing symmetry in physical systems, and mathematical formalism. Student specific difficulties with these topics are discussed throughout this dissertation. In addition, we have studied student difficulties in learning, applying, and making sense out of complex mathematical processes in the physics classroom. We found students' achievement in quantum courses is not independent of their math backgrounds (correlation coefficient 0.547 for P631 and 0.347 for P263). In addition, there is a large jump in the level of mathematics at which one needs to succeed in physics courses after the sophomore level in The Ohio State University's physics curriculum. Many students do not have a functional understanding of probability and its related terminologies. For example, many students confuse the "expectation value" with "probability density" in measurement and some students confuse "probability density" with "probability amplitude" or describe the probability amplitude as a "place" or "area." Our data also suggested that students tend to use classical models when interpreting quantum systems; for example, some students associate a higher energy to a larger amplitude in a wave function. Others, have difficulty differentiating wave functions from energy eigenstates. Furthermore, some students do not use the relationship between the wave function and the wavenumber as a primary resource in for qualitative analysis of wave functions in regions of different potential. Many students have difficulty recognizing mathematical symbols for a given graph and lack the ability to associate the correct functions with their respective graphs. I addition, students do not distinguish an oscillatory function such as e-ix from an exponential decay function such as e-x. The results reported suggest recommendations for further study of student understanding of quantum mechanics and for the development of materials to aid understanding. These recommendations have potentially important implications for the teaching of introductory quantum mechanics and for the development of teaching aids, texts, and technology resources.
Maloney, David P.; O'Kuma, Thomas L.; Hieggelke, Curtis J.; Van Heuvelen, Alan
Introduces the Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism (CSEM) which was developed to assess students' knowledge of topics in electricity and magnetism. Reports on the number of student difficulties in electricity and magnetism. (Contains 23 references.) (Author/YDS)
Viennot, Laurence; Décamp, Nicolas
One key objective of physics teaching is the promotion of conceptual understanding. Additionally, the critical faculty is universally seen as a central quality to be developed in students. In recent years, however, teaching objectives have placed stronger emphasis on skills than on concepts, and there is a risk that conceptual structuring may be disregarded. The question therefore arises as to whether it is possible for students to develop a critical stance without a conceptual basis, leading in turn to the issue of possible links between the development of conceptual understanding and critical attitude. In an in-depth study to address these questions, the participants were seven prospective physics and chemistry teachers. The methodology included a ‘teaching interview’, designed to observe participants’ responses to limited explanations of a given phenomenon and their ensuing intellectual satisfaction or frustration. The explanatory task related to the physics of how a survival blanket works, requiring a full and appropriate system analysis of the blanket. The analysis identified five recurrent lines of reasoning and linked these to judgments of adequacy of explanation, based on metacognitive/affective (MCA) factors, intellectual (dis)satisfaction and critical stance. Recurrent themes and MCA factors were used to map the intellectual dynamics that emerged during the interview process. Participants’ critical attitude was observed to develop in strong interaction with their comprehension of the topic. The results suggest that most students need to reach a certain level of conceptual mastery before they can begin to question an oversimplified explanation, although one student’s replies show that a different intellectual dynamics is also possible. The paper ends with a discussion of the implications of these findings for future research and for decisions concerning teaching objectives and the design of learning environments.
Radford, David L.; And Others
Presents the science demonstration assessment as an authentic- assessment technique to assess whether students understand basic science concepts and can use them to solve problems. Uses rubrics to prepare students for the assessment and to assign final grades. Provides examples of science demonstration assessments and the scoring of rubrics in the…
Corradi, David M. J.; Elen, Jan; Schraepen, Beno; Clarebout, Geraldine
When learning with abstract and scientific multiple external representations (MERs), low prior knowledge learners are said to have difficulties in using these MERs to achieve conceptual understanding. Yet little is known about what these limitations precisely entail. In order to understand this, we presented 101 learners with low prior knowledge…
The objective of this research is to investigate the effects of simulations based on conceptual change conditions (CCS) and traditional confirmatory simulations (TCS) on pre-service elementary school teachers' understanding of direct current electric circuits. The data was collected from a sample consisting of 89 students; 48 students in the…
Nguyen, Ngoc-Loan; Meltzer, David E.
Investigates physics students' understanding of vector addition, magnitude, and direction for problems presented in graphical form. Indicates that many students retained significant conceptual difficulties regarding vector methods that are heavily employed throughout the physics curriculum. (Author/KHR)
Park, Eun Jung
The nature of matter based upon atomic theory is a principal concept in science; hence, how to teach and how to learn about atoms is an important subject for science education. To this end, this study explored student perceptions of atomic structure and how students learn about this concept by analyzing student mental models of atomic structure. Changes in student mental models serve as a valuable resource for comprehending student conceptual development. Data was collected from students who were taking the introductory chemistry course. Responses to course examinations, pre- and post-questionnaires, and pre- and post-interviews were used to analyze student mental models of atomic structure. First, this study reveals that conceptual development can be achieved, either by elevating mental models toward higher levels of understanding or by developing a single mental model. This study reinforces the importance of higher-order thinking skills to enable students to relate concepts in order to construct a target model of atomic structure. Second, Bohr's orbital structure seems to have had a strong influence on student perceptions of atomic structure. With regard to this finding, this study suggests that it is instructionally important to teach the concept of "orbitals" related to "quantum theory." Third, there were relatively few students who had developed understanding at the level of the target model, which required student understanding of the basic ideas of quantum theory. This study suggests that the understanding of atomic structure based on the idea of quantum theory is both important and difficult. Fourth, this study included different student assessments comprised of course examinations, questionnaires, and interviews. Each assessment can be used to gather information to map out student mental models. Fifth, in the comparison of the pre- and post-interview responses, this study showed that high achieving students moved toward more improved models or to advanced levels of understanding. The analysis of mental models in this study has provided information describing student understanding of the nature and structure of an atom. In addition to an assessment of student cognition, information produced from this study can serve as an important resource for curriculum development, teacher education, and instruction.
Bray Speth, Elena; Shaw, Neil; Momsen, Jennifer; Reinagel, Adam; Le, Paul; Taqieddin, Ranya; Long, Tammy
Mutation is the key molecular mechanism generating phenotypic variation, which is the basis for evolution. In an introductory biology course, we used a model-based pedagogy that enabled students to integrate their understanding of genetics and evolution within multiple case studies. We used student-generated conceptual models to assess…
Investigates the effectiveness of combining conceptual change text and concept mapping strategies on students' understanding of diffusion and osmosis. Results indicate that while the average percentage of students in the experimental group holding a scientifically correct view rose, the percentage of correct responses in the control group…
Adams, Margaret Smolinka
This case study investigated students' conceptual knowledge of limits in calculus by implementing semi-structured interviews. The constructivist learning principles of Piaget and Inhelder as well as theories of understanding by Skemp guided the study. In Phase I, a pilot study was conducted with 15 students from a Calculus III class. By using…
Wichaidit, Sittichai; Wongyounoi, Somson; Dechsri, Precharn; Chaivisuthangkura, Parin
This study examined conceptual change of Thai middle school students after learning photosynthesis with analogy and model. The analogy mapped key features from the analog (cooking food) to the target concept (photosynthesis). Modeling photosynthesis activity provided the opportunity for students to understand how plants use sugar to synthesize…
Athanasiou, Kyriacos; Katakos, Efstratios; Papadopoulou, Penelope
In this study, we explored the factors related to acceptance of evolutionary theory among students/preservice preschool education teachers using conceptual ecology for biological evolution as a theoretical frame. We aimed to examine the acceptance and understanding of evolutionary theory and also the relationship of acceptance and understanding of…
Bates, Simon; Donnelly, Robyn; MacPhee, Cait; Sands, David; Birch, Marion; Walet, Niels R.
We present the results of a combined study from three UK universities where we investigate the existence and persistence of a performance gender gap in conceptual understanding of Newtonian mechanics. Using the Force Concept Inventory, we find that students at all three universities exhibit a statistically significant gender gap, with males outperforming females. This gap is narrowed but not eliminated after instruction, using a variety of instructional approaches. Furthermore, we find that before instruction the quartile with the lowest performance on the diagnostic instrument comprises a disproportionately high fraction (?50%) of the total female cohort. The majority of these students remain in the lowest-performing quartile post-instruction. Analysis of responses to individual items shows that male students outperform female students on practically all items on the instrument. Comparing the performance of the same group of students on end-of-course examinations, we find no statistically significant gender gaps.
Bates, Simon; MacPhee, Cait; Sands, David; Birch, Marion; Walet, Niels R
We present results of a combined study from three UK universities where we investigate the existence and persistence of a performance gender gap in conceptual understanding of Newtonian mechanics. Using the Force Concept Inventory, we find that students at all three universities exhibit a statistically significant gender gap, with males outperforming females. This gap is narrowed but not eliminated after instruction, using a variety of instructional approaches. Furthermore, we find that before instruction the quartile with the lowest performance on the diagnostic instrument comprises a disproportionately high fraction (~50%) of the total female cohort. The majority of these students remain in the lowest-performing quartile post-instruction. Analysis of responses to individual items shows that male students outperform female students on practically all items on the instrument. Comparing the performance of the same group of students on end-of-course examinations, we find no statistically significant gender gaps...
Brown, Bryan A.; Kloser, Matt
This project explores conceptual continuity as a framework for understanding students' native ways of understanding and describing. Conceptual continuity suggests that the relationship between the use of words in one genre and the scientific genre can exist at varying levels of association. This perspective can reveal the varied relationships between ideas explained in everyday or vernacular genres and their association to scientific explanations. We conducted a 2-year study involving 15 high school baseball players' understanding of the physics involved in baseball. First, we conducted a quantitative assessment of their science understanding by administering a test prior to season one (2006) and season two (2007). Second, we examined the types of linguistic resources students used to explain their understanding. Third, we revisited our data by using conceptual continuity to identify similarities between students' conceptual understanding in the informal contexts and their similarities to canonical scientific ideas. The results indicated students' performance on the multiple-choice questions suggested no significant improvement. The qualitative analyses revealed that students were able to accurately explain different components of the idea by using a diversity of scientific and non-scientific genres. These results call attention to the need to reconstruct our vision of science learning to include a more language sensitive approach to teaching and learning.
The dissertation aims to achieve two goals. First, it attempts to establish a new theoretical framework---the collaborative scientific conceptual change model, which explicitly attends to social factor and epistemic practices of science, to understand conceptual change. Second, it report the findings of a classroom study to investigate how to apply this theoretical framework to examine the trajectories of collaborative scientific conceptual change in a CSCL environment and provide pedagogical implications. Two simulations were designed to help students make connections between the macroscopic substances and the aperceptual microscopic entities and underlying processes. The reported study was focused on analyzing the aggregated data from all participants and the video and audio data from twenty focal groups' collaborative activities and the process of their conceptual development in two classroom settings. Mixed quantitative and qualitative analyses were applied to analyze the video/audio data. The results found that, overall participants showed significant improvements from pretest to posttest on system understanding. Group and teacher effect as well as group variability were detected in both students' posttest performance and their collaborative activities, and variability emerged in group interaction. Multiple data analyses found that attributes of collaborative discourse and epistemic practices made a difference in student learning. Generating warranted claims in discourse as well as the predicting, coordinating theory-evidence, and modifying knowledge in epistemic practices had an impact on student's conceptual understanding. However, modifying knowledge was found negatively related to students' learning effect. The case studies show how groups differed in using the computer tools as a medium to conduct collaborative discourse and epistemic practices. Only with certain combination of discourse features and epistemic practices can the group interaction lead to successful convergent understanding. The results of the study imply that the collaborative scientific conceptual change model is an effective framework to study conceptual change and the simulation environment may mediate the development of successful collaborative interactions (including collaborative discourse and epistemic practices) that lead to collaborative scientific conceptual change.
This study investigated motivational factors that are related to engaging in conceptual change learning. While previous studies have recognized the resistance of students' scientific conception to change, few have investigated the role that non-cognitive factors might play when students are exposed to conceptual change instruction. Three research questions were examined: (a) What instructional strategies did the teacher use to both promote students' learning for conceptual change and increase their motivation in learning science? (b) What are the patterns of students' motivation to engage in conceptual change learning? And (c) what individual profiles can be constructed from the four motivational factors (i.e., goals, values, self-efficacy, and control beliefs) and how are these profiles linked to engagement (i.e., behavioral and cognitive engagement) in conceptual change learning of science? Eleven twelfth grade students (senior students) and the teacher in which conceptual change approach to teaching was used in daily activities were selected. Data collection for this study included student's self-reported responses to the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ), classroom observation of students and the teacher, and structured interviews. Analysis of these data resulted in a motivational factor profile for each student and cross case analysis for entire group. Results from this study indicate that each student has different motivation factors that are mostly influenced individual student to learn science. Among these motivation factors, task value and control beliefs were most important for students. The implication of these findings are that teachers need to encourage students to find learning for conceptual change a valuable task, and that students need to find applications for their new conceptions within their everyday lives. In addition, teachers need to encourage students to develop learning strategies for conceptual understanding. Furthermore, students' motivation to learn was also influenced by other factors that are not directly related to the four motivational factors assessed by the MSLQ such as the teacher's unique personality had a positive influenced on student learning. The overall conclusions drawn from this study are that conceptual change instruction requires the teacher to be aware of the importance of affective aspects and motivational factors of students learning.
DiBenedetto, Christina M.
This study is the first of its kind to explore the thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and values of secondary educators as they experience conceptual change in their understanding of the nature of science learning vis a vis the Framework for K-12 Science Education published by the National Research Council. The study takes aim at the existing gap between the vision for science learning as an active process of inquiry and current pedagogical practices in K-12 science classrooms. For students to understand and explain everyday science ideas and succeed in science studies and careers, the means by which they learn science must change. Focusing on this change, the study explores the significance of educator attitudes, beliefs and values to science learning through interpretive phenomenological analysis around the central question, "In what ways do educators understand and articulate attitudes and beliefs toward the nature of science learning?" The study further explores the questions, "How do educators experience changes in their understanding of the nature of science learning?" and "How do educators believe these changes influence their pedagogical practice?" Study findings converge on four conceptions that science learning: is the action of inquiry; is a visible process initiated by both teacher and learner; values student voice and changing conceptions is science learning. These findings have implications for the primacy of educator beliefs, attitudes and values in reform efforts, science teacher leadership and the explicit instruction of both Nature of Science and conceptual change in educator preparation programs. This study supports the understanding that the nature of science learning is cognitive and affective conceptual change. Keywords: conceptual change, educator attitudes and beliefs, framework for K-12 science education, interpretive phenomenological analysis, nature of science learning, next generation science standards, science professional development, secondary science education.
Georgiou, Helen; Sharma, Manjula Devi
Thermal physics is in the realm of everyday experience, underlies current environmental concerns, and underpins studies in sciences, health and engineering. In the state of NSW in Australia, the coverage of thermal topics in high school is minimal, and, hence, so is the conceptual understanding of students. This study takes a new approach at…
Boudreaux, Andrew; Campbell, Craig
Student understanding of the equilibrium coexistence of a liquid and its vapor was the subject of an extended investigation. Written assessment questions were administered to undergraduates enrolled in introductory physics and chemistry courses. Responses have been analyzed to document conceptual and reasoning difficulties in sufficient detail to…
Ozcan, Ozgur; Didis, Nilufer; Tasar, Mehmet Fatih
In this study, students' conceptual difficulties about some basic concepts in quantum mechanics like one-dimensional potential well problems and probability density of tunneling particles were identified. For this aim, a multiple choice instrument named Quantum Mechanics Conceptual Test has been developed by one of the researchers of this study…
Tomshaw, Stephen G.
Physics education research has shown that students bring alternate conceptions to the classroom which can be quite resistant to traditional instruction methods (Clement, 1982; Halloun & Hestenes, 1985; McDermott, 1991). Microcomputer-based laboratory (MBL) experiments that employ an active-engagement strategy have been shown to improve student conceptual understanding in high school and introductory university physics courses (Thornton & Sokoloff, 1998). These (MBL) experiments require a specialized computer interface, type-specific sensors (e.g. motion detectors, force probes, accelerometers), and specialized software in addition to the standard physics experimental apparatus. Tao and Gunstone (1997) have shown that computer simulations used in an active engagement environment can also lead to conceptual change. This study investigated 69 secondary physics students' use of computer simulations of MBL activities in place of the hands-on MBL laboratory activities. The average normalized gain
Provides a review of conceptual perspectives on the salient issues affecting student retention in higher education generally, and minority student retention in particular, over the past few decades. Also summarizes programmatic strategies implemented at institutions as examples of student retention initiatives that have had significant impacts.…
Concannon, James; Buzzetta, Maegan
It is difficult for students to conceptualize biochemical processes that are portrayed as two-dimensional figures in a textbook. Instead of relying on overheads, PowerPoint, or textbook figures, the authors have students imagine themselves actually being inside a cell. Students have a specific role in the cell: helping with the transcription and…
Parks, Melissa Y.
This qualitative study examined the nature of 5th-grade students' oral and written discourse in relation to their conceptual learning during six science inquiry-based lessons. Qualitative data were collected using small group observations, transcriptions of small group discourse, students' science notebooks, and student interviews. These data were…
Psillos, D.; Kariotoglou, P.
Describes an approach to teaching the conceptually demanding topic of fluids which focuses on promoting student teachers' continual evolution toward a suggested scientific model. Discusses the approach in detail. Contains 45 references. (DDR)
Parks, Melissa Y.
This qualitative study examined the nature of 5th-grade students' oral and written discourse in relation to their conceptual learning during six science inquiry-based lessons. Qualitative data were collected using small group observations, transcriptions of small group discourse, students' science notebooks, and student interviews. These data were used to create an in-depth illustration of 5th-grade students' discourse and the impact of that discourse on their science conceptual learning. Findings indicated students spoke in three main discourse classifications during small group inquiries and two of these discourses were also present in the science notebook entries. Findings further indicated gender did not impact the nature of students' oral or written discourse regarding their conceptual learning. Implications for classroom practice and suggestions for further research in elementary science education are offered.
Claesgens, Jennifer Marie
The purpose of this dissertation research is to investigate and characterize how students learn chemistry from pre-instruction to deeper understanding of the subject matter in their general chemistry coursework. Based on preliminary work, I believe that students have a general pathway of learning across the "big ideas," or concepts, in chemistry that can be characterized over the course of instruction. My hypothesis is that as students learn chemistry they build from experience and logical reasoning then relate chemistry specific ideas in a pair-wise fashion before making more complete multi-relational links for deeper understanding of the subject matter. This proposed progression of student learning, which starts at Notions, moves to Recognition, and then to Formulation, is described in the ChemQuery Perspectives framework. My research continues the development of ChemQuery, an NSF-funded assessment system that uses a framework of the key ideas in the discipline and criterion-referenced analysis using item response theory (IRT) to map student progress. Specifially, this research investigates the potential for using criterion-referenced analysis to describe and measure how students learn chemistry followed by more detailed task analysis of patterns in student responses found in the data. My research question asks: does IRT work to describe and measure how students learn chemistry and if so, what is discovered about how students learn? Although my findings seem to neither entirely support nor entirely refute the pathway of student understanding proposed in the ChemQuery Perspectives framework. My research does provide an indication of trouble spots. For example, it seems like the pathway from Notions to Recognition is holding but there are difficulties around the transition from Recognition to Formulation that cannot be resolved with this data. Nevertheless, this research has produced the following, which has contributed to the development of the ChemQuery assessment system, (a) 13 new change items with good fits, 3 new change items that need further study, (b) a refined scoring guide and (c) a set of item exemplars that can then be developed further into a computer-adapted model so that more data can be captured.
Arasasingham, Ramesh D.; Taagepera, Mare; Potter, Frank; Lonjers, Stacy
Using the concept of stoichiometry we examined the ability of beginning college chemistry students to make connections among the molecular, symbolic, and graphical representations of chemical phenomena, as well as to conceptualize, visualize, and solve numerical problems. Students took a test designed to follow conceptual development; we then analyzed student responses and the connectivities of their responses, or the cognitive organization of the material or thinking patterns, applying knowledge space theory (KST). The results reveal that the students' logical frameworks of conceptual understanding were very weak and lacked an integrated understanding of some of the fundamental aspects of chemical reactivity. Analysis of response states indicates that the overall thinking patterns began with symbolic representations, moved to numerical problem solving, and then lastly to visualization: the acquisition of visualization skills comes later in the knowledge structure. The results strongly suggest the need for teaching approaches that help students integrate their knowledge by emphasizing the relationships between the different representations and presenting them concurrently during instruction. Also, the results indicate that KST is a useful tool for revealing various aspects of students' cognitive structure in chemistry and can be used as an assessment tool or as a pedagogical tool to address a number of student-learning issues.
Coomes, Michael D.; DeBard, Robert
This chapter establishes the conceptual framework for understanding the Millennial generation by presenting a theoretical model of generational succession that demonstrates the value of studying how the values of one generation interact with and are influenced by others.
Taking a test generally improves the retention of the material tested. This is a phenomenon commonly referred to as testing effect. The present research investigated whether two-tier diagnostic tests promoted student teachers' conceptual understanding of variables in conducting scientific experiments, which is a scientific process skill. In this…
Suppapittayaporn, Decha; Emarat, Narumon; Arayathanitkul, Kwan
This study proposed to investigate the effectiveness of learning activities based on a conceptual change theoretical framework by embedding a peer instruction method with structured inquiry (PISI) on tenth grade students' understanding of force and motion concepts. This teaching method was compared to the existing traditional instruction (TI).…
Abdullah, Sopiah; Shariff, Adilah
The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of inquiry-based computer simulation with heterogeneous-ability cooperative learning (HACL) and inquiry-based computer simulation with friendship cooperative learning (FCL) on (a) scientific reasoning (SR) and (b) conceptual understanding (CU) among Form Four students in Malaysian Smart…
Metz, Donald J.
Understanding the nature of science has been a common goal in science education for years and continues to hold a distinct place in the recently developed Pan-Canadian science framework. Although the nature of science is often prominent in the front end of such reform documents, the implementation of these goals is presumed to be taught implicitly with the delivery of knowledge outcomes. Research strongly indicates that most students have naive conceptions about the nature of science. Surprisingly, research also clearly shows that science teachers do not fare much better, and that when they do possess adequate understanding of the nature of science it does not significantly influence their behaviour in the classroom. Norm Lederman (1998), one of the leading scholars in this field, describes two approaches advocated by curriculum reform documents to address the nature of science outcomes. The first approach suggests that students can achieve nature of science outcomes by "doing science", the second suggests that history of science can enhance students' understanding of the nature of science. While Lederman advocates the use of the history of science, he argues that these approaches are not effective when used implicitly. He recommends that an explicit approach be used (planned for, taught, assessed), but so far there have been no studies which employ this technique beyond short lessons or limited case histories. This thesis advocates an explicit approach to teaching the nature of science using the historical development of conceptual models. The research study of this thesis integrated the historical development of conceptual models with the traditional content found in a typical grade ten chemistry curriculum. Participants in the research were 74 senior 2 (grade 10) science students from four different classes in three different schools in the province of Manitoba. Prior to, and after instruction, students wrote Lederman's VNOS nature of science test. The tests were reviewed by the researcher and a nature of science profile was compiled for each student. From this profile and the student responses, 24 students (8 from each group) were selected to be interviewed. The research indicates that the HDCM unit was a successful means to improve students' understanding of models, theories, evidence, and the tentativeness of science. The manner in which students employed their examples in the post-test suggests that the historical content of the unit accounts for this change. On the relationship between laws and theories the research indicates that the view that theories advance to laws is an extremely tenacious misconception although students did seem to improve their understanding of laws and theories independently. The HDCM unit did not yield significant results in advancing students understandings of the creative and imaginative aspects of the nature of science. However, there were individual cases where progress was made which might indicate that more opportunity and a longer development time could enhance student understanding in this area. Students also indicated positive attitudes towards the inclusion of the history of science in their curriculum. The HDCM unit presented a more humanistic view of science to the students which was reflected in their interest, motivation, and responses to the curriculum. We should view this results as positive for future curriculum development in this area. Finally, the HDCM unit was shown to significantly influence one practising teacher's understanding of the nature of science.
Ayers, Suzan F.
The value of conceptual physical education knowledge has long been acknowledged (American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, 1969; Kneer, 1981; NASPE, 1995) yet has not been formally measured or assessed. Seven multiple choice tests with established validity and reliability (Ayers, 2001b) were used to assess the concepts…
Malterud, Kirsti; Guassora, Ann Dorrit; Graungaard, Anette Hauskov; Reventlow, Susanne
The aim of this article is to present a conceptual review and analysis of symptom understanding. Subjective bodily sensations occur abundantly in the normal population and dialogues about symptoms take place in a broad range of contexts, not only in the doctor's office. Our review of symptom understanding proceeds from an initial subliminal awareness by way of attribution of meaning and subsequent management, with and without professional involvement. We introduce theoretical perspectives from phenomenology, semiotics, social interactionism, and discourse analysis. Drew Leder's phenomenological perspectives deal with how symptom perception occurs when any kind of altered balance brings forward a bodily attention. Corporeality is brought to explicit awareness and perceived as sensations. Jesper Hoffmeyer's biosemiotic perspectives provide access to how signs are interpreted to attribute meaning to the bodily messages. Symptom management is then determined by the meaning of a symptom. Dorte E. Gannik's concept "situational disease" explains how situations can be reviewed not just in terms of their potential to produce signs or symptoms, but also in terms of their capacity to contain symptoms. Disease is a social and relational phenomenon of containment, and regulating the situation where the symptoms originate implies adjusting containment. Discourse analysis, as presented by Jonathan Potter and Margaret Wetherell, provides a tool to notice the subtle ways in which language orders perceptions and how language constructs social interaction. Symptoms are situated in culture and context, and trends in modern everyday life modify symptom understanding continuously. Our analysis suggests that a symptom can only be understood by attention to the social context in which the symptom emerges and the dialogue through which it is negotiated. PMID:26597868
Foong, S. K.; Lee, P.; Wong, D.; Chee, Y. P.
We attempt an in-depth literature review that focuses on some finer aspects of the photoelectric effect that will help build a more coherent understanding of the phenomenon. These include the angular distribution of photoelectrons, multi-photon photoelectron emission and the work function in the photoelectric equation as being that associated with the collector rather than the emitter. We attempt to explain the intricacies of the related concepts in a way that is accessible to teachers and students at the Singapore GCE A-level or pre-university level.
Jones, Edward Louis, II
One hundred sixteen community college students enrolled in a basic chemistry class who had completed a unit on the behavior of a gaseous substance were given a written instrument that presented several mathematical and conceptual problems describing the behavior of a gas. Nine students representing a range of achievement levels were chosen for more intensive clinical interviews. Interview results revealed that students commonly experience difficulties at three different levels: (1) Mathematical understanding. Most students could manipulate the gas law equations, but few had a real understanding of the equation. There were some unique understanding of proportional relationships. (2) Conceptual understanding. Many students could represent pictorially the notion that gas molecules randomly occupy the entire space of its container. Many, however, had a different conception of this when the air was compressed. The reason for this seemed to be due to a misunderstanding of the kinetic molecular theory. (3) Real-world application . Students' use of their mathematical understanding to explain the behavior of air in a real syringe revealed some internal consistency found in mathematical explanations of real-world phenomena. Many students used mathematical strategies consistent with their mathematical understanding and satisfactory for producing reasonable estimates of numerical values. All of the 9 students had misconceptions about mathematical proportionality with most of them understanding proportional relationships as being additive in nature. Although some of the students were able to state the relationship between two variables, they could only do so outside of the context of the gas law equation. Only one student was able to propose a reasonable explanation of the proportional relationships between variables in a gas law equation. All 9 students were classified as either transitional or naive in the real-world use of their mathematical understandings with 3 of the 9 clearly having naive conceptions of the mathematics of gas behavior. Also, a majority of the 9 students could clearly represent the nature of the submicroscopic level of gas behavior when asked to draw it during the clinical interview. However, only 2 of these students had the chemist's understanding of this concept when put to use with a real-world task.
Pollock, S. J.
We present results demonstrating similar distributions of student scores, and statistically indistinguishable gains on two popular research-based assessment tools: the Brief Electricity and Magnetism Assessment (BEMA) and the Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism(CSEM). To deepen our understanding of student learning in our course environment and of these assessment tools as measures of student learning, we identify systematic trends and differences in results from these two instruments. We investigate correlations of both pre- and post- conceptual scores with other measures including traditional exam scores and course grades, student background (earlier grades), gender, a pretest of scientific reasoning, and tests of attitudes and beliefs about science and learning science. Overall, for practical purposes, we find the BEMA and CSEM are roughly equivalently useful instruments for measuring student learning in our course.
Riggs, E. M.; Herrera, J. S.
Understanding the geometry and evolution of sedimentary systems and sequence stratigraphy is crucial to the development of geoscientists and engineers working in the petroleum industry. There is a wide variety of audiences within industry who require relatively advanced instruction in this area of geoscience, and there is an equally wide array of approaches to teaching this material in the classroom and field. This research was undertaken to develop a clearer picture of how conceptual understanding in this area of sedimentary geology grows as a result of instruction and how instructors can monitor the completeness and accuracy of student thinking and mental models. We sought ways to assess understanding that did not rely on model-specific jargon but rather was based in physical expression of basic processes and attributes of sedimentary systems. Advances in cognitive science and educational research indicate that a significant part of spatial cognition is facilitated by gesture, (e.g. giving directions, describing objects or landscape features). We aligned the analysis of gestures with conceptual metaphor theory to probe the use of mental image-schemas as a source of concept representation for students' learning of sedimentary processes. In order to explore image schemas that lie in student explanations, we focused our analysis on four core ideas about sedimentary systems that involve sea level change and sediment deposition, namely relative sea level, base level, and sea-level fluctuations and resulting basin geometry and sediment deposition changes. The study included 25 students from three U.S. Midwestern universities. Undergraduate and graduate-level participants were enrolled in senior-level undergraduate courses in sedimentology and stratigraphy. We used semi-structured interviews and videotaping for data collection. We coded the data to focus on deictic, iconic, and metaphoric gestures, and coded interview transcripts for linguistic metaphors using the rubric established by Lakoff (1987) and Lakoff and Johnson (1999). The results suggested that students attempted to make more iconic and metaphoric gestures when dealing with abstract concepts such as relative sea level, base level, and unconformities. Schemas that were evident in both gesture and linguistic expressions dominantly included container schemas, schemas that expressed a source-path-goal relationship, and schemas that represented linear scales of quantity, such as thickness or time. Based on the analysis of gestures that expressed these central ideas, we found that proper use of representational gestures likely indicates completeness in conceptual understanding. We concluded that students rely on image schemas to develop ideas about complex sedimentary systems. Our research also supports the hypothesis that gestures provide an independent and non-linguistic indicator of image-schemas serving as mental models that shape conceptual development. The implication is that instructors should encourage proper gesture use by students during instruction, and also that gesture and linguistic metaphor could potentially be used as tools to assess student understanding.
Eric Sakk; Aradhya P. Kumar
Recent experiments have led to the production of neutrinos with transit times indicating the appearance of traveling faster than the speed of light. In this paper, we present a conceptual framework to understand how faster-than-light events involving neutrinos (as indicated by time-of-flight) might occur. We propose that observations of this kind do not violate the special theory of relativity; instead, they only help to provide evidence in support of the general theory of relativity at quantum scales. Given the relativistic effects of the neutrino on its local spacetime environment, the measured time-of-flight at the macroscopic level is attributable to a decrease in the effective path length traversed by the neutrino. Specifically, along preferred directions, we show that the Kerr metric allows for the compression of spacetime; hence, the decreased path length hypothesis is plausible. Furthermore, when the motion of the neutrino is along the preferred direction for spacetime compression, the Kerr metric also predicts strong frame dragging effects near the Planck length. In the region where strong frame dragging occurs, we propose that the microscopic explanation for the path length compression is due to the formation of 'micro-wormholes' near the Planck length.
This study investigated the effectiveness of combining conceptual change text and concept mapping strategy on students' understanding of diffusion and osmosis. Students' conceptual understanding of diffusion and osmosis was measured using the Diffusion and Osmosis Diagnostic Test developed by Odom and Barrow (1995). The test was administered as pretest and post-test to a total of 44 ninth-grade students in two intact classes of the same high school located in an urban area. The experimental group was a class of 24 students who received concept mapping and conceptual change text instruction. A class of 20 students comprised the control group who received a traditional instruction. Group Assessment of Logical Thinking Test (GALT) and pretest scores were used as covariates in this study. A pretest-post-test control group design utilising the analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) showed a statistically significant difference between the experimental and control groups in the favour of the experimental group after treatment. The results indicated that while the average percentage of students in the experimental group holding a scientifically correct view had risen from 22.5% to 54.1%, a gain of 31.6%, the percentage of correct responses of the students in the control group had increased from 19.1% to 38.7%, a gain of 19.6% after treatment.
This study explored how direct care workers in nursing homes conceptualize good care and how their conceptualizations are influenced by external factors surrounding their work environment and the relational dynamics between them and residents. Study participants were drawn from a local service employees' union, and in-depth interviews were…
In this study, high school and first-year undergraduate students were asked about their understanding of stars. The hypothesis guiding this research posits that high school students who have taken a semester-long astronomy course will have an understanding of stars most related to scientific knowledge, compared with high school students enrolled…
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of small group discussion on students' conceptual understanding of chemical equilibrium. Students' understanding of chemical equilibrium concepts was measured using the Misconception Identification Test. The test consisted of 30 items and administered as pre-posttests to a total of 81…
Swinyard, Craig; Larsen, Sean
The purpose of this article is to elaborate Cottrill et al.'s (1996) conceptual framework of limit, an explanatory model of how students might come to understand the limit concept. Drawing on a retrospective analysis of 2 teaching experiments, we propose 2 theoretical constructs to account for the students' success in formulating and understanding…
Investigates the effects of conceptual assignments and conceptual change discussions on high school students' achievement and misconceptions about force and motion. Analyzes pretest and posttest data from the Force Misconception and Force Achievement Tests (FMFAT). Discusses the effects on the conceptual change discussion on reducing…
Black, Alice A. (Jill)
Research has shown the presence of many Earth science misconceptions and conceptual difficulties that may impede concept understanding, and has also identified a number of categories of spatial ability. Although spatial ability has been linked to high performance in science, some researchers believe it has been overlooked in traditional education. Evidence exists that spatial ability can be improved. This correlational study investigated the relationship among Earth science conceptual understanding, three types of spatial ability, and psychological gender, a self-classification that reflects socially-accepted personality and gender traits. A test of Earth science concept understanding, the Earth Science Concepts (ESC) test, was developed and field tested from 2001 to 2003 in 15 sections of university classes. Criterion validity was .60, significant at the .01 level. Spearman/Brown reliability was .74 and Kuder/Richardson reliability was .63. The Purdue Visualization of Rotations (PVOR) (mental rotation), the Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT) (spatial perception), the Differential Aptitude Test: Space Relations (DAT) (spatial visualization), and the Bem Inventory (BI) (psychological gender) were administered to 97 non-major university students enrolled in undergraduate science classes. Spearman correlations revealed moderately significant correlations at the .01 level between ESC scores and each of the three spatial ability test scores. Stepwise regression analysis indicated that PVOR scores were the best predictor of ESC scores, and showed that spatial ability scores accounted for 27% of the total variation in ESC scores. Spatial test scores were moderately or weakly correlated with each other. No significant correlations were found among BI scores and other test scores. Scantron difficulty analysis of ESC items produced difficulty ratings ranging from 33.04 to 96.43, indicating the percentage of students who answered incorrectly. Mean score on the ESC was 34%, indicating that the non-majors tested exhibited many Earth science misconceptions and conceptual difficulties. A number of significant results were found when independent t-tests and correlations were conducted among test scores and demographic variables. The number of previous university Earth science courses was significantly related to ESC scores. Preservice elementary/middle majors differed significantly in several ways from other non-majors, and several earlier results were not supported. Results of this study indicate that an important opportunity may exist to improve Earth science conceptual understanding by focusing on spatial ability, a cognitive ability that has heretofore not been directly addressed in schools.
Anderson, Janice L.; Ellis, Jane P.; Jones, Alan M.
This study examined children's drawings to explain children's conceptual understanding of plant structure and function. The study explored whether the children's drawings accurately reflect their conceptual understanding about plants in a manner that can be interpreted by others. Drawing, survey, interview, and observational data…
Kruse, Jerrid; Wilcox, Jesse
Helping students understand how to learn is an important goal for all subjects and levels of education. While this goal is highly regarded, promoting it is extremely difficult. Many times, we as teachers are consumed with how to better help our students understand the content and forget to draw their attention to how they came to understand a…
McMullen, Victoria Budzinski
This article examines the use of two strategies designed to increase student participation in a teacher education class: student-led seminars and conceptual workshops. Quantitative data, collected by a graduate student observer, showed increased student participation in classroom discussion and activities. Also, qualitative findings collected…
Oliveira, Alandeom W.; Sadler, Troy D.
This study examines cognitive and social processes in group interactions that shape collaborative learning in science classrooms. Three small groups of students were observed while working collaboratively on explaining the burning of a candle under a jar. The learning environment served as a context for examination of conceptual convergence, a…
Rathbone, Charles; Harootunian, Berj
This study examined the effect of grouping teachers and students by conceptual level (CL) upon the teachers' information handling behavior. Twenty secondary school teachers were divided into two groups of 10 HCL and 10 LCL teachers according to their scores of the Paragraph Completion Test. Forty pairs of sixth graders were formed, each pair…
Franke, Gaitano; Bogner, Franz X.
A hands-on instructional approach with medium-achieving 10th-grade students (N = 294) successfully demonstrated the achievement of a conceptual change. Two teaching variations were applied (I-1, I-2), both dealing with a hands-on gene technology lesson in an out-of-school laboratory. I-2 additionally confronted the participants with alternative…
Broido, Ellen M.
The Millennial generation of college students has demographics and attitudes toward diversity issues different from their predecessors; this chapter explores those differences and their implications for student affairs work.
The need to identify factors that contribute to students' understanding of ecological concepts has been widely expressed in recent literature. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between fifth grade students' prior knowledge, learning strategies, interest, and learning goals and their conceptual understanding of ecological science concepts. Subject were 72 students from three fifth grade classrooms located in a metropolitan area of the eastern United States. Students completed the goal commitment, interest, and strategy use questionnaire (GISQ), and a knowledge test designed to assess their prior knowledge and conceptual understanding of ecological science concepts. The learning goals scale assessed intentions to try to learn and understand ecological concepts. The interest scale assessed the feeling and value-related valences that students ascribed to science and ecological science concepts. The strategy use scale assessed the use of two cognitive strategies (monitoring and elaboration). The knowledge test assessed students' understanding of ecological concepts (the relationship between living organisms and their environment). Scores on all measures were examined for gender differences; no significant gender differences were observed. The motivational and cognitive variables contributed to students' understanding of ecological concepts. After accounting for interest, learning goals, and strategy use, prior knowledge accounted for 28% of the total variance in conceptual understanding. After accounting for prior knowledge, interest, learning goals, and strategy use explained 7%, 6%, and 4% of the total variance in conceptual understanding, respectively. More importantly, these variables were interrelated to each other and to conceptual understanding. After controlling for prior knowledge, learning goals, and strategy use, interest did not predict the variance in conceptual understanding. After controlling for prior knowledge, interest, and strategy use, learning goals did not predict the variance in conceptual understanding. And, after controlling for prior knowledge, interest, and learning goals, strategy use did not predict the variance in conceptual understanding. Results of this study indicated that prior knowledge, interest, learning goals, and strategy use should be included in theoretical models design to explain and to predict fifth grade students' understanding of ecological concepts. Results of this study further suggested that curriculum developers and science teachers need to take fifth grade students' prior knowledge of ecological concepts, interest in science and ecological concepts; intentions to learn and understand ecological concepts, and use of cognitive strategies into account when designing instructional contexts to support these students' understanding of ecological concepts.
We discuss the effect of administering conceptual and quantitative isomorphic problem pairs (CQIPP) back to back vs. asking students to solve only one of the problems in the CQIPP in introductory physics courses. Students who answered both questions in a CQIPP often performed better on the conceptual questions than those who answered the corresponding conceptual questions only. Although students often took advantage of the quantitative counterpart to answer a conceptual question of a CQIPP correctly, when only given the conceptual question, students seldom tried to convert it into a quantitative question, solve it and then reason about the solution conceptually. Even in individual interviews, when students who were only given conceptual questions had difficulty and the interviewer explicitly encouraged them to convert the conceptual question into the corresponding quantitative problem by choosing appropriate variables, a majority of students were reluctant and preferred to guess the answer to the conceptual question based upon their gut feeling.
Dreyfus, Benjamin W.; Elby, Andrew; Gupta, Ayush
The ``particle in a box'' is one of the simple systems that every introductory quantum mechanics student learns to solve exactly, but behind the mathematical simplicity is conceptual complexity. For example, it is not intuitively obvious what are the physical implications of an infinite potential, or why energy eigenstates are not also momentum eigenstates (even though there is zero potential energy at every position where the wavefunction is nonzero). We use the particle in a box to probe the dynamics of student thinking about quantum systems. By analyzing both spoken language and gestures, we observe students reasoning about quantum ``particles'' using properties associated with classical particles, with classical waves, and with neither, and switching among these ways of conceptualizing the quantum ``particle.'' This work is supported by NSF-DUE Grant 1323129.
Versprille, Ashley N.
The purpose of this study is to investigate first-semester general chemistry students' understanding of the chemistry underlying climate change. The first part of this study involves the collection of qualitative data from twenty-four first-semester general chemistry students from a large Midwestern research institution. The semi-structured interview protocol was developed based on alternative conceptions identified in the research literature and the essential principles of climate change outlined in the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) document which pertain to chemistry (CCSP, 2003). The analysis and findings from the interviews indicate conceptual difficulties for students, both with basic climate literacy and underlying chemistry concepts. Students seem to confuse the greenhouse effect, global warming, and the ozone layer, and in terms of chemistry concepts, they lack a particulate level understanding of greenhouse gases and their interaction with electromagnetic radiation, causing them to not fully conceptualize the greenhouse effect and climate change. Based on the findings from these interviews, a Chemistry of Climate Science Diagnostic Instrument (CCSI) was developed for use in courses that teach chemistry with a rich context such as climate science. The CCSI is designed for professors who want to teach general chemistry, while also addressing core climate literacy principles. It will help professors examine their students' prior knowledge and alternative conceptions of the chemistry concepts associated with climate science, which could then inform their teaching and instruction.
Hunter, Roberta; Anthony, Glenda
Informed by theory and research in inquiry-based classrooms, this paper examines how classroom practices support students' understanding of decimals. Data from a six-month teaching experiment, based on the work of Moss and Case's (1999) use of percentages and metric measure as visible representations for students' emerging understanding of…
Zhang, Xiaofen; Clements, M. A. (Ken); Ellerton, Nerida F.
Area-model representations seem to have been dominant in the teaching and learning of fractions, especially in primary school mathematics curricula. In this study, we investigated 40 fifth grade children's understandings of the unit fractions, , and , represented through a variety of different models. Analyses of pre-teaching test and interview data revealed that although the participants were adept at partitioning regional models, they did not cope well with questions for which unit fractions were embodied in non-area-model scenarios. Analyses of post-teaching test and interview data indicated that after their participation in an instructional intervention designed according to Dienes' (1960) dynamic principle, the students' performances on tests improved significantly, and their conceptual understandings of unit fractions developed to the point where they could provide reasonable explanations of how they arrived at solutions. Analysis of retention data, gathered more than 3 months after the teaching intervention, showed that the students' newly found understandings had, in most cases, been retained.
Addison, Colleen; Meyers, Eric
Information literacy, 40 years since the term was coined, remains a conceptually contested aspect of library and information science research. This paper uses a review of the literature related to the concept of information literacy to identify three different perspectives, their historical origins, and connection to library and information…
of the experiences of individuals during the evolution of the human race. The establishment of these structures Conceptual Semantics and of the Unconscious and Conscious, which has been developed in Bartsch 1998 Dynamic and in Bartsch 2002, Consciousness Emerging: The Dynamics of Perception, Imagination, Action, Memory, Thought
Bringing together multiple sources of data and combining existing theories across language teacher cognition, teacher education, second language motivation, and psychology, this empirically-grounded analysis of teacher development in action offers new insights into the complex and dynamic nature of language teachers' conceptual change. (Contains…
O'Callaghan, Brian R.
Describes a research project that examined the effects of the Computer-Intensive Algebra (CIA) and traditional algebra curricula on students' (N=802) understanding of the function concept. Results indicate that CIA students achieved a better understanding of functions and were better at the components of modeling, interpreting, and translating.…
Aleong, Richard James Chung Mun
There is a societal need for design education to prepare holistic engineers with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to innovate and compete globally. Design skills are paramount to the espoused values of higher education, as institutions of higher learning strive to develop in students the cognitive abilities of critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity. To meet these interests from industry and academia, it is important to advance the teaching and learning of engineering design. This research aims to understand how engineering students learn and think about design, as a way for engineering educators to optimize instructional practice and curriculum development. Qualitative research methodology was used to investigate the meaning that engineering students' ascribe to engineering design. The recruitment of participants and corresponding collection of data occurred in two phases using two different data collection techniques. The first phase involved the distribution of a one-time online questionnaire to all first year, third year, and fourth year undergraduate engineering students at three Canadian Universities. After the questionnaire, students were asked if they would be willing to participate in the second phase of data collection consisting of a personal interview. A total of ten students participated in interviews. Qualitative data analysis procedures were conducted on students' responses from the questionnaire and interviews. The data analysis process consisted of two phases: a descriptive phase to code and categorize the data, followed by an interpretative phase to generate further meaning and relationships. The research findings present a conceptual understanding of students' descriptions about engineering design, structured within two educational orientations: a learning studies orientation and a curriculum studies orientation. The learning studies orientation captured three themes of students' understanding of engineering design: awareness, relevance, and transfer. With this framework of student learning, engineering educators can enhance learning experiences by engaging all three levels of students' understanding. The curriculum studies orientation applied the three holistic elements of curriculum---subject matter, society, and the individual---to conceptualize design considerations for engineering curriculum and teaching practice. This research supports the characterization of students' learning experiences to help educators and students optimize their teaching and learning of design education.
Artun, Hüseyin; Co?tu, Bayram
The aim of this study was to explore a group of prospective primary teachers' conceptual understanding of diffusion and osmosis as they implemented a 5E constructivist model and related materials in a science methods course. Fifty prospective primary teachers' ideas were elicited using a pre- and post-test and delayed post-test survey consisting of ten two-tier questions of which an explanatory part was integral. Individual interviews were conducted with six prospective teachers at the end of the implementation of the unit using four questions. Test scores were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. Post-instructional interviews were analyzed qualitatively. Statistical analysis using one-way ANOVA of student test scores pointed to statistically significant differences between pre- and post- and delayed post-test ( p < 0.05). A qualitative analysis of the prospective teachers' explanations in the two-tier questions revealed changes in their ideas overtime. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses suggest that the teaching activities promoted students' conceptual understanding. No statistically significant differences were found between post-test and delayed post-test scores, suggesting that the teaching activities based on 5E model enabled students to retain their new conceptual understanding.
Emigh, Paul J.; Passante, Gina; Shaffer, Peter S.
[This paper is part of the Focused Collection on Upper Division Physics Courses.] The time evolution of quantum states is arguably one of the more difficult ideas in quantum mechanics. In this article, we report on results from an investigation of student understanding of this topic after lecture instruction. We demonstrate specific problems that students have in applying time dependence to quantum systems and in recognizing the key role of the energy eigenbasis in determining the time dependence of wave functions. Through analysis of student responses to a set of four interrelated tasks, we categorize some of the difficulties that underlie common errors. The conceptual and reasoning difficulties that have been identified are illustrated through student responses to four sets of questions administered at different points in a junior-level course on quantum mechanics. Evidence is also given that the problems persist throughout undergraduate instruction and into the graduate level.
Mosley, William G.
This study investigated the use of concept mapping as a pedagogical strategy to promote change in the learning styles of pre-nursing students. Students' individual learning styles revealed two subsets of students; those who demonstrated a learning style that favors abstract conceptualization and those who demonstrated a learning style that favors concrete experience. Students in the experimental groups performed concept mapping activities designed to facilitate an integrative understanding of interactions between various organ systems of the body while the control group received a traditional didactic instruction without performing concept mapping activities. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected in order to measure differences in student achievement. Analysis of the quantitative data revealed no significant change in the learning styles of students in either the control or experimental groups. Learning style groups were analyzed qualitatively for recurring or emergent themes that students identified as facilitating their learning. An analysis of qualitative data revealed that most students in the pre-nursing program were able to identify concepts within the class based upon visual cues, and a majority of these students exhibited the learning style of abstract conceptualization. As the laboratory experience for the course involves an examination of the anatomical structures of the human body, a visual identification of these structures seemed to be the most logical method to measure students' ability to identify anatomical structures.
Dawson, Vaille; Schibeci, Renato
Are science educators providing secondary school students with the background to understand the science behind recent controversies such as the recently introduced compulsory labelling of genetically modified foods? Research from the UK suggests that many secondary school students do not understand the processes or implications of modern biotechnology. The situation in Australia is unclear. In this study, 1116 15-year-old students from eleven Western Australian schools were surveyed to determine their understanding of, and attitude towards, recent advances in modern biotechnology. The results indicate that approximately one third of students have little or no understanding of biotechnology. Many students over-estimate the use of biotechnology in our society by confusing current uses with possible future applications. The results provide a rationale for the inclusion of biotechnology, a cutting edge science, in the school science curriculum
Jones, Kevin C.
In this research report the author details a phenomenological study documenting identity development in student veterans making the transition from active military service to higher education. This study took place at a doctoral granting proprietary university with a significant veteran population and consisted of in-depth interviews. This…
Philpot, Cindy J.
Recent reform efforts in science education focus on scientific literacy for all citizens. In order to be scientifically literate, an individual must have informed understandings of nature of science (NOS), scientific inquiry, and science content matter. This study specifically focused on Science Olympiad students' understanding of NOS as one piece of scientific literacy. Research consistently shows that science students do not have informed understandings of NOS (Abd-El-Khalick, 2002; Bell, Blair, Crawford, and Lederman, 2002; Kilcrease and Lucy, 2002; Schwartz, Lederman, and Thompson, 2001). However, McGhee-Brown, Martin, Monsaas and Stombler (2003) found that Science Olympiad students had in-depth understandings of science concepts, principles, processes, and techniques. Science Olympiad teams compete nationally and are found in rural, urban, and suburban schools. In an effort to learn from students who are generally considered high achieving students and who enjoy science, as opposed to the typical science student, the purpose of this study was to investigate Science Olympiad students' understandings of NOS and the experiences that formed their understandings. An interpretive, qualitative, case study method was used to address the research questions. The participants were purposefully and conveniently selected from the Science Olympiad team at a suburban high school. Data collection consisted of the Views of Nature of Science -- High School Questionnaire (VNOS-HS) (Schwartz, Lederman, & Thompson, 2001), semi-structured individual interviews, and a focus group. The main findings of this study were similar to much of the previous research in that the participants had informed understandings of the tentative nature of science and the role of inferences in science, but they did not have informed understandings of the role of human imagination and creativity, the empirical nature of science, or theories and laws. High level science classes and participation in Science Olympiad did not translate into informed understandings of NOS. There were implications that labs with a set procedure and given data tables did not contribute to informed NOS understandings, while explicit instruction may have contributed to more informed understandings. Exploring these high achieving, Science Olympiad students' understandings of NOS was a crucial step to understanding what experiences formed these students' understandings so that teachers may better their practices and help more students succeed in becoming scientifically literate citizens.
Cavallo, Ann M. L.; White, Kevin J.; McCall, David
This study explored interrelationships among high school students' views about nature of science (NOS), acceptance of evolution, and conceptual understanding of evolution, and the extent to which these may have shifted from pre- to post-instruction on evolutionary theory. Eighty-one students enrolled in ninth-grade Biology responded to…
Fowler, Samantha R.
The purpose of this study was to explore the evolution science content used during college students' negotiation of biology-based socioscientific issues (SSI) and examine how it related to students' conceptual understanding and acceptance of biological evolution. Specific research questions were, (1a) what specific evolutionary science content do…
Vokos, Stamatis; Shaffer, Peter S.; Ambrose, Bradley S.; McDermott, Lillian C.
Reports on a study of student understanding of the wave nature of matter in the context of the pattern produced by the diffraction and interference of particles. Errors made by students after standard instruction indicates the presence of similar conceptual and reasoning difficulties at three different educational levels. (Contains over 20…
Stewart, Jim; Dale, Michael
Investigates high school students' understanding of the physical relationship of chromosomes and genes as expressed in their conceptual models and in their ability to manipulate the models to explain solutions to dihybrid cross problems. Describes three typical models and three students' reasoning processes. Discusses four implications. (YP)
This study explored two groups of Grade 11 (age 16-17) students' conceptual understandings about aspects of particle theory before, immediately after, and 3 months after instruction with multiple representations (IMR) and instruction with verbal representations (IVR). Data sources included open-ended questionnaires, interviews, and student…
Barnett, Michael; Yamagata-Lynch, Lisa; Keating, Tom; Barab, Sasha A.; Hay, Kenneth E.
The purpose of this study was to examine how 3-dimensional (3-D) models of the Solar System supported student development of conceptual understandings of various astronomical phenomena that required a change in frame of reference. In the course described in this study, students worked in teams to design and construct 3-D virtual reality computer…
In this article, the students teachers' opinions, including rock formation and improper terms related to or different from these ideas, all of which are considered or must be considered in geology classes, have been analyzed. Alternative conception is used to inform our understanding of students teachers' ideas and describe any conceptual…
Westbrook, Susan L.; Marek, Edmund A.
The conceptual views of homeostasis held by students (n=300) in seventh grade life science, tenth grade biology, and college zoology were examined. A biographical questionnaire, the results from two Piagetian-like developmental tasks, and a concept evaluation statement of homeostasis were collected from each student. Understanding of the concept…
Gazit, Elhanan; Yair, Yoav; Chen, David
This study describes high school students' conceptual development of the basic astronomical phenomena during real-time interactions with a Virtual Solar System (VSS). The VSS is a non-immersive virtual environment which has a dynamic frame of reference that can be altered by the user. Ten 10th grade students were given tasks containing a set of…
Caskey, Nourah Al-Rashid
Field trips are a basic and important, yet often overlooked part of the student experience. They provide the opportunity to integrate real world knowledge with classroom learning and student previous personal experiences. Outdoor guided field trips leave students with an increased understanding, awareness and interest and in science. However, the benefits of this experience are ambiguous at best (Falk and Balling, 1982; Falk and Dierking, 1992; Kisiel, 2006.) Students on an outdoor guided field trip to a local nature park experienced a significant increase in their understanding of the rock cycle. The changes in the pre-field trip test and the post-field trip test as well as their answers in interviews showed a profound change in the students' understanding and in their interest in the subject matter. The use of the "student's voice" (Bamberger and Tal, 2008) was the motivation for data analysis. By using the students' voice, I was able to determine the mechanisms that might influence their understanding of a subject. The central concepts emerging from the data were: the outdoor setting; the students' interest; the social interaction. From these central concepts, a conceptual model was developed. The outdoor setting allows for the freedom to explore, touch, smell and movement. This, in turn, leads to an increased interest in subject matter. As the students are exploring, they are enjoying themselves and become more open to learning. Interest leads to a desire to learn (Dewey, 1975). In addition to allowing the freedom to explore and move, the outdoor setting creates the condition for social interaction. The students talk to each other as they walk; they have in-depth discourse regarding the subject matter---with the teachers, each other and with the guides. The guides have an extremely important role in the students' learning. The more successful guides not only act as experts, but also adjust to the students' needs and act or speak accordingly. The interconnections of these three concepts---the outdoor setting, the students' interest, the social interaction---worked to provide the mechanisms by which the students increased their understanding of the rock cycle.
Emergent processes are distinguished from non-emergent processes on the basis of the qualitative relationships among the agents' interactions and the causal relationships between the agents' interactions and the pattern. Research suggests students often have robust misconceptions about emergent processes (such as diffusion) because they do not have the mental model to interpret these processes This study investigates the extent to which a domain-general understanding of emergent processes can help provide students with an enhanced understanding of diffusion and osmosis This is a quasi-experimental study using non-equivalent groups design to compare the treatment and control groups. Sixty-six community college students enrolled in an introductory biology course comprised the participants. Students' prior knowledge about emergent processes, diffusion, and osmosis were assessed by pre-tests. The treatment group received the intervention -- an instructional module about the differences between scientific processes that are emergent versus processes that are non-emergent. The control group did not receive the intervention but received the process assessment to determine incoming knowledge about scientific processes and any gains in knowledge about scientific processes. Both groups received the same specific content instruction about diffusion and osmosis, which was derived from the regular and established curriculum for the course. Both groups were given post-tests to assess whether they learned the concepts, and whether they were able to achieve a deep understanding that resulted in a comprehension of the transport of substances across cell membranes and how that might be applied in particular health-related situations. Data were analyzed using t-tests and analysis of variance. No statistically significant differences were found between the two groups based on the learning measures Limitations include sample restrictions and not taking into account individual ability levels of the participants. In addition, the short length of this intervention may not provide adequate time for students to successfully acquire the schema to understand conceptually difficult science concepts such as diffusion and osmosis. Future directions of research include expanding the sample size and length of exposure to the intervention, in addition to examining the individual ability levels of the participants.
A design research study was conducted over two years with 20 second grade students who are part of the Measure Up (MU) research and development project underway at the University of Hawai'i. Students were asked to count in multiple bases. After doing so, they were asked how they knew when to go to a new place value and why it was necessary. All 20…
Papanikolaou, Christos P.; Tombras, George S.; Van De Bogart, Kevin L.; Stetzer, MacKenzie R.
The research reported in this article represents a systematic, multi-year investigation of student understanding of the behavior of basic operational-amplifier (op-amp) circuits. The participants in this study were undergraduates enrolled in upper-division physics courses on analog electronics at three different institutions, as well as undergraduates in introductory and upper-division electrical engineering courses at one of the institutions. The findings indicate that many students complete these courses without developing a functional understanding of the behavior of op-amp circuits. This article describes the most prevalent conceptual and reasoning difficulties identified (typically after lecture and hands-on laboratory experience) as well as several implications for electronics instruction that have emerged from this investigation.
Naah, Basil M.; Sanger, Michael J.
In a previous study, the authors identified several student misconceptions regarding the process of dissolving ionic compounds in water. The present study used multiple-choice questions whose distractors were derived from these misconceptions to assess students' understanding of the dissolving process at the symbolic and particulate levels. The…
Rowntree, Rebecca V.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics [NCTM] requires students in grades nine through 12 to be able to explain inequalities using mathematical relational symbols and be able to understand the meaning of inequalities and their solutions (NCTM, 2000). Studies have shown that not only middle and high school students have difficulties with…
Secada, Walter G.; De La Cruz, Yolanda
When children's own strategies for solving mathematical problems are not connected to the way mathematics is taught in school, students fail to make sense of mathematics instruction and begin to "fail." This chapter adopts the position that student understanding of worthwhile mathematical content is the essential goal of mathematics education, and…
Lamis, Dorian A.; Lester, David
Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death among college students in the United States. This complex issue on college campuses is often overlooked, and this book combines the efforts from several leaders in the field of suicidology in an attempt to grasp a better understanding of college student suicide. The book is divided into four…
Phuket, Pimpisa Rattanadilok Na; Othman, Normah Binti
Writing is the most difficult skill in English, so most EFL students tend to make errors in writing. In assisting the learners to successfully acquire writing skill, the analysis of errors and the understanding of their sources are necessary. This study attempts to explore the major sources of errors occurred in the writing of EFL students. It…
Jones, Steven R.
Researchers are currently investigating how calculus students understand the basic concepts of first-year calculus, including the integral. However, much is still unknown regarding the "cognitive resources" (i.e., stable cognitive units that can be accessed by an individual) that students hold and draw on when thinking about the integral. This…
Zhu Guangtian; Singh, Chandralekha
We describe the difficulties advanced undergraduate and graduate students have with quantum measurement. To reduce these difficulties, we have developed research-based learning tools such as the Quantum Interactive Learning Tutorial (QuILT) and peer instruction tools. A preliminary evaluation shows that these learning tools are effective in improving students' understanding of concepts related to quantum measurement.
Hopkins, Robert, II; Alberts, Halley
This activity is designed as a primer to teaching population dispersion analysis. The aim is to help improve students' spatial thinking and their understanding of how spatial statistic equations work. Students use simulated data to develop their own statistic and apply that equation to experimental behavioral data for Gambusia affinis (western…
Dawson, Vaille; Schibeci, Renato
Surveys (n=1116) 15-year-old students from 11 Western Australian schools to determine their understanding of and attitude towards recent advances in modern biotechnology. Discusses reasons for students' over-estimation of the use of biotechnology in society. Provides a rationale for the inclusion of biotechnology, a cutting edge science, in the…
Kautz, Christian H.
The Physics Education Group at the University of Washington has been examining student understanding of thermal physics. Analysis of responses to test questions indicates that many students fail to recognize that the ideal gas law does not depend on the type of gas. Students' ideas about the particles at the microscopic level seem to contribute to their difficulties. The presentation will illustrate how research has guided the design of instructional materials.
Musso, Mandi W; Barker, Alyse A; Proto, Daniel A; Gouvier, Wm Drew
Precedential rulings in recent capital murder trials may, in some cases, leave it up to a jury to determine whether or not an individual meets criteria for an intellectual disability (ID) and should be spared from the death penalty. Despite the potential for misconceptions about ID to bias decisions, few empirical studies have examined the public's conceptualizations of individuals with ID. This study sought to examine 890 college students' conceptualizations of the deficits involved in mild ID. Students were asked to respond to two online surveys about the cognitive and adaptive behavior deficits that people with mild ID may experience. While most students were correct about basic facts, such as ID is not contagious and not curable, there was no clear consensus regarding beliefs about individuals with ID getting married, having children, or engaging in other mainstream activities of adult living. Students' responses are examined in light of results of studies that identify and examine bona fide deficits and areas of successful mainstreaming among persons with ID. Implications of misconceptions are discussed. PMID:22093668
Saglam, Murat; Millar, Robin
Although electromagnetism is an important component of upper secondary school physics syllabuses in many countries, there has been relatively little research on students' understanding of the topic. A written test consisting of 16 diagnostic questions was developed and used to survey the understanding of electromagnetism of upper secondary school…
Crouse, Andrew D.
This dissertation reports on an investigation of student understanding of topics in quantum mechanics that are at a level appropriate for the third year of undergraduate study. Initially, the focus was on student ability to relate classical and quantum mechanics. This early research led naturally to the investigation of student understanding of time-dependence, which is the primary emphasis in this dissertation. Research on student learning of more advanced topics ensued. The conceptual and reasoning difficulties that were identified have informed the development of tutorials to improve student learning. Initial assessment of that curriculum has yielded encouraging results.
Shore, Mark A.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of the Casio 9850 and the TI-85 graphing calculators on college students' procedural skills and conceptual understanding in two different developmental mathematics courses. The courses used in this study were Elementary Algebra and Intermediate Algebra. Both the non-graphing calculator group…
Golden, Barry W.
This research examined middle school student conceptions about global climate change (GCC) and the change these conceptions undergo during an argument driven instructional unit. The theoretical framework invoked for this study is the framework theory of conceptual change (Vosniadou, 2007a). This theory posits that students do not simply correct incorrect ideas with correct ones, but instead weigh incoming ideas against already existing explanatory frameworks, which have likely served the learner well to this point. The research questions were as follows: (1) What are the patterns of students' conceptual change in GCC? (a) What conceptions are invoked in student learning in this arena? (b) What conceptions are most influential? (c) What are the extra-rational factors influencing conceptual change in GCC? This research took place in an urban public school in a medium sized city in the southeastern United States. A sixth grade science teacher at Central Middle school, Ms. Octane, taught a course titled "Research Methods I., which was an elective science course that students took as part of a science magnet program. A unit was designed for 6th grade instruction that incorporated an Argument-Driven Inquiry (ADI) approach, centered on the subject matter of Global Climate change and Global Warming. Students were immersed in three separate lessons within the unit, each of which featured an emphasis upon creating scientific explanations based upon evidence. Additionally, each of the lessons placed a premium on students working towards the development of such explanations as a part of a group, with an emphasis on peer review of the robustness of the explanations proposed. The students were involved in approximately a two week unit emphasizing global climate change. This unit was based on an argumentation model that provided data to students and asked them to develop explanations that accounted for the data. The students then underwent a peer-review process to determine if their explanations could be modified to better account for the data as pointed out by peers. As the students experienced the three lessons comprising the unit, data were taken of various modes, including pre-unit, mid-unit, post-unit, and delayed-post unit interviews, observer notes from the classroom, and artifacts created by the students as individuals and as members of a group. At the end of the unit, a written post-assessment was administered, and post-interviews were conducted with the selected students. These varied data sources were analyzed in order to develop themes corresponding to their frameworks of climate change. Negative cases were sought in order to test developing themes. Themes that emerged from the data were triangulated across the various data sources in order to ensure quality and rigor. These themes were then used to construct understandings of various students' frameworks of the content. Several findings emerged from this research. The first finding is that each student underwent some conceptual change regarding GCC, although of varying natures. The students' synthetic frameworks of GCC were more complex than their initial, or naive frameworks. Some characteristics of the naive frameworks included that the students tended to conflate climate change with a broader, generic category of environmental things. Examples of this conflation include the idea that climate change entails general pollution, litter, and needless killing of dolphins while fishing for tuna. This research suggests that students might benefit from explicit attention to this concept in terms of an ontological category, with the ideal synthetic view realizing that GCC is itself an example of an emergent process. Another characteristic of their naive frameworks includes some surprisingly accurate notions of GCC, including a general sense that temperatures and sea levels are rising. At the same time, none of the students were able to adequately invoke data to support their understandings of GCC. Instead, when data were invoked, students tended to include anecdotal informat
Rabin, Colette; Smith, Grinell
An ethic of care acknowledges the centrality of the role of caring relationships in moral education. Care ethics requires a conception of "care" that differs from the quotidian use of the word. In order to teach care ethics more effectively, this article discusses four interrelated ways that teachers' understandings of care differ…
Borg, C.; Gericke, N.; Höglund, H.-O.; Bergman, E.
This article describes the results of a nationwide questionnaire study of 3229 Swedish upper secondary school teachers' conceptual understanding of sustainable development in relation to their subject discipline and teaching experience. Previous research has shown that teachers have difficulties understanding the complex concept of…
Quebedeaux, James Edward
The focus of this study was to identify major conceptual difficulties that selected public high school physical science students encounter in understanding a standard electromagnetic spectrum diagram. A research-driven, modified version of that standard diagram was used in this study to determine the value added to student understanding of electromagnetic waves. A content analysis was performed on electromagnetic spectrum diagrams found in US textbooks from the 1950s through the present. A class of public high school physical science students participated in a study consisting of four activities conducted during a three-week unit. Students were given a pre- and post-achievement test and a pre- and post-survey on the regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. At the conclusion of each activity, selected students were interviewed and each co-constructed a concept map with the researcher. The Electromagnetic Spectrum Literacy Rubric (ESLR) was designed and used to assess students' conceptual understanding periodically as they proceeded through the unit study. A mixed methods analysis was performed, employing both qualitative and quantitative data. A paired t-test determined that there was a statistically significant difference (p = 0.014) between the pre- and post-achievement test scores for the class of students participating in the unit study. Effect sizes also determined that students have difficulties with mathematical calculations and wave properties. These topics present conceptual challenges which must be overcome to understand and use an electromagnetic spectrum diagram effectively.
Rose, Nancy L.
The purpose of this study was to explore student changes in conceptual development, epistemology, and motivations when evolution concepts are embedded and explicit reflective discourse is used in a unit for population ecology. The two research problems were: (1) What changes are observed in student's conceptual development, epistemology, and motivations when there is explicit reflective discourse within a population ecology unit with embedded evolution?, and (2) In what ways does explicit reflection influence students' mental models within a population ecology unit with embedded evolution? This mixed-method, quasi-experimental study assessed two regular high school biology classes in a small, urban, Midwestern high school. Students in this study had not studied evolution within any formal chapters, but had been immersed in a curriculum with embedded evolution. The study was conducted over a four-week period in a population ecology unit near the beginning of second semester. Instruction emphasized basic conceptions in population ecology. Five key intervention activities included evolutionary concepts as part of an embedded curriculum. The independent variable was explicit reflective discourse with one or two intervention questions after completion of these activities. Data included pre- and posttest surveys measuring (a) evolutionary understanding of natural selection, (b) science beliefs, and (c) science motivations. Written artifacts included (a) explanations to scenarios, (b) pre- and post-argument reflections revealing student's science beliefs and science motivations resultant from two argumentations, and (c) three, pre-, post-, and 6-week final concept maps constructed from 12 concepts. All data sources provided descriptive data. Conceptual change was interpreted from an ontological, epistemological, and motivational perspective. The experimental class receiving explicit reflective discourse showed greater overall increases in conceptual development. Students in both classes constructed teleological and proximate explanations. Overall, the experimental class gave greater numbers of evolutionary explanations. Scored propositions from concept maps showed a mixture of synthetic and scientific conceptions in both classes, however the experimental group showed greater scientific quality. Students in both classes exhibited direct-process ontology. Both classes had high degrees of epistemological and motivational commitments demonstrated by their engagement and subsequent improvements in conceptual development in both evolutionary and ecological conceptions.
Smith, Trevor I.; Mountcastle, Donald B.; Thompson, John R.
[This paper is part of the Focused Collection on Upper Division Physics Courses.] We present results of our investigation into student understanding of the physical significance and utility of the Boltzmann factor in several simple models. We identify various justifications, both correct and incorrect, that students use when answering written questions that require application of the Boltzmann factor. Results from written data as well as teaching interviews suggest that many students can neither recognize situations in which the Boltzmann factor is applicable nor articulate the physical significance of the Boltzmann factor as an expression for multiplicity, a fundamental quantity of statistical mechanics. The specific student difficulties seen in the written data led us to develop a guided-inquiry tutorial activity, centered around the derivation of the Boltzmann factor, for use in undergraduate statistical mechanics courses. We report on the development process of our tutorial, including data from teaching interviews and classroom observations of student discussions about the Boltzmann factor and its derivation during the tutorial development process. This additional information informed modifications that improved students' abilities to complete the tutorial during the allowed class time without sacrificing the effectiveness as we have measured it. These data also show an increase in students' appreciation of the origin and significance of the Boltzmann factor during the student discussions. Our findings provide evidence that working in groups to better understand the physical origins of the canonical probability distribution helps students gain a better understanding of when the Boltzmann factor is applicable and how to use it appropriately in answering relevant questions.
Calik, Muammer; Ayas, Alipasa; Coll, Richard Kevin
This paper reports on the use of a constructivist-based pedagogy to enhance understanding of some features of solution chemistry. Pre-service science teacher trainees' prior knowledge about the dissolution of salts and sugar in water were elicited by the use of a simple diagnostic tool. The test revealed widespread alternative conceptions. These…
Zhu Guangtian; Singh, Chandralekha
The Stern Gerlach experiment has played a central role in the discovery of spin angular momentum and it has also played a pivotal role in elucidating foundational issues in quantum mechanics. Here, we discuss investigation of students' difficulties related to the Stern Gerlach experiment by giving written tests and interviewing advanced undergraduate and graduate students in quantum mechanics. We also discuss preliminary data that suggest that the Quantum Interactive Learning Tutorial (QuILT) related to the Stern Gerlach experiment is helpful in improving students' understanding of these concepts.
Secrest, S; Secrest, Scott; Novodvorsky, Ingrid
This paper reports on a study of student understanding of induced EMF. Students enrolled in a physics lab course completed a pretest and posttest that included questions about induced EMF. Following the posttest, some of those students participated in interviews in which they elaborated on their ideas. Pretest and posttest data are presented in the article, as well as sample interview text. After instruction in the lab course, most students were able to identify that moving a magnet near a coil would induce a current. However, nearly half were unable to correctly determine the direction of the induced current. Many students also demonstrated difficulty with the idea that an EMF is induced by a changing magnetic flux, not just a changing magnetic field.
Bachman, Rachel Marie
This study investigated the effectiveness of two remedial mathematics courses that aimed to (a) present topics conceptually, (b) construct adequate schemata, and (c) introduce students to the culture of mathematics. The topics covered during the two courses were word problems, equivalence, variables and expressions, equations and inequalities, and…
Phelps, Andrea J; Forbes, David; Creamer, Mark
Posttraumatic nightmares (PTNMs) are a highly prevalent and distressing symptom of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), yet have been subject to limited phenomenological investigation. As a result, the parameters of the symptom required to meet diagnostic criterion for PTSD are unclear and their relationship with normal dreams following trauma is not known. A categorical distinction between PTNMs and normal dreams has been assumed, explicitly within dreaming theories and perhaps implicitly within the PTSD field, but lacks empirical support. This paper reviews the current understanding of PTNMs and normal dreams following trauma within the PTSD and dreaming fields respectively. It is argued that models of PTSD can readily account for repetitive PTNMs that accurately replay the traumatic event, but not those that are symbolic of the traumatic event. On the other hand, theories of dreaming that propose a psychologically adaptive function of dreams can account for both replay and symbolic nightmares that evolve over time, but not those that are stuck in repetition. It is concluded that there is no adequate explanation for the range of dreams following trauma including the PTNM of PTSD that is both symbolic and repetitive. Three alternate explanatory models are proposed that draw on existing knowledge within both the PTSD and dreaming fields to explain the full range of nightmares following trauma. PMID:17629384
The software industry needs well-trained software designers and one important aspect of software design is the ability to model software designs visually and understand what visual models represent. However, previous research indicates that software design is a difficult task to many students. This article reports empirical findings from a…
Cook-Cottone, Catherine P.; Dutt-Doner, Karen; Schoen, David
This study evaluates the use of full-text databases amongst 425 undergraduate and graduate students in western New York. A review of literature implicated convenience, time issues, article retrieval option knowledge, and the appreciation and understanding of research article quality as potential predictors of full-text reliance. These variables…
Davis, Robert S.; Ginns, Ian S.; McRobbie, Campbell J.
Students in grades 2 (n=27), 4 (n=37), and 6 (n=28) were asked questions about artifacts or pictures. Their explanations, which revealed their understanding of such technological concepts as material properties and stability, were classified as naive, artifact related, or not artifact related. Explanations tended to cluster in a classification at…
Outlines 10 issues concerning credit that students should understand: credit reports; credit reporting; obligations when signing/cosigning a loan; creating positive credit history; privacy and the credit report; how lenders make and monitor credit decisions; mailing lists and preapproved credit offers; protecting against credit card fraud; use of…
Valentijn, Pim P.; Schepman, Sanneke M.; Opheij, Wilfrid; Bruijnzeels, Marc A.
Introduction Primary care has a central role in integrating care within a health system. However, conceptual ambiguity regarding integrated care hampers a systematic understanding. This paper proposes a conceptual framework that combines the concepts of primary care and integrated care, in order to understand the complexity of integrated care. Methods The search method involved a combination of electronic database searches, hand searches of reference lists (snowball method) and contacting researchers in the field. The process of synthesizing the literature was iterative, to relate the concepts of primary care and integrated care. First, we identified the general principles of primary care and integrated care. Second, we connected the dimensions of integrated care and the principles of primary care. Finally, to improve content validity we held several meetings with researchers in the field to develop and refine our conceptual framework. Results The conceptual framework combines the functions of primary care with the dimensions of integrated care. Person-focused and population-based care serve as guiding principles for achieving integration across the care continuum. Integration plays complementary roles on the micro (clinical integration), meso (professional and organisational integration) and macro (system integration) level. Functional and normative integration ensure connectivity between the levels. Discussion The presented conceptual framework is a first step to achieve a better understanding of the inter-relationships among the dimensions of integrated care from a primary care perspective. PMID:23687482
Lunk, Brandon Robert
With the growing push to include computational modeling in the physics classroom, we are faced with the need to better understand students' computational modeling practices. While existing research on programming comprehension explores how novices and experts generate programming algorithms, little of this discusses how domain content knowledge, and physics knowledge in particular, can influence students' programming practices. In an effort to better understand this issue, I have developed a framework for modeling these practices based on a resource stance towards student knowledge. A resource framework models knowledge as the activation of vast networks of elements called "resources." Much like neurons in the brain, resources that become active can trigger cascading events of activation throughout the broader network. This model emphasizes the connectivity between knowledge elements and provides a description of students' knowledge base. Together with resources resources, the concepts of "epistemic games" and "frames" provide a means for addressing the interaction between content knowledge and practices. Although this framework has generally been limited to describing conceptual and mathematical understanding, it also provides a means for addressing students' programming practices. In this dissertation, I will demonstrate this facet of a resource framework as well as fill in an important missing piece: a set of epistemic games that can describe students' computational modeling strategies. The development of this theoretical framework emerged from the analysis of video data of students generating computational models during the laboratory component of a Matter & Interactions: Modern Mechanics course. Student participants across two semesters were recorded as they worked in groups to fix pre-written computational models that were initially missing key lines of code. Analysis of this video data showed that the students' programming practices were highly influenced by their existing physics content knowledge, particularly their knowledge of analytic procedures. While this existing knowledge was often applied in inappropriate circumstances, the students were still able to display a considerable amount of understanding of the physics content and of analytic solution procedures. These observations could not be adequately accommodated by the existing literature of programming comprehension. In extending the resource framework to the task of computational modeling, I model students' practices in terms of three important elements. First, a knowledge base includes re- sources for understanding physics, math, and programming structures. Second, a mechanism for monitoring and control describes students' expectations as being directed towards numerical, analytic, qualitative or rote solution approaches and which can be influenced by the problem representation. Third, a set of solution approaches---many of which were identified in this study---describe what aspects of the knowledge base students use and how they use that knowledge to enact their expectations. This framework allows us as researchers to track student discussions and pinpoint the source of difficulties. This work opens up many avenues of potential research. First, this framework gives researchers a vocabulary for extending Resource Theory to other domains of instruction, such as modeling how physics students use graphs. Second, this framework can be used as the basis for modeling expert physicists' programming practices. Important instructional implications also follow from this research. Namely, as we broaden the use of computational modeling in the physics classroom, our instructional practices should focus on helping students understand the step-by-step nature of programming in contrast to the already salient analytic procedures.
Shaw, Neil; Momsen, Jennifer; Reinagel, Adam; Le, Paul; Taqieddin, Ranya; Long, Tammy
Mutation is the key molecular mechanism generating phenotypic variation, which is the basis for evolution. In an introductory biology course, we used a model-based pedagogy that enabled students to integrate their understanding of genetics and evolution within multiple case studies. We used student-generated conceptual models to assess understanding of the origin of variation. By midterm, only a small percentage of students articulated complete and accurate representations of the origin of variation in their models. Targeted feedback was offered through activities requiring students to critically evaluate peers’ models. At semester's end, a substantial proportion of students significantly improved their representation of how variation arises (though one-third still did not include mutation in their models). Students’ written explanations of the origin of variation were mostly consistent with their models, although less effective than models in conveying mechanistic reasoning. This study contributes evidence that articulating the genetic origin of variation is particularly challenging for learners and may require multiple cycles of instruction, assessment, and feedback. To support meaningful learning of the origin of variation, we advocate instruction that explicitly integrates multiple scales of biological organization, assessment that promotes and reveals mechanistic and causal reasoning, and practice with explanatory models with formative feedback. PMID:25185235
Ridgway, Avis; Quinones, Gloria
The study's purpose was to discover student understanding of play-based curriculum. Traditionally, play has been misunderstood in pedagogical terms, and was widely interpreted in our study. The Early Years Learning Framework suggests educator guidance in sustaining play is essential for learning and development. As teacher educators, we wanted to…
Wall, N.; PytlikZillig, L. M.
In areas such as climate change, where uncertainty is high, it is arguably less difficult to tell when efforts have resulted in changes in knowledge, than when those efforts have resulted in responsible decisions. What is a responsible decision? More broadly, when it comes to citizen input, what is "high quality" input? And most importantly, how are responsible decisions and quality input enhanced? The aim of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of the different dimensions of "responsible" or "quality" public input and citizen decisions by comparing and contrasting the different predictors of those different dimensions. We first present different possibilities for defining, operationalizing and assessing responsible or high quality decisions. For example, responsible decisions or quality input might be defined as using specific content (e.g., using climate change information in decisions appropriately), as using specific processes (e.g., investing time and effort in learning about and discussing the issues prior to making decisions), or on the basis of some judgment of the decision or input itself (e.g., judgments of the rationale provided for the decisions, or number of issues considered when giving input). Second, we present results from our work engaging people with science policy topics, and the different ways that we have tried to define these two constructs. In the area of climate change specifically, we describe the development of a short survey that assesses exposure to climate information, knowledge of and attitudes toward climate change, and use of climate information in one's decisions. Specifically, the short survey was developed based on a review of common surveys of climate change related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors, and extensive piloting and cognitive interviews. Next, we analyze more than 200 responses to that survey (data collection is currently ongoing and will be complete after the AGU deadline), and report the predictors of reported use of climate information in one's personal and work-related decisions, as well as significant predictors of one's willingness to commit to attend a four-hour public meeting and discussion with city leaders and energy experts for the purposes of thinking about and discussing local energy-related decisions. Finally, in order to consider future directions for assessing "responsible" or "quality" input in the area of climate change, we report data and results from experimental studies conducted in a different area of science: nanotechnology. Specifically, we discuss our methods for assessing quality of written input on the future development and regulation of nanotechnology under different experimental conditions (e.g., written alone or after discussion with a group), and the compare and contrast the best predictors of those operational definitions to those that we have explored in the area of climate change outreach contexts. Discussion will focus on the pros and cons of different ways of assessing the quality of public input.
Hirschy, Amy S.; Bremer, Christine D.; Castellano, Marisa
Career and technical education (CTE) students pursuing occupational associate's degrees or certificates differ from students seeking academic majors at 2-year institutions in several ways. This article examines several theoretical models of student persistence and offers a conceptual model of student success focused on CTE students in community…
Södervik, Ilona; Mikkilä-Erdmann, Mirjamaija; Vilppu, Henna
The purpose of this study was to investigate elementary school pre-service teachers' understanding of photosynthesis and to examine if a refutational text can support understanding of photosynthesis better than a non-refutational text. A total of 91 elementary school pre-service teachers read either a refutational or a non-refutational text concerning photosynthesis and then answered open-ended questions. Our results indicate that there are critical problems associated with student teachers learning about the process of photosynthesis, even after it has been systematically taught in teacher education. However, the results positively indicate that refutational science texts seem to foster effective conceptual change among student teachers. The results interestingly showed that students who read a refutational text improved their systemic and factual understanding of photosynthesis more than did those who read a non-refutational text. Especially students who had naïve prior understanding regarding photosynthesis benefitted more from a refutational text. Thus, a refutational text may act as an effective facilitator of conceptual change. These results have implications for teacher education, where conceptual mastery of the most important science phenomena, such as photosynthesis, should be achieved. A refutational text is an easy and effective way to support conceptual change in higher education. Thus, this study highlights the importance of domain-specific science education in teacher programmes.
Friedler, Y.; And Others
This study identified students' conceptual difficulties in understanding concepts and processes associated with cell water relationships (osmosis), determined possible reasons for these difficulties, and pilot-tested instruments and research strategies for a large scale comprehensive study. Research strategies used included content analysis of…
Nyachwaya, James Mochoge
Research in chemical education has shown that while students (K-20) can perform well on tasks that require use of algorithmic and symbolic skills, they struggle with tasks that require conceptual understanding of chemistry. One area where such a trend has been observed is the Particulate Nature of Matter (PNM). A number of factors have been…
This dissertation investigated the conceptual schemes children constructed as they related division number sentences to various types of fractions: Proper fractions, improper fractions, and mixed numbers in both contextual and abstract symbolic forms. It was hypothesized that student's understanding depends heavily on the role played by factors…
Trundle, Kathy Cabe; Atwood, Ronald K.; Christopher, John E.; Sackes, Mesut
This study investigated the effect of non-traditional guided inquiry instruction on middle school students' conceptual understandings of lunar concepts. Multiple data sources were used to describe participants' conceptions of lunar phases and their cause, including drawings, interviews, and a lunar shapes card sort. The data were analyzed via a…
Tao, Ying; Oliver, Mary Colette; Venville, Grady Jane
Children have formal science instruction from kindergarten in Australia and from Year 3 in China. The purpose of this research was to explore the impact that different approaches to primary science curricula in China and Australia have on children's conceptual understanding of science. Participants were Year 3 children from three schools of high,…
Tao, Ying; Oliver, Mary; Venville, Grady
The purpose of this study was to explore Chinese and Australian primary children's conceptual understandings of the Earth. The research was conducted in the interpretive paradigm and was designed to be descriptive with comparative and cross sectional elements. Participants were Year 3 and Year 6 children from three schools in Hunan Province,…
Milligan, Andrea; Wood, Bronwyn
Teaching for conceptual understanding has been heralded as an effective approach within many curriculum frameworks internationally in an age of rapid and constant change around what counts as "knowledge". Drawing from research and experience within the social studies curriculum, this paper reflects on some of the largely unstated and unexplored…
Successful aging and lifelong learning are value-laden concepts that are culturally determined. To this effect, people with different value systems and cultural backgrounds may perceive and understand these two concepts differently, resulting in different definitions and conceptualizations by people in diverse cultural contexts. There have been…
Herrington, Deborah G.; Yezierski, Ellen J.
The recent revisions to the advanced placement (AP) chemistry curriculum promote deep conceptual understanding of chemistry content over more rote memorization of facts and algorithmic problem solving. For many teachers, this will mean moving away from traditional worksheets and verification lab activities that they have used to address the vast…
Murawska, Jaclyn Marie
This research study examined the development of 43 preservice elementary school teachers' conceptual understanding of place value after participating in a research-based constructivist unit of instruction in place value. The preservice teachers were enrolled in one of three terms of an elementary mathematics methods course in a private…
Vacik, H W; Nagy, M C; Jessee, P O
The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of graduate students in the fields of nursing, social work, child life, and counseling education regarding children's understanding of illness concepts. Students were assessed as to their knowledge of children's perceptions of illness as described from a Piagetian developmental viewpoint. Eighty-five graduate students from a southern university in the fields of nursing, social work, child development/child life, and counseling categorized statements made by children regarding their understanding of illness concepts. A data-gathering instrument, developed by Perrin & Perrin (1983), was used to assess the graduate students' ability to assign a developmental age to children's responses to illness-concept questions. Additionally, the students were evaluated on their knowledge of how children perceive illness identification, causality, prevention, treatment, and use of medication. The students correctly categorized by age, children's statements regarding illness concepts only 38% of the time and correctly identified knowledge statements 50% of the time. No remarkable differences were found among the areas of specialization. Without a knowledge base of developmental theories that can be applied directly to clinical practice, nurses are at a disadvantage when working with children and their families. A better understanding of children's communication needs can ultimately lead to improved coping abilities on the part of the child and appropriate interventions on the part of the nurse. The relatively low number of correct responses suggests a need for additional training opportunities that would incorporate cognitive developmental theory into clinical practice for nurses and other health care professionals who plan to work with children. PMID:11740790
Kariuki, Patrick N.; Morris, Dustin A.
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between reading comprehension scores and conceptual mathematics scores of third grade students at a selected elementary school. The sample consisted of 27 students of which 15 were females and 12 were males. Data were collected using a teacher made conceptual math exam and the scores from…
Hu, Dehui; Rebello, N. Sanjay
Calculus is used across many physics topics from introductory to upper-division courses. The fundamental concepts of differentiation and integration are important tools for solving real-world problems involving nonuniformly distributed quantities. Research in physics education has reported students’ lack of ability to transfer their calculus knowledge to physics. In order to better understand students’ deficiencies, we collected data from group teaching or learning interviews as students solved physics problems requiring setting up integrals. We adapted the conceptual blending framework from cognitive science to make sense of the ways in which students combined their knowledge from calculus and physics to set up integrals. We found that many students were not able to blend their mathematics and physics knowledge in a productive way though they have the required mathematics knowledge. We discussed the productive and unproductive blends that students created when setting up integrals. The results of the study also suggested possible strategies to shifting students’ constructing of blends to more powerful ones.
Lobato, Joanne; Hohensee, Charles; Rhodehamel, Bohdan; Diamond, Jaime
Despite the proliferation of mathematics standards internationally and despite general agreement on the importance of teaching for conceptual understanding, conceptual learning goals for many K-12 mathematics topics have not been well-articulated. This article presents a coherent set of five conceptual learning goals for a complex mathematical…
Quantum entanglement is a central concept of quantum theory for multiple particles. Entanglement played an important role in the development of the foundations of the theory and makes possible modern applications in quantum information technology. As part of the QuVis Quantum Mechanics Visualization Project, we developed an interactive simulation "Entanglement: The nature of quantum correlations" using two-particle entangled spin states. We investigated student understanding of entanglement at the introductory and advanced undergraduate levels by collecting student activity and post-test responses using two versions of the simulation and carrying out a small number of student interviews. Common incorrect ideas found include statements that all entangled states must be maximally entangled (i.e. show perfect correlations or anticorrelations along all common measurement axes), that the spins of particles in a product state must have definite values (cannot be in a superposition state with respect to spin) and di...
Wagner, D. J.; Rivera, J. J.; Mateycik, Fran; Jennings, Sybillyn
This paper reports on methods used to probe student understandings of optical fibers and total internal reflection (TIR). The study was conducted as part of the expansion and improvement of web-based materials for an innovative introductory physics course. Initially, we conducted face-to-face Piaget-style interviews with a convenience sample. Our next step was to interview students taking the course at Rensselaer. Physical limitations necessitated that this be done from a distance, so we conducted "e-interviews" using a Chat Room. In this paper we focus on the e-interview experience, discussing similarities to and differences from the traditional face-to-face approach. In the process, we address how each method informs us about students' activation of prior experiences in making sense of unfamiliar phenomena (e.g., "transfer of learning").
Trundle, Kathy Cabe
The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe and understand alternative conceptions and instructional strategies that held promise to promote the learning of scientific concepts. This study focused on the conceptual understandings held by 58 elementary preservice teachers about phases of the moon. Data were obtained for Group 1 participants before and after the completion of an inquiry-based physics course. Data were obtained for Group 2 participants one or more semesters after instruction in the course and for Group 3 participants who received no instruction in the course. The physics course targeted for study used the Physics by Inquiry instructional materials by Lillian McDermott (1996) and her associates. The instructional strategies included recording and analyzing moon observations over time and a psychomotor modeling activity. The method of inquiry for this study followed a qualitative design, involving classroom observations, document analysis, and structured interviews. During the interviews, participants were asked to use three-dimensional models of the sun, Earth, an moon to show while describing their thinking about the cause of moon phases. Inductive data analysis identified patterns and themes in the participants' conceptual understandings of moon phases. Results indicate that without the instruction most elementary preservice teachers were very likely to hold alternative conceptions of the cause of moon phases. Also, participants who had the instruction were much more likely to hold a scientific conceptual understanding shortly after instruction, and many continued to hold a scientific understanding months later. It was concluded that the instruction was effective in promoting desirable conceptual change. Nonetheless, after instruction some participants maintained or added fragments of alternative conceptions while showing many attributes of scientific understanding. The findings provide a basis for suggestions to inform the practice of using psychomotor modeling of moon phases and other suggestions for instruction.
Loverude, Michael Eric
This dissertation describes an investigation of student understanding of hydrostatics and thermal physics in first- and second-year university physics courses. We found that after standard instruction many students have serious conceptual and reasoning difficulties with this material. Some of these difficulties seemed to be connected to underlying difficulties with concepts from introductory mechanics. We have examined the extent to which difficulties with mechanics affect student performance on qualitative questions involving hydrostatic pressure, buoyancy, and the first law of thermodynamics. Evidence is presented that many of the conceptual difficulties identified are due in part to incorrect ideas that students have about introductory mechanics and in part to many students' inability to apply correct ideas from mechanics in new contexts. The results of this research have been used to develop supplementary curriculum. The instructional materials have been assessed and proven to be effective.
Aydeniz, Mehmet; Brown, Clara Lee
This study explored the impact of a reflective teaching method on pre-service elementary teachers' conceptual understanding of the lunar phases, reasons for seasons, and simple electric circuits. Data were collected from 40 pre-service elementary teachers about their conceptual understanding of the lunar phases, reasons for seasons and day…
Tao, Ying; Oliver, Mary; Venville, Grady
The purpose of this study was to explore Chinese and Australian primary children's conceptual understandings of the Earth. The research was conducted in the interpretive paradigm and was designed to be descriptive with comparative and cross sectional elements. Participants were Year 3 and Year 6 children from three schools in Hunan Province, central south China ( n = 38) and Year 3 and Year 6 children from three schools in Western Australia ( n = 36). In-depth interviews including drawings were carried out to explore the participants' conceptual understandings of the Earth's shape, gravity, day/night cycle and seasons. The results showed that, regardless of different cultures, children from the same year group constructed similar concepts about the Earth. The Year 3 children were more likely than the Year 6 children to demonstrate intuitive conceptions of a round and flat Earth. The Year 6 children were more likely to demonstrate consistent understandings of a spherical Earth. The findings supported the universality of entrenched presuppositions hypothesis. Cultural mediation was found to have a subtle impact on children's understanding of the Earth. A model of conceptual development is proposed.
Mansour, Nasser; Fisher, Ros
Objectives The aim of this research was to explore the transition of medical students to an international branch campus of a medical university established in Bahrain. Methods In order to gain insights into this transition, we explored two culturally diverse systems of learning of the university and the local schools in Bahrain, using Communities of Practice as a lens for understanding transitions. Focus groups were conducted with secondary school teachers and first year medical students. Additionally, semi-structured interviews were conducted with university lecturers. Results The findings suggest that, while Communities of Practice have been influential in contextualising transitions to university, this model does not seem to help us to fully understand intercultural transitions to the case-study university. Conclusions The research emphasises that more attention should be given to learner individual agency within this theory as a framework for understanding transitions. It also challenges approaches within medical education that attempt to standardise systems of learning through acquisition of established practices. PMID:25725207
Rosenblatt, Rebecca; Heckler, Andrew F.
We developed an instrument to systematically investigate student conceptual understanding of the relationships between the directions of net force, velocity, and acceleration in one dimension and report on data collected on the final version of the instrument from over 650 students. Unlike previous work, we simultaneously studied all six possible…
Maskiewicz, April Cordero; Griscom, Heather Peckham; Welch, Nicole Turrill
In this study, we used targeted active-learning activities to help students improve their ways of reasoning about carbon flow in ecosystems. The results of a validated ecology conceptual inventory (diagnostic question clusters [DQCs]) provided us with information about students' understanding of and reasoning about transformation of inorganic and…
Naah, Basil M.; Sanger, Michael J.
In a previous study, the authors identified several student misconceptions regarding the process of dissolving ionic compounds in water. The present study used multiple-choice questions whose distractors were derived from these misconceptions to assess students' understanding of the dissolving process at the symbolic and particulate levels. The symbolic-level questions were based on balanced equations, and the particulate-level questions used multiple-choice questions involving dynamic animations or static pictures. This paper analyzes students' responses to these questions to look for associations among four variables—Answer (the correct answer and three misconceptions), Representation (symbolic or particulate question), Visualization (static or animated pictures), and Representation Order (symbolic questions before or after the particulate questions). The results indicate that the correct answer and the acid-base misconception were more popular than the ion-pair or subscript error misconceptions, the ion-pair misconception was more popular for the particulate questions than the symbolic questions, and that participants were more likely to select the correct answer when viewing static particulate questions compared to animated particulate questions, especially if the particulate questions are seen first. These results suggest that the animated motion of dissolving these compounds in water may be distracting for students.
Students often have difficulty understanding algebraic proofs of statistics theorems. However, it sometimes is possible to prove statistical theorems with pictures in which case students can gain understanding more easily. I provide examples for two versions of Bayes' theorem.
Understanding the main values and beliefs that might promote humanized birth practices in the specialized hospitals requires articulating the theoretical knowledge of the social and cultural characteristics of the childbirth field and the relations between these and the institution. This paper aims to provide a conceptual framework allowing examination of childbirth practices through the lens of an organizational culture theory. A literature review performed to extrapolate the social and cultural factors contribute to birth practices and the factors likely overlap and mutually reinforce one another, instead of complying with the organizational culture of the birth place. The proposed conceptual framework in this paper examined childbirth patterns as an organizational cultural phenomenon in a highly specialized hospital, in Montreal, Canada. Allaire and Firsirotu’s organizational culture theory served as a guide in the development of the framework. We discussed the application of our conceptual model in understanding the influences of organizational culture components in the humanization of birth practices in the highly specialized hospitals and explained how these components configure both the birth practice and women’s choice in highly specialized hospitals. The proposed framework can be used as a tool for understanding the barriers and facilitating factors encountered birth practices in specialized hospitals. PMID:24215446
Salleh, Romaizah; Venville, Grady J.; Treagust, David F.
With increasing numbers of students learning science through a second language in many school contexts, there is a need for research to focus on the impact language has on students' understanding of science concepts. Like other countries, Brunei has adopted a bilingual system of education that incorporates two languages in imparting its…
Tanner, Kimberly; Allen, Deborah
Underpinning science education reform movements in the last 20 years--at all levels and within all disciplines--is an explicit shift in the goals of science teaching from students simply creating a knowledge base of scientific facts to students developing deeper understandings of major concepts within a scientific discipline. For example, what use…
Reinfried, S.; Tempelmann, S.; Aeschbacher, U.
"Water knowledge" has now become a socio-political and future-orientated necessity. Everyday ideas or preconceptions of hydrology can have a deleterious effect one people's understanding of the scientific facts and their interrelations that are of relevance to sustainable water management. This explorative pilot study shows that preconceived notions about the origin of freshwater springs are common at the lower secondary school level. The purpose of this study was two-fold: (1) to investigate the nature of everyday ideas about freshwater springs among 81 13-yr-old Swiss students, and (2) to develop an efficient instructional tool that promotes conceptual reconstruction in the learners' minds. To assess students' everyday ideas we conducted interviews, examined student work, and asked students to fill in a questionnaire. The results indicate that half of the students have some basic hydrological knowledge. However, several preconceived notions that can significantly impede the understanding of hydrological concepts have been found. A common preconception concerns the idea that solid rocks cannot be permeable and that large underground cavities constitute a necessary precondition for the formation of springs. While these ideas may well be true for karst springs they inhibit the understanding of the concept of other spring types due to their plausibility and intelligibility. We therefore chose the concept of the hillslope spring to construct an instructional tool that takes into account the findings of the psychology of learning aimed at promoting deep learning, thus facilitating a lasting conceptual reconstruction of the concept of springs.
Carver, Christy Leilani Jensen
……………………………………………... ...15 Internships……………………………………..………….... ...16 Friends………………………………………………...............16 Mass Media……………………………………………….......17 Information-Seeking………………………………….……………………. ...19 Conceptualizations: A Career…………………………………………………22... adulthood, and changes in career conceptualizations. At graduation, individuals must leave their roles as undergraduate students and are often expected to make a full transition into adulthood. Most expect this transition to involve a new role as a...
Zulnaidi, Hutkemri; Zakaria, Effandi
The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of information mapping strategy on mathematics conceptual knowledge of junior high school students in Rokan Hulu Riau, Indonesia. The study also examined the relationship between mathematics conceptual knowledge and mathematics achievement. Using a quasi-experimental method, the study was…
Little is known about the variety of ways students conceptualize matrix multiplication, yet this is a fundamental part of most introductory linear algebra courses. My dissertation follows a three-paper format, with the three papers exploring conceptualizations of matrix multiplication from a variety of viewpoints. In these papers, I explore (1)…
The prevalence of conceptually valid mentoring relationships in higher education is currently unknown due to a lack of a valid conceptualization within the literature. This article examines the construct validity of College Student Mentoring Scale (CSMS) with an eye toward identifying developmental support functions that should be provided to…
Haidar, Abdullateef H.; Al Naqabi, Ali K.
The aim of this study is to investigate Emiratii high school students' understandings of stoichiometry, their use of metacognitive strategies, and the influence of students' use of metacognitive strategies on their understandings of stoichiometry. Two instruments were used in this study, the first to measure students' understandings of…
Sadler, Troy D.; Chambers, William F.; Zeidler, Dana L.
This study investigates student conceptualizations of the nature of science (NOS) and how students interpret and evaluate conflicting evidence regarding a socioscientific issue. Eighty-four high school students participated in the study by reading contradictory reports about the status of global warming and responding to questions designed to…
Dunn, Laura B.; Iglewicz, Alana; Moutier, Christine
Objective: This article proposes and illustrates a conceptual model of medical student well-being. Method: The authors reviewed the literature on medical student stress, coping, and well-being and developed a model of medical student coping termed the "coping reservoir." Results: The reservoir can be replenished or drained by various aspects of…
Thapa, Damber; Lakshminarayanan, Vasudevan
The Light and Optics Conceptual Evaluation (LOCE) was developed to examine conceptual understanding of basic geometric and physical optics for the Active Learning in Optics and Photonics program administered by UNESCO. This 50 item test (46 multiple choice, 4 ray-tracing short answer) was administered to entering students in the Optometry professional degree (OD) program. We wanted to determine how much of the physics/optics concepts from undergraduate physics courses (a pre-requisite for entry to the OD program) were retained. In addition, the test was administered after the first year students had taken a required course in geometric and visual optics as part of their first semester courses. The LOCE was completed by two consecutive classes to the program in 2010 (n=89) and 2011 (n=84). The tests were administered the first week of the term and the test was given without any prior notice. In addition, the test was administered to the class of 2010 students after they had completed the course in geometric and visual optics. The means of the test were 22.1 (SD=4.5; range: 12-35) and 21.3(SD=5.1; range: 11-35) for the two entering classes. There was no statistical significance between the two classes (t-test, p<0.05). Similarly there was no difference between the scores in terms of gender. The post-course test (administered during the first week of the second term) showed a statistically significant improvement (mean score went from 22.1 to 31.1, a 35% improvement). It should be noted that both groups of students performed worse in questions related to physical optics as well as lens imaging, while scoring best in questions related to refraction and reflection. These data should be taken into consideration when designing optics curricula for optometry (and other allied health programs such as opticianry or ophthalmology).
Peteroy-Kelly, Marcy A.
It has been well-established that discussion groups enhance student learning in large lecture courses. The goal of this study was to determine the impact of a discussion group program on the development of conceptual reasoning skills of students enrolled in a large lecture-format introductory biology course. In the discussion group, students worked on problems based on topics discussed in lecture. The program was evaluated using three assessment tools. First, student responses to pre- and posttests were analyzed. The test question asked the students to demonstrate the relationships between 10 different but related terms. Use of a concept map to link the terms indicated an advanced level of conceptual reasoning skills. There was a 13.8% increase in the use of concept maps from pre- to posttest. Second, the students took a Likert-type survey to determine the perceived impact of the program on their conceptual reasoning skills. Many of the students felt that the program helped them understand and use the main course concepts to logically solve problems. Finally, average exam grades increased as the semester progressed. The average final grade in the course was 75%. Students enrolled in the course the previous year (where the lecture component of the course did not assess or reflect student learning in the discussion group) had an average final grade of 69%. The results of this study demonstrate that the discussion group program improves the conceptual reasoning skills of students enrolled in a large lecture-format introductory biology course. PMID:23653815
Hong, Jun Sung; Davis, Jordan P.; Sterzing, Paul R.; Yoon, Jina; Choi, Shinwoo; Smith, Douglas C.
This article reviews current research findings and presents a conceptual framework for better understanding the relationship between bullying victimization (hereafter referred to as victimization) and substance misuse (hereafter referred to as SM) among adolescents. Although victimization and SM may appear to be separate problems, research suggests an intriguing relationship between the two. We present a brief, empirical overview of the direct association between victimization and adolescent SM, followed by a proposed conceptual framework that includes co-occurring risk factors for victimization and SM within family, peer, and school/community contexts. Next, we discuss potential mediators linking victimization and SM, such as internalizing problems, traumatic stress, low academic performance, and school truancy/absence. We then identify potential moderating influences of age, gender/sex, social supports, and school connectedness that could amplify or abate the association between victimization and SM. Finally, we discuss practice and policy implications. PMID:25545436
Hong, Jun Sung; Davis, Jordan P; Sterzing, Paul R; Yoon, Jina; Choi, Shinwoo; Smith, Douglas C
This article reviews current research findings and presents a conceptual framework for better understanding the relationship between bullying victimization (hereafter referred to as victimization) and substance misuse (hereafter referred to as SM) among adolescents. Although victimization and SM may appear to be separate problems, research suggests an intriguing relationship between the 2. We present a brief, empirical overview of the direct association between victimization and adolescent SM, followed by a proposed conceptual framework that includes co-occurring risk factors for victimization and SM within family, peer, and school and community contexts. Next, we discuss potential mediators linking victimization and SM, such as internalizing problems, traumatic stress, low academic performance, and school truancy and absence. We then identify potential moderating influences of age, gender and sex, social supports, and school connectedness that could amplify or abate the association between victimization and SM. Finally, we discuss practice and policy implications. PMID:25545436
Adadan, Emine; Trundle, Kathy Cabe; Irving, Karen E.
This study investigated the conceptual pathways of 19 Grade 11 introductory chemistry students (age 16-17) as they participated in a multirepresentational instruction on the particulate nature of matter (PNM). This study was grounded in contemporary conceptual change theory, in particular, research on students' conceptual pathways that focuses on…
Brookes, David T.; Etkina, Eugenia
This paper introduces a theory about the role of language in learning physics. The theory is developed in the context of physics students and physicists talking and writing about the subject of quantum mechanics. We found that physicists’ language encodes different varieties of analogical models through the use of grammar and conceptual metaphor. We hypothesize that students categorize concepts into ontological categories based on the grammatical structure of physicists’ language. We also hypothesize that students overextend and misapply conceptual metaphors in physicists’ speech and writing. Using our theory, we will show how, in some cases, we can explain student difficulties in quantum mechanics as difficulties with language.
Salleh, Romaizah; Venville, Grady J.; Treagust, David F.
With increasing numbers of students learning science through a second language in many school contexts, there is a need for research to focus on the impact language has on students’ understanding of science concepts. Like other countries, Brunei has adopted a bilingual system of education that incorporates two languages in imparting its curriculum. For the first three years of school, Brunei children are taught in Malay and then for the remainder of their education, instruction is in English. This research is concerned with the influence that this bilingual education system has on children’s learning of science. The purpose was to document the patterns of Brunei students’ developing understandings of the concepts of living and non-living things and examine the impact in the change in language as the medium of instruction. A cross-sectional case study design was used in one primary school. Data collection included an interview ( n = 75), which consisted of forced-response and semi-structured interview questions, a categorisation task and classroom observation. Data were analysed quantitatively and qualitatively. The results indicate that the transition from Malay to English as the language of instruction from Primary 4 onwards restricted the students’ ability to express their understandings about living things, to discuss related scientific concepts and to interpret and analyse scientific questions. From a social constructivist perspective these language factors will potentially impact on the students’ cognitive development by limiting the expected growth of the students’ understandings of the concepts of living and non-living things.
Schroeder, Charles C.
This issue highlights the undergraduate experience and the increasingly important role of student affairs professionals in creating educational environments that enhance student success. It compares college students in the 1960s to today's students, noting that attitudes and behaviors of today's students are different from those of previous…
Conceptual Physics courses are a staple of the curriculum in many colleges and universities. Such courses stress the development of conceptual understanding without appeal to calculational demonstration of that understanding. We have developed a Conceptual Optics course with a similar thrust but a more focused subject matter: the study of light. The course differs from similar courses typically titled Light or Color in that it attempts to cover most topics taught in more conventional optics courses rather than sampling from the variety of topics among those falling under the optics rubric. The course features an extramural laboratory in which student teams are given equipment, a lab manual, and a notebook and are expected to perform various optics experiments in everyday surroundings. This and other features of the course will be discussed.
Golden, B. W.
Given the complexity of the science involving climate change (IPCC, 2007), its lack of curricular focus within US K-12 schooling (Golden, 2009; Golden & Francis, 2013), and the difficulty in effecting conceptual change in science (Vosniadou, 2007), we sought to research middle school students' conceptions about climate change, in addition to how those conceptions changed during and as a result of a deliberately designed global climate change (GCC) unit. In a sixth grade classroom, a unit was designed which incorporated Argumentation-Driven Inquiry (Sampson & Grooms, 2010). That is, students were assigned to groups and asked to make sense of standard GCC data such as paleoclimate data from ice cores, direct temperature measurement, and Keeling curves, in addition to learning about the greenhouse effect in a modeling lesson (Hocking, et al, 1993). The students were then challenged, in groups, to create, on whiteboards, explanations and defend these explanations to and with their peers. They did two iterations of this argumentation. The first iteration focused on the simple identification of climate change patterns. The second focused on developing causal explanations for those patterns. After two rounds of such argumentation, the students were then asked to write (individually) a "final" argument which accounted for the given data. Interview and written data were analyzed prior to the given unit, during it, and after it, in order to capture complicated nuance that might escape detection by simpler research means such as surveys. Several findings emerged which promised to be of interest to climate change educators. The first is that many students tended to "know" many "facts" about climate change, but were unable to connect these disparate facts in any meaningful ways. A second finding is that while no students changed their entire belief systems, even after a robust unit which would seemingly challenge such, each student engaged did indeed modify the manner in which they discussed the validation of their beliefs. That is, we argue that the unit, and the emphases contained within the unit, resulted in the "epistemic scaffolding" of their ideas, to the extent that they shifted from arguing from anecdotes to arguing based on other types of data, especially from line graphs. Additionally, we found that students' understandings of climate change were tied to their ontological constructions of the subject matter, i.e., many perceived climate change as just another environmentally sensitive issue such as littering and pollution, and were therefore limited in their ability to understand anthropogenic climate change in the vast and robust sense meant by current scientific consensus. Given these known difficulties, it is critical to explore further research of this sort in order to better understand what students are actually thinking, and how that thinking is prone to change, modification, or not. Subsequently, K-12 strategies might be better designed, if that is indeed a priority of US/Western society.
This article describes a developmental sequence for students' understandings about conductivity. From written responses, a number of levels of understanding were identified and holistic descriptions of the increasingly complex way students explain conductivity are presented. Identifying distinct differences in student work samples is consistent…
Rashkovits, Rami; Lavy, Ilana
This study examines how Information Systems Engineering School students on the verge of their graduation understand the mechanism of exception handling. The main contributions of this paper are as follows: we construct a questionnaire aimed at examining students' level of understanding concerning exceptions; we classify and analyse the students'…
Dawson, Vaille; Carson, Katherine
This study investigated 438 Year 10 students (15 and 16 years old) from Western Australian schools, on their understanding of the greenhouse effect and climate change, and the sources of their information. Results showed that most students have an understanding of how the greenhouse effect works, however, many students merge the processes of the…
Reiss, Michael J.; Tunnicliffe, Sue Dale
Discusses students' understandings of their own internal structure. Analysis shows the extent to which student understanding increases with age and the degree to which students know more about some organs and organ systems than others. Gender differences in the drawings were generally not large and there were some intriguing differences in the…
Herrmann-Abell, Cari F.; Flanagan, Jean C.; Roseman, Jo Ellen
Students often have trouble understanding key biology ideas because they lack an understanding of foundational chemistry ideas. AAAS Project 2061 is collaborating with BSCS in the development a curriculum unit that connects core chemistry and biochemistry ideas in order to help eighth grade students build the conceptual foundation needed for high…
Carlsson, Maj Asplund; Fulop, Marta; Marton, Ference
Studied the theories student teachers held about literary understanding through interviews with 25 Hungarian and 8 Swedish student teachers. Categories of theories captured a substantial portion of the variation in how literary understanding can be seen. Three central aspects of human understanding, variation, discernment, and simultaneity, could…
Golden, B. W.; Lutz, B.
Given the complexity of the science involving climate change (IPCC, 2007), its lack of curricular focus within US K-12 schooling (Golden, 2009), and the difficulty in effecting conceptual change in science (Vosniadou, 2007), we sought to research middle school students' conceptions about climate change, in addition to how those conceptions changed during and as a result of a deliberately designed global climate change (GCC) unit. In a sixth grade classroom, a unit was designed which incorporated Argumentation-Driven Inquiry (Sampson & Grooms, 2010). That is, students were assigned to groups and asked to make sense of standard GCC data such as paleoclimate data from ice cores, direct temperature measurement, and Keeling curves, in addition to learning about the greenhouse effect in a modeling lesson (Hocking, et al, 1993). The students were then challenged, in groups, to create, on whiteboards, explanations and defend these explanations to and with their peers. They did two iterations of this argumentation. The first iteration focused on the simple identification of climate change patterns. The second focused on developing causal explanations for those patterns. After two rounds of such argumentation, the students were then asked to write (individually) a "final" argument which accounted for the given data. Interview and written data were analyzed prior to the given unit, during it, and after it, in order to capture complicated nuance that might escape detection by simpler research means such as surveys. Several findings emerged which promised to be of interest to climate change educators. The first is that many students tended to "know" many "facts" about climate change, but were unable to connect these disparate facts in any meaningful ways. A second finding is that while no students changed their entire belief systems, even after a robust unit which would seemingly challenge such, each student engaged did indeed modify the manner in which they discussed the validation of their beliefs. That is, we argue that the unit, and the emphases contained within the unit, resulted in the "epistemic scaffolding" of their ideas, to the extent that they shifted from arguing from anecdote to arguing based on other types of data, especially from line graphs. A third finding underscores prior research in conceptual change, indicating that learning, especially conceptual change, is not a strictly rational process. Students, and others, are highly influenced by extra rational factors, such as the given political, scientific, and/or religious leanings of their families, their own willingness to explore anomalies, and other factors. Given these known difficulties, it is critical to explore further research of this sort in order to better understand what students are actually thinking, and how that thinking is prone to change, modification, or not. Subsequently, K-12 strategies might be better designed, if that is indeed a priority of US/Western society.
Athanasiou, Kyriacos; Papadopoulou, Penelope
In this study, we make an effort to compare studies that explore the factors related to acceptance of evolutionary theory among Greek and Turkish students-future teachers, using conceptual ecology for biological evolution as the theoretical framework. We aimed to look into the acceptance and the understanding of evolutionary theory and also to…
Leppavirta, J.; Kettunen, H.; Sihvola, A.
Complex multistep problem exercises are one way to enhance engineering students' learning of electromagnetics (EM). This study investigates whether exposure to complex problem exercises during an introductory EM course improves students' conceptual and procedural knowledge. The performance in complex problem exercises is compared to prior success…
Golden, Barry W.
This research examined middle school student conceptions about global climate change (GCC) and the change these conceptions undergo during an argument driven instructional unit. The theoretical framework invoked for this study is the "framework theory" of conceptual change (Vosniadou, 2007a). This theory posits that students do not simply correct…
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of peer instruction on college students' conceptual learning, motivation, and self-efficacy in an algebra-based introductory physics course for nonmajors. Variables were studied via a quasi-experiment, Solomon four-group design on 123 students. Treatment groups were taught by peer instruction.…
Zhang, Ting; Torney-Purta, Judith; Barber, Carolyn
In 2 related studies framed by social constructivism theory, the authors explored a fine-grained analysis of adolescents' civic conceptual knowledge and skills and investigated them in relation to factors such as teachers' qualifications and students' classroom experiences. In Study 1 (with about 2,800 U.S. students), the authors identified 4…
Segal, Pamela H.
This study investigated how college football student-athletes conceptualize the academic and athletic literacies they experience inside and outside the classroom. Participants included sophomore, junior, and senior football student-athletes who all attended a large public university in the Mid-Atlantic area. Three distinct research tools…
Mondi, Makingu; Woods, Peter; Rafi, Ahmad
This paper presents the systematic development of a "Uses and Gratification Expectancy" (UGE) conceptual framework which is able to predict students' "Perceived e-Learning Experience." It is argued that students' UGE as regards e-learning resources cannot be implicitly or explicitly explored without first examining underlying communication…
This study investigated the effectiveness of conceptual change texts in remediating high school students' alternative conceptions concerning chemical equilibrium. A quasi-experimental design was used in this study. The subjects for this study consisted of a total 78 tenth-grade students, 38 of them in the experimental group and 40 of them in the…
Eisenhower, Abbey S.; Bush, Hillary Hurst; Blacher, Jan
In this conceptual article, we integrate existing literature on early school transitions, ecological systems theory, and student-teacher relationships to propose a framework for investigating the transition to school for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). A review of the literature suggests that the quality of early student-teacher…
Perez, Kathryn E.; Hiatt, Anna; Davis, Gregory K.; Trujillo, Caleb; French, Donald P.; Terry, Mark; Price, Rebecca M.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science 2011 report Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education encourages the teaching of developmental biology as an important part of teaching evolution. Recently, however, we found that biology majors often lack the developmental knowledge needed to understand evolutionary developmental biology, or “evo-devo.” To assist in efforts to improve evo-devo instruction among undergraduate biology majors, we designed a concept inventory (CI) for evolutionary developmental biology, the EvoDevoCI. The CI measures student understanding of six core evo-devo concepts using four scenarios and 11 multiple-choice items, all inspired by authentic scientific examples. Distracters were designed to represent the common conceptual difficulties students have with each evo-devo concept. The tool was validated by experts and administered at four institutions to 1191 students during preliminary (n = 652) and final (n = 539) field trials. We used student responses to evaluate the readability, difficulty, discriminability, validity, and reliability of the EvoDevoCI, which included items ranging in difficulty from 0.22–0.55 and in discriminability from 0.19–0.38. Such measures suggest the EvoDevoCI is an effective tool for assessing student understanding of evo-devo concepts and the prevalence of associated common conceptual difficulties among both novice and advanced undergraduate biology majors. PMID:24297293
Arasasingham, Ramesh D.; Taagepera, Mare; Potter, Frank; Lonjers, Stacy
The use of knowledge space theory (KST), to assess students' understanding and integration of the different representations in an introductory chemistry course are described. KST is a useful tool for revealing various aspects of students' cognitive structure in chemistry.
Curtright, Robert; Markwell, John; Emry, Randy
Describes a series of exercises intended to help students develop a better understanding of chromatography that employ plant pigments. A collaborative approach leads students to a level of competence that permits them to complete an open-ended exercise. (WRM)
Hamza, Karim M.; Wickman, Per-Olof
Students' difficulties with learning science have generally been framed in terms of their generalized conceptual knowledge of a science topic as elicited through their explanations of natural phenomena. In this paper, we empirically explore what more goes into giving a scientific account of a natural phenomenon than giving such generalized…
Slotta, James D.; Chi, Michelene T. H.
Chi (2005) proposed that students experience difficulty in learning about physics concepts such as light, heat, or electric current because they attribute to these concepts an inappropriate ontological status of material substances rather than the more veridical status of emergent processes. Conceptual change could thus be facilitated by training…
Srivastava, Sanjeev Kumar
Threshold concepts are those transformative concepts in a discipline that are often difficult to understand when first encountered, but when mastered they transform students, both epistemologically and ontologically in relation to the discipline. Using the characteristics of threshold concepts, existing curricula and summative content analysis of…
Oliver, Rhonda; Rochecouste, Judith; Bennell, Debra; Anderson, Roz; Cooper, Inala; Forrest, Simon; Exell, Mike
Drawing from a study of the experiences of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students, this paper presents an overview of the specific needs of these students as they enter and progress through their tertiary education. Extracts from a set of case studies developed from both staff and student interviews and an online…
Ealy, Julie B.
Integration of molecular modeling into General Chemistry lab encourages students to dually process molecular concepts both verbally and pictorially. When students are tested utilizing questions not previously encountered the dual processing of information can contribute to a transfer to knowledge. General Chemistry students utilized molecular…
Aiken, John M.; Caballero, Marcos D.; Douglas, Scott S.; Burk, John B.; Scanlon, Erin M.; Thoms, Brian D.; Schatz, Michael F.
Recently, the National Research Council's framework for next generation science standards highlighted "computational thinking" as one of its "fundamental practices". 9th Grade students taking a physics course that employed the Arizona State University's Modeling Instruction curriculum were taught to construct computational models of physical systems. Student computational thinking was assessed using a proctored programming assignment, written essay, and a series of think-aloud interviews, where the students produced and discussed a computational model of a baseball in motion via a high-level programming environment (VPython). Roughly a third of the students in the study were successful in completing the programming assignment. Student success on this assessment was tied to how students synthesized their knowledge of physics and computation. On the essay and interview assessments, students displayed unique views of the relationship between force and motion; those who spoke of this relationship in causal (rather than observational) terms tended to have more success in the programming exercise.
Clark, Douglas; Reynolds, Stephen; Lemanowski, Vivian; Stiles, Thomas; Yasar, Senay; Proctor, Sian; Lewis, Elizabeth; Stromfors, Charlotte; Corkins, James
This study investigates the strategies and assumptions that college students entering an introductory physical geology laboratory use to interpret topographic maps, and follows the progress of the students during the laboratory to analyze changes in those strategies and assumptions. To elicit students' strategies and assumptions, we created and…
Hock, Tan Tong; Tarmizi, Rohani Ahmad; Yunus, Aida Suraya Md.; Ayub, Ahmad Fauzi
This study was conducted using a new hybrid method of research which combined qualitative and quantitative designs to investigate the viewpoints of primary school students' conceptual understanding in learning geometry from the aspect of shapes and spaces according to van Hiele theory. Q-methodology is used in this research to find out what…
Ajredini, Fadil; Izairi, Neset; Zajkov, Oliver
This research investigates the influence of computer simulations (virtual experiments) on one hand and real experiments on the other hand on the conceptual understanding of electrical charging. The investigated sample consists of students in the second year (10th grade) of three gymnasiums in Macedonia. There were two experimental groups and one…
Gilmore, Camilla K.; Bryant, Peter
Understanding conceptual relationships is an important aspect of learning arithmetic. Most studies of arithmetic, however, do not distinguish between children's understanding of a concept and their ability to identify situations in which it might be relevant. We compared 8- to 9-year-old children's use of a computational shortcut based on the…
Examinations greatly influence course structures and student study strategies. A course for students in the civil and environmental engineering programme at Lulea University of Technology was reconstructed with the aim of increasing levels of understanding. A simple written test was designed to assess low levels of understanding (definitions,…
of the ozone layer was identified as the most important environmental issue facing Australia and the #12 and American students show that their understanding of the importance of the ozone layer and the potentialMisconceptions in Australian Students' Understanding of Ozone Depletion Eugene C. Cordero
Electricity and magnetism are important topics in physics. Research shows that students have many common difficulties in understanding concepts related to electricity and magnetism. However, research to improve students' understanding of electricity and magnetism is limited compared to introductory mechanics. This thesis explores issues…
Richards, Alan J.
The field of Physics Education Research (PER) seeks to investigate how students learn physics and how instructors can help students learn more effectively. The process by which learners create understanding about a complex physics concept is an active area of research. My study explores this process, using solar cells as the context. To understand…
Briggs, A. R. J.; Clark, J.; Hall, I.
This article explores challenges in ensuring effective student transition from school or college to university. It examines the complex liaison needed for students to progress to appropriate courses, settle into university life and succeed as higher education learners. Secondary data (international literature on transition and the formation of…
Junn, Ellen N.; Grier, Leslie K.; Behrens, Debra P.
Describes an experiential classroom exercise that was designed to help students understand stereotyping and prejudice. The instructor read behavioral and psychological descriptions, asked students to imagine they were Sherlock Holmes, and identify classmates to whom the descriptions might apply. States that students of color reported more benefits…
McIntosh, Julie; White, Sandra; Suter, Robert
Students within the Findlay, Ohio, City School District, as well as students across the country, struggle with understanding physical and chemical changes. Therefore, in this article, the authors suggest some standards-based activities to clarify misconceptions and provide formative assessments to measure your students' progress as they determine…
As a result of conversations with students, previous teaching experiences, and through reading relevant literature, this author was aware that many students struggle with understanding fraction concepts. In particular, she knew that students had difficulty with reading, renaming, ordering, interpreting, and applying common fractions, fraction…
Lawson, Timothy J.; Haubner, Richard R.; Bodle, James H.
To help beginning psychology students understand how they are influenced by social pressures to conform, we developed a demonstration designed to elicit their conformity to a small group of students standing in the hallway before class. Results showed the demonstration increased students' recognition of their own tendency to conform, knowledge of…
Caskey, Nourah Al-Rashid
Field trips are a basic and important, yet often overlooked part of the student experience. They provide the opportunity to integrate real world knowledge with classroom learning and student previous personal experiences. Outdoor guided field trips leave students with an increased understanding, awareness and interest and in science. However, the…
Guisasola, Jenaro; Almudi, Jose M.; Zuza, Kristina
This study examined engineering and physical science students' understanding of the electromagnetic induction (EMI) phenomena. It is assumed that significant knowledge of the EMI theory is a basic prerequisite when students have to think about electromagnetic phenomena. To analyse students' conceptions, we have taken into account the…
Khawaja, Nigar G.; Stallman, Helen M.
International students encounter a range of additional challenges as a part of their tertiary study experience. A qualitative approach was used to understand the challenges faced by international students, coping strategies that promoted their personal resilience and advice they have for future international students. Twenty-two international…
In their paper, Martinez, Solanto, and Jiminez compared a number of methodologies used to describe students' understandings of scientific conceptions. One of the issues raised by the authors was the lack of a theoretical platform based in the area of cognition upon which the data were analysed. This paper investigates students' understandings of diffusion through the application of a cognitive structural perspective provided by the Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome model devised by Biggs and Collis. In this study, 60 senior secondary school and 120 first-year university science students were presented with two extended response questions regarding diffusion. Four months after the completion of the questionnaires, 30 students were interviewed. The responses obtained from the students were interpreted using the Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome model. The results from the study provided strong evidence of a pathway of conceptual understanding of diffusion from simple intuitive ideas about movement to highly abstract views in which students explained the random motion of molecules in terms of kinetic theory. These results were consistent for both the high school and university students. In addition, the pathway provided a means of interpreting previous research results and practical ways of improving instruction in the future.
Saglam-Arslan, Aysegul; Devecioglu, Yasemin
This study was conducted to determine the level of student teachers' understandings of Newton's laws of motion and relating these levels to identify student teachers' models of understanding. An achievement test composed of two parts comprising 12 open ended questions was constructed and given to 45 pre-service classroom teachers. The first part…
The importance of positive subjective well-being (SWB) is supported by the wide-ranging network of relations between students' SWB and crucial school processes and outcomes, such as positive student engagement behavior, interpersonal relationships, coping skills, and academic achievement. Some studies have revealed that not only is positive SWB a…
Knuth, Eric J.; Elliott, Rebekah L.
Discusses the characteristics of students' responses in terms of mathematical sophistication demonstrated that might be expected as they engage in a rich mathematical task that requires them to justify their solutions. (ASK)
Martinez, Joseph G. R.
An approach to teaching factors and terms is offered that builds directly on students' knowledge of arithmetic. Errors arising from factor and term confusions are noted, followed by the pedagogical strategy of exploration, invention, and discovery. (MNS)
Gooch, Kim Renee
The long-term goal of this study was to increase the researcher's knowledge in curriculum content, curriculum design, and implementation, as well as teaching methodologies in the content areas for urban African American middle school students. The purpose of this specific study was to develop, implement and evaluate a reading in the content areas science curriculum designed to increase conceptual abilities, reading skills, and individual learning for eighth grade-students in urban schools. The research question that drove the goal and purpose of this study was as follows: How does the theory and practice of accelerated learning, multiple intelligences, and brain-based learning integrated with specific components of reading in the content area impact urban, middle school African American students' conceptual understanding of eighth-grade science? The student participants in this study were 16 African American students in the eighth grade who had below-grade reading achievement (third-grade level on district standardized tests), who were overage for middle school, yet still in the eighth grade, and who had failed the district's eighth grade science curriculum. This was an action-oriented research study that utilized a mixed methodology of qualitative and quantitative data collection. The quantitative data collection consisted of pre and post tests, surveys with yes/no responses, and graphs. The qualitative data collection consisted of surveys with written responses, and a focus group. The major finding from this study was that the dynamic interaction of the theories (accelerated learning, multiple intelligences, and brain-based learning integrated with specific components of reading in the content area) put into practice through the Michigan Framework Curriculum had a significant impact on student learning as evidenced by the MAT-7 standardized test scores. Qualitative findings indicated that this dynamic interaction of theories put into practice worked to create a classroom culturally aligned with student culture and created an ongoing teaching-learning cycle in the classroom. The qualitative findings indicated that student potential was developed, students experienced validation and conceptual success in the science curriculum, and student-teacher relationships evolved into partnerships for learning. For further research it would be useful for an entire middle school faculty in one school to implement this kind of action curriculum and see the effects over time on both the teachers and the students.
Eick, Charles J.; Dias, Michael; Smith, Nancy R. Cook
A new National Science Foundation supported curriculum, Interactions in Physical Science[TM], was evaluated on students' conceptual change in the twelve concept areas of the national physical science content standard (B) for grades 5-8. Eighth grade students (N = 66) were evaluated pre and post on a 31-item multiple-choice test of conceptual…
Ishimoto, Michi; Thornton, Ronald K.; Sokoloff, David R.
This study assesses the Japanese translation of the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation (FMCE). Researchers are often interested in comparing the conceptual ideas of students with different cultural backgrounds. The FMCE has been useful in identifying the concepts of English-speaking students from different backgrounds. To identify effectively…
Shamos, Michael I.
Understanding Cryptography Â A Textbook for Students and Practitioners by Christof Paar and Jan prepared by Georg Becker, Christof Paar and Jan Pelzl #12;2/26 Chapter 10 of Understanding Cryptography book "Understanding Cryptography" by Springer and the author's names must remain on each slide
Shamos, Michael I.
Understanding Cryptography Â A Textbook for Students and Practitioners by Christof Paar and Jan prepared by Stefan Heyse and Christof Paar and Jan Pelzl #12;2/22 Chapter 11 of Understanding Cryptography book "Understanding Cryptography" by Springer and the author's names must remain on each slide
Reiss, Michael J.; Tunnicliffe, Sue Dale
How do people develop their understanding of what is inside them? This study looks at students' understandings of their internal structure. A cross-sectional approach was used involving a total of 158 students in England from six different age groups (ranging from four year old students to first year undergraduates). Students were given a blank piece of A4-sized paper and asked to draw what they thought was inside themselves. Repeated inspections of the completed drawings allowed us to construct a seven point scale of these representations. Our analysis shows the extent to which student understanding increases with age and the degree to which students know more about some organs and organ systems than others. While gender differences in the drawings were generally not large there were some intriguing differences in the ways males and females drew reproductive organs.
Ebert, Ellen Kress
This study used the Relevance of Science Education (ROSE) survey (Sjoberg & Schreiner, 2004) to examine topics of interest and perspectives of secondary science students in a large school district in the southwestern U.S. A situated learning perspective was used to frame the project. The research questions of this study focused on (a) perceptions students have about themselves and their science classroom and how these beliefs may influence their participation in the community of practice of science; (b) consideration of how a future science classroom where the curriculum is framed by the Next Generation Science Standards might foster students' beliefs and perceptions about science education and their legitimate peripheral participation in the community of practice of science; and (c) reflecting on their school science interests and perspectives, what can be inferred about students' identities as future scientists or STEM field professionals? Data were collected from 515 second year science students during a 4-week period in May of 2012 using a Web-based survey. Data were disaggregated by gender and ethnicity and analyzed descriptively and by statistical comparison between groups. Findings for Research Question 1 indicated that boys and girls showed statistically significant differences in scientific topics of interest. There were no statistical differences between ethnic groups although. For Research Question 2, it was determined that participants reported an increase in their interest when they deemed the context of the content to be personally relevant. Results for Research Question 3 showed that participants do not see themselves as youthful scientists or as becoming scientists. While participants value the importance of science in their lives and think all students should take science, they do not aspire to careers in science. Based on this study, a need for potential future work has been identified in three areas: (a) exploration of the perspectives and interests of non-mainstream students and urban students whose representation in this study was limited; (b) investigation of topics where students expressed low interests topics; and (c) development and design of authentic communities of practice in the science classroom.
Hudgins, David W.; Prather, Edward E.; Grayson, Diane J.; Smits, Derck P.
This research concerns the development and assessment of a program of introductory astronomy conceptual exercises called ranking tasks. These exercises were designed based on results from science education research, learning theory, and classroom pilot studies. The investigation involved a single-group repeated measures experiment across eight key introductory astronomy topics with 253 students at the University of Arizona. Student understanding of these astronomy topics was assessed before and after traditional instruction in an introductory astronomy course. Collaborative ranking tasks were introduced after traditional instruction on each topic, and student understanding was evaluated again. Results showed that average scores on multiple-choice tests across the eight astronomy topics increased from 32% before instruction, to 61% after traditional instruction, to 77% after the ranking- task exercises. A Likert scale attitude survey found that 83% of the students participating in the 16-week study thought that the ranking- task exercises helped their understanding of core astronomy concepts. Based on these results, we assert that supplementing traditional lecture- based instruction with collaborative ranking-task exercises can significantly improve student understanding of core astronomy topics.
Athanasiou, Kyriacos; Papadopoulou, Penelope
In this study, we explored some of the factors related to the acceptance of evolution theory among Greek university students training to be teachers in early childhood education, using conceptual ecology for biological evolution as a theoretical framework. We examined the acceptance of evolution theory and we also looked into the relationship…
This investigation examined the effects of mediation and Intelligence Quotient (IQ) scores on conceptual learning for black college students. It was predicted that higher IQ scoring subjects would not outperform lower IQ scoring subjects under nonmediated learning conditions but would significantly outperform lower IQ scoring subjects under…
Brookes, David T.; Etkina, Eugenia
This paper introduces a theory about the role of language in learning physics. The theory is developed in the context of physics students and physicists talking and writing about the subject of quantum mechanics. We found that physicists' language encodes different varieties of analogical models through the use of grammar and conceptual metaphor.…
Weinrich, M. L.; Talanquer, V.
The central goal of this qualitative research study was to uncover major implicit assumptions that students with different levels of training in the discipline apply when thinking and making decisions about chemical reactions used to make a desired product. In particular, we elicited different ways of conceptualizing why chemical reactions happen…
Chen, Chien-Hsien; She, Hsiao-Ching
This study reports the impact of Recurrent On-Line Synchronous Scientific Argumentation learning on 8th grade students' scientific argumentation ability and conceptual change involving physical science. The control group (N = 76) were recruited to receive conventional instruction whereas the experimental group (N = 74) received the Recurrent…
Bråting, Kajsa; Pejlare, Johanna
There is an ongoing discussion within the research field of mathematics education regarding the utilization of the history of mathematics within mathematics education. In this paper we consider problems that may emerge when the historical epistemology of mathematics is paralleled to students' conceptual developments in mathematics. We problematize…
Tongchai, Apisit; Sharma, Manjula Devi; Johnston, Ian D.; Arayathanitkul, Kwan; Soankwan, Chernchok
We recently developed a multiple-choice conceptual survey in mechanical waves. The development, evaluation, and demonstration of the use of the survey were reported elsewhere [A. Tongchai et al. Int. J. Sci. Educ. 31 2437 (2009)]. We administered the survey to 902 students from seven different groups ranging from high school to second year…
Conceptual Coherence in Philosophy Education - Visualizing Initial Conceptions of Philosophy Students with Self-Organizing Maps Anna-Mari Rusanen (firstname.lastname@example.org) Philosophy of Science Group, Department of Philosophy, PO BOX 9 00014 University of Helsinki, FINLAND Otto Lappi (otto
Brint, Steven; Cantwell, Alison M.
We theorize 5 dimensions of academic disengagement based on students' values, motivations, study behaviors, academic interactions, and competing involvements. Using 2010 survey data from the University of California, we find support for this conceptualization. The size of disengaged populations varied between 5% and 25%, depending on the…
Proper documentation of strategies and results is crucially important for identifying problems and benchmark successes in the education of special needs students. In this article, the author shares the guidelines he provides to teachers at his school in the hopes of minimizing administrative tasks while ensuring that educators are familiar with…
Ebert, Ellen Kress
This study used the "Relevance of Science Education" (ROSE) survey (Sjoberg & Schreiner, 2004) to examine topics of interest and perspectives of secondary science students in a large school district in the southwestern U.S. A situated learning perspective was used to frame the project. The research questions of this study focused on…
has been evaluated on student submissions to three problems from the ANDES physics tutoring system [8 in the fall semester of 2001. Exkt3a: Suppose you fire a bullet (speed 1600 m/s) in a shooting gallery at 27.8 m/s turns onto the road at the same point as did the motorcycle. How many seconds after
Gurwick, Noel P.; Krasny, Marianne E.
Presents an authentic semi-guided student research project. Studies the impact of a regional invasion of non-indigenous worm species on decomposition in forest soils. Describes the experimental design, data analysis, and interpretation of the data. (Contains 16 references.) (YDS)
Shipman, H. L.
Students often have difficulties in appreciating just how old the earth and the universe are. While they can simply memorize a number, they really do not understand just how big that number really is, in comparison with other, more familiar student referents like the length of a human lifetime or how long it takes to eat a pizza. (See, e.g., R.D. Trend 2001, J. Research in Science Teaching 38(2): 191-221) Students, and members of the general public, also display such well-known misconceptions as the "Flintstone chronology" of believing that human beings and dinosaurs walked the earth at the same time. (In the classic American cartoon "The Flintstones," human beings used dinosaurs as draft animals. As scientists we know this is fiction, but not all members of the public understand that.) In an interdisciplinary undergraduate college class that dealt with astronomy, cosmology, and biological evolution, I used a familiar activity to try to improve student understanding of the concept of time's vastness. Students walked through a pre-determined 600-step path which provided a spatial analogy to the geological time scale. They stopped at various points and engaged in some pre-determined discussions and debates. This activity is as old as the hills, but reports of its effectiveness or lack thereof are quite scarce. This paper demonstrates that this activity was effective for a general-audience, college student population in the U.S. The growth of student understandings of the geological time scale was significant as a result of this activity. Students did develop an understanding of time's vastness and were able to articulate this understanding in various ways. This growth was monitored through keeping track of several exam questions and through pre- and post- analysis of student writings. In the pre-writings, students often stated that they had "no idea" about how to illustrate the size of the geological time scale to someone else. While some post-time walk responses simply restated what was done in the walk through time, some students were able to develop their own ways of conceptualizing the vastness of the geological time scale. A variety of findings from student understandings will be presented. This work has been supported in part by the Distinguished Scholars Program of the National Science Foundation (DUE-0308557).
Mutonyi, Harriet; Nashon, Samson; Nielsen, Wendy S.
In Uganda, curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS has largely depended on public and private media messages about the disease. Media campaigns based on Uganda’s cultural norms of communication are metaphorical, analogical and simile-like. The topic of HIV/AIDS has been introduced into the Senior Three (Grade 11) biology curriculum in Uganda. To what extent do students’ pre-conceptions of the disease, based on these media messages influence students’ development of conceptual understanding of the disease, its transmission and prevention? Of significant importance is the impact the conceptions students have developed from the indirect media messages on classroom instruction on HIV/AIDS. The study is based in a theoretical framework of conceptual change in science learning. An interpretive case study to determine the impact of Ugandan students’ conceptions or perceptions on classroom instruction about HIV/AIDS, involving 160 students aged 15-17, was conducted in four different Ugandan high schools: girls boarding, boys boarding, mixed boarding, and mixed day. Using questionnaires, focus group discussions, recorded biology lessons and informal interviews, students’ preconceptions of HIV/AIDS and how these impact lessons on HIV/AIDS were discerned. These preconceptions fall into four main categories: religious, political, conspiracy and traditional African worldviews. Results of data analysis suggest that students’ prior knowledge is persistent even after biology instructions. This has implications for current teaching approaches, which are mostly teacher-centred in Ugandan schools. A rethinking of the curriculum with the intent of offering science education programs that promote understanding of the science of HIV/AIDS as opposed to what is happening now—insensitivity to misconceptions about the disease—is needed.
Owen, Julie E.
Theories of student learning and development are particularly important in leadership education because they make prescriptions about how people can adopt increasingly complex ways of being, knowing, and doing--essential forms of development for leadership learning. Increasingly, there is a call for leadership educators to adopt interdisciplinary…
Madison, Bernard L.; Carlson, Marilyn; Oehrtman, Michael; Tallman, Michael
Research over the past few decades points to ways precalculus and calculus courses can be strengthened to improve student learning in these courses. This research has informed the development of the Algebra and Precalculus Concept Readiness (APCR) and the Calculus Concept Readiness (CCR) assessments. In this article, the authors present three…
Maynes, Nancy; Hatt, Blaine E.
This article has two purposes. First, it reports the first year results from focus group methodology conducted to determine how teacher characteristics may influence students' learning. Second, the article establishes a framework to support ongoing research related to the professional maturation of teachers. Both of these research outcomes are…
Tierney, Benjamin P.
The complex topic of global climate change continues to be a challenging yet important topic among science educators and researchers. This mixed methods study adds to the growing research by investigating student conceptions of climate change from a system theory perspective (Von Bertalanffy, 1968) by asking the question, "How do differences…
Sim, Joong Hiong; Daniel, Esther Gnanamalar Sarojini
Developing representational competence early in chemistry education is important. However, research to uncover students' difficulties with representational competence of basic chemical concepts in the early years of their chemistry course is scarce. The purpose of this study was to investigate and identify these difficulties. A total of 384…
Kuh, George D.
When the history of American higher education is rewritten years from now, one of the storylines of the first decade of the twenty-first century likely will be the emergence of student engagement as an organizing construct for institutional assessment, accountability, and improvement efforts. The engagement premise is straightforward and easily…
Urquhart, Robin; Sargeant, Joan; Grunfeld, Eva
Moving knowledge into practice and the implementation of innovations in health care remain significant challenges. Few researchers adequately address the influence of organizations on the implementation of innovations in health care. The aims of this article are to (1) present 2 conceptual frameworks for understanding the organizational factors…
Artun, Huseyin; Costu, Bayram
The aim of this study was to explore a group of prospective primary teachers' conceptual understanding of diffusion and osmosis as they implemented a 5E constructivist model and related materials in a science methods course. Fifty prospective primary teachers' ideas were elicited using a pre- and post-test and delayed post-test survey consisting…
Kurnaz, Mehmet Altan
Determining the learning quality and the role of measurement and evaluation are accepted as part of the duties and responsibilities of teachers and operators in structured teaching programs. This qualitative case study research examined teacher candidates' conceptual understanding of the reasons for measurement and evaluation and for…
Lin, Huann-shyang; Cheng, Hsiu-ju; Lawrenz, Frances
Describes a study of high school students' and chemistry teachers' understanding of the gas laws which focused on the application of scientific concepts in practical situations instead of mathematical calculations in theoretical situations. (Contains 13 references.) (WRM)
Hein, Teresa Lee
Student ability to analyze and interpret motion graphs following laboratory instruction that utilized interactive digital video as well as traditional instructional techniques was investigated. Research presented suggested that digital video tools serve to motivate students and may be an effective mechanism to enhance student understanding of motion concepts. Two laboratory exercises involving motion concepts were developed for this study. Students were divided into two instructional groups. The treatment group used digital video techniques and the control group used traditional techniques to perform the laboratory exercises. Student understanding of motion concepts were assessed, in part, using the Test of Understanding Graphs-Kinematics. Other assessment measures included student responses to a set of written graphical analysis questions and two post-lab activities. Possible relationships between individual learning style preferences and student understanding of motion concepts were also addressed. Learning style preferences were assessed using the Productivity Environmental Preference Survey prior to the instructional treatments. Students were asked to comment in writing about their learning styles before and after they were given the learning style assessment. Student comments revealed that the results they received from Productivity Environmental Preference Survey accurately reflected their learning styles. Results presented in this study showed that no significant relationship exists between students' learning style preferences and their ability to interpret motion graphs as measured by scores on the Test of Understanding Graphs-Kinematics. In addition, the results showed no significant difference between instructional treatment and mean scores on the Test of Understanding Graphs-Kinematics. Analysis of writing activities revealed that students in the treatment group responded more effectively than students in the control group to graphical interpretation questions that closely paralleled the motions they had observed during the laboratory. However, students in both instructional groups displayed similar levels of difficulty when confronted with motions that deviated from what they had observed in the laboratory. After controlling for differences in student ability levels using SAT scores and course grades, a significant difference in mean scores on the Test of Understanding Graphs-Kinematics was observed between males and females. Males and females as a separate population had similar mean SAT scores and course grades. A suggestion was made that the observed difference between males and females based on mean scores on the Test of Understanding Graphs- Kinematics could be due to a gender bias inherent in the instrument. A recommendation was made that future studies could address this observed gender difference.
Dodick, Jeff; Orion, Nir
There have been few discoveries in geology more important than "deep time"--the understanding that the universe has existed for countless millennia, such that man's existence is confined to the last milliseconds of the metaphorical geological clock. The influence of deep time is felt in a variety of sciences including geology, cosmology, and…
Kleine, Sarah Elizabeth
THE EXAMINED LIFE: UNDERSTANDING STUDENT PERSPECTIVES ON TESTING By Copyright 2011 Sarah Kleine Submitted to the graduate degree program in Anthropology and the Graduate Faculty of the University of Kansas in partial fulfillment....D. ________________________________ Lizette A. Peter, Ph.D. Date Defended: May 18, 2011 ii The Thesis Committee for Sarah Kleine certifies that this is the approved version of the following thesis: THE EXAMINED LIFE: UNDERSTANDING STUDENT...
N Halkitis, Perry; Kapadia, Farzana; C Ompad, Danielle; Perez-Figueroa, Rafael
In the last four decades, we have witnessed vast and important transitions in the social, economic, political, and health contexts of the lived experiences of gay men in the United States. This dynamic period, as evidenced most prominently by the transition of the gay rights movement to a civil rights movement, has shifted the exploration of gay men's health from one focusing primarily on HIV/AIDS into a mainstream consideration of the overall health and wellbeing of gay men. Against this backdrop, aging gay men in the United States constitute a growing population, for whom further investigations of health states and health-related disparities are warranted. In order to advance our understanding of the health and wellbeing of aging gay men, we outline here a multilevel, ecosocial conceptual framework that integrates salient environmental, social, psychosocial, and sociodeomgraphic factors into sets of macro-, meso-, and micro-level constructs that can be applied to comprehensively study health states and health care utilization in older gay men. PMID:25492304
Crede, Erin; Borrego, Maura
The purpose of this study is to better understand the differences in selected retention constructs by student nationality in US graduate programs. Surveys administered at four universities across the United States during fall 2010 resulted in responses from 685 PhD students from six international regions. Using univariate ANOVA, responses were…
When high school honors students were put off by contemporary poetry, the author engaged them by analyzing the poem as an "argument." Using the Toulmin model to establish a warrant, advance a claim, and locate details to support that claim, students were able, by treating a poem as an argument, to increase their understanding of the poet's…
Walter, Janet G.; Hart, Janelle
Student motivation has long been a concern of mathematics educators. However, commonly held distinctions between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations may be insufficient to inform our understandings of student motivations in learning mathematics or to appropriately shape pedagogical decisions. Here, motivation is defined, in general, as an…
Libarkin, Julie C.; Asghar, Anila; Crockett, C.; Sadler, Philip
The importance of nonvisible wavelengths for the study of astronomy suggests that student understanding of nonvisible light is an important consideration in astronomy classrooms. Questionnaires, interviews, and panel discussions were used to investigate 6-12 student and teacher conceptions of ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR). Alternative…
Wilkins, Elizabeth A.; Okrasinski, Jeanne E.
The purpose of this study was to explore perspectives held by student teachers about induction and mentoring programs and how teacher education programs could contribute to a broader continuum of supports that span from preservice to in-service teaching. Using survey research, this mixed-method study sought to understand what student teachers from…
Acar, Burcin; Tarhan, Leman
The present study focused on investigating the effectiveness of instruction via newly developed teaching materials based on cooperative learning when compared to a traditional approach, on ninth grade students' understanding of metallic bonding. Fifty-seven ninth grade science students from two science classes in the same high school participated…
Liff, Roy; Rovio-Johansson, Airi
This paper investigates undergraduate students' application of theory in their analysis of problems presented in authentic leadership cases. Taking a phenomenographic research approach, the paper identifies two levels at which students understand "theory": Level 1-Theory as knowledge acquired from books; Level 2-Theory as support…
Liang, Lauren Aimonette; Watkins, Naomi M.; Graves, Michael F.; Hosp, John
The study examined the effectiveness of a "story map," a questioning technique (Beck & McKeown, 1981) for improving students' understanding of literature. Though the story map idea was widely adopted as a student-initiated strategy, the original story map--a teacher-generated, postreading questioning framework--was never empirically tested. This…
Ting, Ding Hooi; Lee, Christina Kwai Choi
The aim of this study is to examine the attributes which influence students' selection of electives as part of their university degree programme. Marketing students at a public university in Malaysia participated in the research. Conjoint analysis was used to understand the trade-offs between three attributes when selecting elective subjects.…
Haciomeroglu, Erhan Selcuk; Aspinwall, Leslie; Presmeg, Norma C.
This study adds momentum to the ongoing discussion clarifying the merits of visualization and analysis in mathematical thinking. Our goal was to gain understanding of three calculus students' mental processes and images used to create meaning for derivative graphs. We contrast the thinking processes of these three students as they attempted to…
Wittmann, Michael C.; Steinberg, Richard N.; Redish, Edward F.
Explains the design and development of curriculum materials that ask students to think about physics from a different view. These group-learning classroom materials specifically aim to bring about improvement of student understanding of sound waves. (Contains 29 references.) (Author/SOE)
Kennedy-Lewis, Brianna L.; Murphy, Amy S.; Grosland, Tanetha J.
Educators' persistent disciplining of a small group of students positions them as "frequent flyers." This identity prevents educators from developing an understanding that could enable them to reengage these students. Using the methodology of interpretive biography positioned within narrative inquiry and using a Gestalt-based analysis,…
Dimitriadi, Kyriaki; Halkia, Krystallia
A major topic that has marked "modern physics" is the theory of special relativity (TSR). The present work focuses on the possibility of teaching the basic ideas of the TSR to students at the upper secondary level in such a way that they are able to understand and learn the ideas. Its aim is to investigate students' learning processes towards the…
This paper will provide the reader with an understanding of how domestic violence affects the behavior of high school students. The presentation is designed to provide the reader with a working definition of domestic violence, the rate of occurrence and its effects on high school students. Additionally the paper will summarize the negative effects…
Abraham, Michael; Varghese, Valsamma; Tang, Hui
Stereochemistry is an important topic in organic chemistry. It is also a difficult topic for students to learn. This study investigated the relative effectiveness on students' understanding of three kinds of molecular representations of stereochemistry concepts. Instructional activities compared the use of either: (i) computer-based molecular…
Reed, Michelle K.
Schools following the Montessori philosophy use individual and small-group teaching methods and hands-on, concrete materials. This study investigated the understanding of place value concepts and abilities of Montessori students by comparing interview task responses of 93 students in grades 1-3 in a Montessori school (n = 47) and in a mostly…
Bang, Megan Elisabeth
There is a great need to raise the levels of science achievement for those groups of children who have traditionally underperformed. Prior cognitive research with Native people suggests that problems with achievement for Native students may be more complicated then simple problems with knowing or not knowing content knowledge. This dissertation hypothesizes that Native Americans engage in practices and have funds of knowledge that facilitate sophisticated reasoning in the domain of science. However, the knowledge and patterns of reasoning are not elicited, acceptable, or recognized in classroom science, or perhaps are in conflict with classroom science. Furthermore the divergence is not simply in the details of what is known; there is discord at the level of epistemology, in the fundamental ways in which Native people conceptualize knowledge of the natural world. This work proposes a new framework, Micro-practice epistemology, for understanding epistemology. I propose that epistemology should be understood as implicitly and explicitly imbedded in the worldviews, values, beliefs and practices of our everyday lives. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods this work investigates the everyday practices related to nature, the epistemological stances and biological knowledge embedded in those practices in a 3X3 model (age cohort: child, adult, elder X community). The three communities involved in this work include: Chicago urban Indian community, Menominee reservation community, and a rural working poor white community. I find significant differences in all three areas across communities. Native communities tend to participate in practices in which some aspect of nature is fore-grounded while non-Native participants tended to participate in practices in which nature is the back-grounded. These findings are extended to explore the ways in which worldviews and values are connected to practice and knowledge about the natural world. I find significant differences in worldviews and values between Native and non-Native communities. Finally this dissertation explores the Native children's perceptions of values and meaning between their science teachers and their community elders. I find Native children are acutely aware of significant differences in values and core understandings of biology between their science teachers and their elders. The epistemological implications of these differences are discussed.
in understanding goals of promoting inquiry in K-12 science education. There are probably a number of points abilities and inclinations for science as inquiry, and we see engagement in inquiry as essential for genuine education research communities represented by the invited attendees, and if we are in consensus
Yayon, Malka; Mamlok-Naaman, Rachel; Fortus, David
Chemical bonding knowledge is fundamental and essential to the understanding of almost every topic in chemistry, but it is very difficult to learn. While many studies have characterized some of the central elements of knowledge of this topic, these elements of knowledge have not been systematically organized. We describe the development and…
Thiros, Susan A.; Bexfield, Laura M.; Anning, David W.; Huntington, Jena M.
The National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program of the U.S. Geological Survey has been conducting a regional analysis of water quality in the principal aquifer systems in the southwestern United States (hereinafter, 'Southwest') since 2005. Part of the NAWQA Program, the objective of the Southwest Principal Aquifers (SWPA) study is to develop a better understanding of water quality in basin-fill aquifers in the region by synthesizing information from case studies of 15 basins into a common set of important natural and human-related factors found to affect groundwater quality. The synthesis consists of three major components: 1. Summary of current knowledge about the groundwater systems, and the status of, changes in, and influential factors affecting quality of groundwater in basin-fill aquifers in 15 basins previously studied by NAWQA (this report). 2. Development of a conceptual model of the primary natural and human-related factors commonly affecting groundwater quality, thereby building a regional understanding of the susceptibility and vulnerability of basin-fill aquifers to contaminants. 3. Development of statistical models that relate the concentration or occurrence of specific chemical constituents in groundwater to natural and human-related factors linked to the susceptibility and vulnerability of basin-fill aquifers to contamination. Basin-fill aquifers occur in about 200,000 mi2 of the 410,000 mi2 SWPA study area and are the primary source of groundwater supply for cities and agricultural communities. Four of the principal aquifers or aquifer systems of the United States are included in the basin-fill aquifers of the study area: (1) the Basin and Range basin-fill aquifers in California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona; (2) the Rio Grande aquifer system in New Mexico and Colorado; (3) the California Coastal Basin aquifers; and (4) the Central Valley aquifer system in California. Because of the generally limited availability of surface-water supplies in the arid to semiarid climate, cultural and economic activities in the Southwest are particularly dependent on supplies of good-quality groundwater. Irrigation and public-supply withdrawals from basin-fill aquifers in the study area account for about one quarter of the total withdrawals from all aquifers in the United States. Many factors influence the quality of groundwater in the 15 case-study basins, but some common factors emerge from the basin summaries presented in this report. These factors include the chemical composition of the recharge water, consolidated rock geology and composition of aquifer materials derived from consolidated rock, and land and water use. The major water-quality issues in many of the developed case-study basins are increased concentrations of dissolved solids, nitrate, and VOCs in groundwater as a result of human activities. The information presented and the citations listed in this report serve as a resource for those interested in the groundwater-flow systems in the NAWQA case-study basins. The summaries of water-development history, hydrogeology, conceptual understanding of the groundwater system under both predevelopment and modern conditions, and effects of natural and human-related factors on groundwater quality presented in the sections on each basin also serve as a foundation for the synthesis and modeling phases of the SWPA regional study.
Maryland at College Park, University of
they interpreted the question. This type of understanding is often essential to physics education researchers of interviews by physics education researchers led to much of the current understanding of student difficulties. The research conducted in the early 1980s using interviews changed physics education research from studies
Lambert, Julie L.; Lindgren, Joan; Bleicher, Robert
Global climate change, referred to as climate change in this paper, has become an important planetary issue, and given that K-12 students have numerous alternative conceptions or lack of prior knowledge, it is critical that teachers have an understanding of the fundamental science underlying climate change. Teachers need to understand the natural…
Shamos, Michael I.
The use of logarithms, an important tool for calculus and beyond, has been reduced to symbol manipulation without understanding in most entry-level college algebra courses. The primary aim of this research, therefore, was to investigate college students' understanding of logarithmic concepts through the use of a series of instructional tasks…
Fulop, Rebecca M.; Tanner, Kimberly D.
Students go to school to learn. How much, however, do students understand about the biological basis of this everyday process? Blackwell et al. (1) demonstrated a correlation between education about learning and academic achievement. Yet there are few studies investigating high school students' conceptions of learning. In this mixed-methods…
Strate, Joshua Matthew
The purpose of this study was to determine if middle school student scientific understanding could be predicted by the variables: standardized 5th grade score in science, standardized 5th grade score in mathematics, standardized 5th grade score in reading, student attitude towards science, socioeconomic status, gender, and ethnicity. The areas of the comprehensive literature review were trends in science learning and teaching, research in the K-12 science education arena, what factors have influenced K-12 science education, scientific understanding, what research has been done on K-12 scientific understanding, and what factors have influenced science understanding in the K-12 arenas. Based on the results of the literature review, the researcher of this study examined a sample of middle school 8th grade students. An Attitude Towards Science Survey (SATS) Simpson & Oliver (1990) and a Survey of Scientific Understandings (Klapper, DeLucia, & Trent, 1993) were administered to these 116 middle school 8th grade students drawn from a total population of 1109 who attend this middle school in a typical county in Florida during the 2010- 2011 school year. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to test each sub-hypothesis and to provide a model that attempted to predict student scientific understanding. Seven null sub-hypotheses were formed to determine if there were significant relationships between student scientific understanding and the abovementioned variables. The results of the tests of the seven null sub-hypotheses showed that the sub-hypothesis that involved socioeconomic status was rejected, which indicated that the socioeconomic status of a family does influence the level of scientific understanding of a student. Low SES students performed lower on the scientific understanding survey, on average, than high SES students. This study can be a source of information for teachers in low-income schools by recognizing potential areas of concern for low-income students in their science classrooms. The study is also a guide for administrators in developing science curriculum that is designed to remediate critical science content. Recommendations, further research, and implications for stakeholders in the science education process are then identified in order to focus on the concerns that these stakeholders need to address through a needs assessment.
Merritt, Joi Deshawn
One reason students find it difficult to learn the particle model of matter is that traditional curriculum materials present concepts to students without helping them to develop these ideas. The How can I smell things from a distance? sixth grade chemistry unit takes the approach of building students' ideas through their construction and revision of models. Progress variables have been proposed as a means to address the need for curriculum and assessments that can help teachers' improve their practice as well as to inform both students and teachers about students' performance. Progress variables depict students' increasingly sophisticated conceptions of a specific construct during instruction. This study provides evidence that curriculum and assessment based on modern learning theories, can lead to the development of progress variables that are able to track middle school students' understanding of the particle nature of matter over time. This study used a progress variable to track student understanding of the particle nature of matter during the sixth grade chemistry unit. I describe the assessment system used to develop the progress variable for tracking students' development of particle model of matter during the sixth grade chemistry unit. A calibration study determined that the chemistry unit's assessments were reliable and valid measures of the particle model of matter progress variable. Further analysis revealed that the progress variable had to be modified such that the levels were more distinct. The modified progress variable was empirically validated so that it could be used to track students' understanding during instruction. Results indicate that a validated progress variable, linked to coherent curriculum and assessments can provide valid interpretations of students' knowledge of particular domain during instruction and that this progress variable is valid for students from varying populations and backgrounds. In addition, well-aligned curriculum and assessment can provide insight into instructional sequencing that help students in developing a particle model of matter. Results also indicate that students are able to reach a completely particle view of matter. These results hold implications for curriculum development as well as for understanding the ways in which students develop a particle view of matter.
The teaching of fractions in elementary school is known to be challenging. Literature indicates that teachers' and prospective teachers' lack of depth of fraction content knowledge and associated pedagogical knowledge is of concern. This study investigated the fraction content knowledge of prospective teachers and their ability to use that knowledge in a novel situation. Prospective teachers who regarded their own fractional content knowledge as weak were recruited to participate in the study. They completed a questionnaire and then participated in a loosely structured teaching experiment in which they were shown how an elastic strip could be used to assist in the development of fraction ideas. Data gained from questionnaires and transcripts of the teaching experiment indicated that using the elastic strip was effective in challenging and enriching the participants' knowledge of equivalent fractions and ordering fractions. The physical nature of the use of the fraction strip required participants to articulate their thoughts to other participants which assisted in making their actions relating to the fraction tasks explicit. The results suggest that the use of the elastic strip, and associated teaching, should be considered as a productive way of assisting prospective teachers to develop their understanding of fractional concepts.
Chin, Christine Hui Li
The purpose of this study was to (a) investigate the relationship between students' learning approaches and their conceptual understanding of some chemical concepts, (b) describe the qualitative differences between a deep and surface learning approach to learning science, and (c) identify the kinds of cognitive and metacognitive strategies that students use as they construct their conceptual knowledge. One hundred and two eighth grade students were given the Learning Approach Questionnaire to measure their orientation to learn using a deep or surface approach. They also completed a Chemistry Questionnaire both before and after the teaching of a chemistry unit which lasted nine weeks. Six target students from one class were selected for more in-depth study. They represented learners using a deep or surface learning approach, and were identified by the Learning Approach Questionnaire and their teacher's evaluation. They worked in groups during hands-on laboratory activities and were audiotaped or videotaped. The students were also interviewed individually both before and after instruction of the chemistry unit about their responses on the Chemistry Questionnaire and their thoughts and actions during the laboratory activities. The correlation between the students' scores on the "meaningful orientation" scale of the Learning Approach Questionnaire and their gain scores from the pre-test to post-test on the Chemistry Questionnaire was.06, suggesting no relationship between the students' learning approach and their conceptual change. Several reasons were given to explain this finding. Analysis of the target students' discourse and actions during the group activities and their interview responses revealed differences between the deep and surface learning approaches regarding generative thinking, nature of explanations, asking questions, metacognitive activity, and approach to tasks. Strategies associated with a deep learning approach included generating mental images and analogies, hypothesizing, thought experimenting and predicting possible outcomes, self-explaining and theorizing, invoking personal experiences and prior knowledge and applying them to new situations, asking questions, thinking of specific examples, and looking for coherence by seeking patterns and relating different aspects of the task. When students used a deep approach, they also constantly monitored and self-evaluated the status of their comprehension, self-questioned, self-corrected their errors, attended to contradictory information, considered limitations in their own or others' ideas and critiqued them.
Alparslan, Cem; Tekkaya, Ceren; Geban, Omer
Investigates the effect of conceptual change instruction on grade 11 students' understanding of respiration. The Respiration Concept Test was developed and used to test students' misconceptions. Results indicate that the conceptual change instruction that explicitly addressed students' misconceptions produced significantly greater achievement in…
The study aimed that the impact of using model of Marzano gain students the ability to configure an integrated conceptual structure in Islamic concepts the Sample included studious (120) student students the first year where of college of the educational sciences study in, two branches be organized in their choice was complete random among seven…
Oluk, Sami; Sakaci, Tansel
The main objectives of the study have been testing Roger conceptual learning method with regard to Turkish students and to investigate the applicability of the method on graduate students. The experimental group was formed by 10 volunteer students. The study lasted 16 weeks according to group discussion method. In this period, global environmental…
This study examines students' procedural and conceptual achievement in fraction addition in England and Taiwan. A total of 1209 participants (561 British students and 648 Taiwanese students) at ages 12 and 13 were recruited from England and Taiwan to take part in the study. A quantitative design by means of a self-designed written test is…
McDonald, Lorri J; Walters, Kate
A virtual course for the nurse educator master's program was developed and delivered collaboratively between two professors, one from the College of Health Professions (CHP) and the other from the College of Liberal Arts and Education (CLAE). The collaborative effort provided a venue for both professors to complement each other's strengths, affording students the benefit of constructivist pedagogy using content appropriate for a nurse educator program. Student discussion board communication indicated the anticipated conceptual change as a result of teaching using constructivist methodology. Qualitative data were collected and will be used to improve the course as well as develop the follow-up course. PMID:19999941
Students may use the technical engineering terms without knowing what these words mean. This creates a language barrier in engineering that influences student learning. Previous research has been conducted to characterize the difference between colloquial and scientific language. Since this research had not yet been applied explicitly to…
Miller, Paul Chamness; Endo, Hidehiro
One of the best ways to understand what it is like to be an English-language learner in a U.S. classroom is to hear the stories of immigrant students. In this article, the authors use these stories to determine what steps teachers can take to help their students triumph over their struggles with a new culture and a new language. This article…
Grove, T. T.; Masters, M. F.
To help students develop an understanding of the proper use and function of spectrographs and monochromators we describe a student-assembled spectrograph using a "webcam" detector. The apparatus also works well as a low-cost demonstration, helping students make connections between an atomic spectrum observed by eye and a plot of the relative…
Zambo, Debby M.
Understanding how memory works is important for success in school, for "all" students. One way for teachers to help students with disabilities learn about memory is to use picture books and then learn strategies. Picture books are useful for students with disabilities because these resources have moved beyond a means to scaffold early literacy…
Rosenblatt, Rebecca; Heckler, Andrew F.
We developed an instrument to systematically investigate student conceptual understanding of the relationships between the directions of net force, velocity, and acceleration in one dimension and report on data collected on the final version of the instrument from over 650 students. Unlike previous work, we simultaneously studied all six possible conditional relations between force, velocity, and acceleration in order to obtain a coherent picture of student understanding of the relations between all three concepts. We present a variety of evidence demonstrating the validity and reliability of the instrument. An analysis of student responses from three different course levels revealed three main findings. First, a significant fraction of students chose “partially correct” responses, and from pre- to post-test, many students moved from “misconception” to partially correct responses, or from partially correct to fully correct responses. Second, there were asymmetries in responding to conditional relations. For example, students answered questions of the form “Given the velocity, what can be inferred about the net force?” differently than converse questions “Given the net force, what can be inferred about the velocity?” Third, there was evidence of hierarchies in student responses, suggesting, for example, that understanding the relation between velocity and acceleration is necessary for understanding the relation between velocity and force, but the converse is not true. Finally, we briefly discuss how these findings might be applied to instruction.
Abbott, Stephen; Bevere, Grazia; Roberts, Christopher M.
Objectives The purpose of this study is to explore how medical students with Specific Learning Difficulties perceive and understand their Specific Learning Difficulty and how it has impacted on their experience of medical training. Method A purposive sample of fifteen students from one medical school was interviewed. Framework Analysis was used to identify and organise themes emerging from the data. An interpretation of the data was made capturing the essence of what had been learned. The concept of ‘reframing’ was then used to re-analyse and organise the data. Results Students reported having found ways to cope with their Specific Leaning Difficulty in the past, some of which proved inadequate to deal with the pressures of medical school. Diagnosis was a mixed experience: many felt relieved to understand their difficulties better, but some feared discrimination. Practical support was available in university but not in placement. Students focused on the impact of their Specific Learning Difficulty on their ability to pass undergraduate exams. Most did not contemplate difficulties post-qualification. Conclusions The rigours of the undergraduate medical course may reveal undisclosed Specific Learning Difficulties. Students need help to cope with such challenges, psychologically and practically in both classroom and clinical practice. University services for students with Specific Learning Difficulties should become familiar with the challenges of clinical placements, and ensure that academic staff has access to information about the needs of these students and how these can be met.
Ceylan, Eren; Geban, Omer
The main purpose of the study was to compare the effectiveness of 5E learning cycle model based instruction and traditionally designed chemistry instruction on 10th grade students' understanding of state of matter and solubility concepts. In this study, 119 tenth grade students from chemistry courses instructed by same teacher from an Anatolian…
Clough, Elizabeth Engel; Driver, Rosalind
Explores the issue of the consistency of use of students' conceptions across different tasks which probed understandings of aspects of pressure, heat, and biological evolution. Findings indicate that children have alternative frameworks for all investigated areas. (ML)
Sullivan, Ivy Aleta
The purpose of this qualitative research investigates the influence of reading and writing to facilitate learning in science. Another purpose is to study the effect of constructivist teaching practices and cooperative learning to attain conceptual change among community college students in a Human Anatomy and Physiology I course. The affective dimension of learning anatomy and physiology through reading and writing was studied by examining the students' attitudes and personal beliefs expressed in their essays. This research combined several methods to engage the learner: reading an article of their choice from the "Vital Signs" series, writing an essay on the article read, collaborative group discussions, and critique of essay. The reading component of the study utilized the "Vital Signs" series from Discover magazine. The students then wrote essays using guide questions provided by the researcher. The essays were shared during the collaboration and critique session when students are in their "base groups." Reading and writing facilitates adult learners conceptual change in a human anatomy and physiology course through the linking of concepts to previous experiences, whether personal or previously studied materials. The positive effects of cooperative learning on minds-on construction of knowledge on adult learners' attitudes toward reading and writing about human anatomy and physiology were expressed at the focus group interviews. The choice of reading materials, working with peers, and freedom to express personal beliefs regarding the medically related articles positively influenced the adult learners' interest in learning human anatomy and physiology.
Hser, Yih-Ing; Longshore, Douglas; Anglin, M. Douglas
This article discusses the life course perspective on drug use, including conceptual and analytic issues involved in developing the life course framework to explain how drug use trajectories develop during an individual's lifetime and how this knowledge can guide new research and approaches to management of drug dependence. Central concepts…
Evans, E. Margaret; Spiegel, Amy N.; Gram, Wendy; Frazier, Brandy N.; Tare, Medha; Thompson, Sarah; Diamond, Judy
Museum visitors are an ideal population for assessing the persistence of the conceptual barriers that make it difficult to grasp Darwinian evolutionary theory. In comparison with other members of the public, they are more likely to be interested in natural history, have higher education levels, and be exposed to the relevant content. If museum…
Chambers, Joan M.; Carbonaro, Mike; Murray, Hana
Science educators advocate hands on experiences and the use of manipulatives as important for children's conceptual development. Consequently, the utilisation of "Lego" robotic technologies in teaching and learning has become more prevalent in school science classrooms. It is important to investigate their value as educational tools, particularly…
Niebert, Kai; Gropengiesser, Harald
In recent years, researchers have become aware of the experiential grounding of scientific thought. Accordingly, research has shown that metaphorical mappings between experience-based source domains and abstract target domains are omnipresent in everyday and scientific language. The theory of conceptual metaphor explains these findings based on…
Elizabeth Carr writes here about a new scheme of work she developed to teach students about diversity in Victorian society. When dealing with a concept such as diversity, it can be easy for students to slip into stereotypes based on simplistic understandings of the experiences of people at the time. To resolve this, Carr argues, teachers need to…
Lombardi, Kara M.
The purpose of this study was to examine the anticipatory socialization experiences of new student affairs professionals. The focus was to gain a deeper understanding of how new professionals experience their anticipatory socialization, specifically the job search and pre-entry communication with their new organizations. The theory that emerged…
Henry, Linda M.
The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how Catholic homeschooled students navigate the college choice process. With the growth of homeschooling in the United States nearly doubling in the past eight years (Cogan, 2010), this study explored a segment of this growing population to give researchers and practitioners a deeper…