Saricayir, Hakan; Ay, Selahattin; Comek, Arif; Cansiz, Gokhan; Uce, Musa
Science students find heat, temperature, enthalpy and energy in chemical reactions to be some of the most difficult subjects. It is crucial to define their conceptual understanding level in these subjects so that educators can build upon this knowledge and introduce new thermodynamics concepts. This paper reports conceptual understanding levels of…
Presents a problem on solubility equilibrium which involves macroscopic, microscopic, and symbolic levels of representation as a resource for the evaluation of students, and allows for assessment as to whether students have acquired an adequate conceptual understanding of the phenomenon. Also diagnoses difficulties with regard to previous…
Sabo, Hannah C.; Goodhew, Lisa M.; Robertson, Amy D.
We report some of the common, prevalent conceptual resources that students used to reason about energy, based on our analysis of written responses to questions given to 807 introductory physics students. These resources include, for example, associating forms of energy with indicators, relating forces and energy, and representing energy quantitatively. This research responds to a need for large-scale, resources-oriented research on students' conceptual understanding and has the potential to support the development of an underexplored dimension of pedagogical content knowledge-knowledge of student resources for understanding energy. Our aim is to promote instructor take-up of the resources theory of knowledge, and we suggest a number of ways in which instructors might capitalize on the resources we report.
Poh-Ai Cheong, Irene; 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' understanding and identifying alternative conceptions with respect to malaria. Results showed that students' understanding of malaria was high for content, low for reasons, and limited and superficial for both content and reasons. The instrument revealed several common alternative conceptual understandings students' hold about malaria. The MalariaTT2 instrument developed could be used in classroom lessons for challenging alternative conceptions and enhancing conceptions of malaria.
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
Sabo, Hannah C.; Goodhew, Lisa M.; Robertson, Amy D.
We report some of the common, prevalent conceptual resources that students used to reason about energy, based on our analysis of written responses to questions given to 807 introductory physics students. These resources include, for example, associating forms of energy with indicators, relating forces and energy, and representing energy…
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…
Tsui, Chi-Yan; Treagust, David F.
This article explores the conceptual change of students in Grades 10 and 12 in three Australian senior high schools when the teachers included computer multimedia to a greater or lesser extent in their teaching of a genetics course. The study, underpinned by a multidimensional conceptual-change framework, used an interpretive approach and a case-based design with multiple data collection methods. Over 4-8 weeks, the students learned genetics in classroom lessons that included BioLogica activities, which feature multiple representations. Results of the online tests and interview tasks revealed that most students improved their understanding of genetics as evidenced in the development of genetics reasoning. However, using Thorley's (1990) status analysis categories, a cross-case analysis of the gene conceptions of 9 of the 26 students interviewed indicated that only 4 students' postinstructional conceptions were intelligible-plausible-fruitful. Students' conceptual change was consistent with classroom teaching and learning. Findings suggested that multiple representations supported conceptual understanding of genetics but not in all students. It was also shown that status can be a viable hallmark enabling researchers to identify students' conceptual change that would otherwise be less accessible. Thorley's method for analyzing conceptual status is discussed.
Ashmann, Scott; Anderson, Charles W.; Boeckman, Heather
Using real-world examples, ray diagrams, and a cognitive apprenticeship cycle, this paper focuses on developing students' conceptual (not mathematical) understanding of refraction. Refraction can be a difficult concept for students to comprehend if they do not have well-designed opportunities to practice explaining situations where reflection and…
Miller, Larry S.; Nakhleh, Mary B.; Nash, John J.; Meyer, Jeanne A.
Students' attitudes toward and conceptual understanding of chemical instrumentation is surveyed. The study shows that, in general, the students' attitudes toward using instrumentation in the lab is quite positive and they felt that using instrumentation in the lab allowed them not only to connect "chemistry" and the "real world", but also to…
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…
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…
Ashmann, Scott; Anderson, Charles W.; Boeckman, Heather
Using real-world examples, ray diagrams, and a cognitive apprenticeship cycle, this paper focuses on developing students’ conceptual (not mathematical) understanding of refraction. Refraction can be a difficult concept for students to comprehend if they do not have well-designed opportunities to practice explaining situations where reflection and refraction occur. The use of ray diagrams can be useful in (a) the teacher modelling a correct explanation to a situation where refraction occurs and (b) for students to create as they practice other examples. This paper includes eight examples of increasing complexity that use a cognitive apprenticeship cycle approach to scaffold student learning. The first examples (rock fish, floating penny) are shown and a solution is modeled using a ray diagram. Three more examples (bent pencil, dropping an item in water, sunrise/sunset) are presented for students to practice, with each becoming more sophisticated. Three assessment exercises are then provided (two dots, three coins, broken tube).
Wolfer, Adam J.; Lederman, Norman G.
Many studies of college chemistry students have found a gap between students' success in solving computational chemistry problems and their success in solving conceptual chemistry problems. This paper examines college students' understanding of the concept of stoichiometry, the particulate nature of matter, and chemistry problem solving. This…
Tsui, Chi-Yan; Treagust, David F.
This article explores the conceptual change of students in Grades 10 and 12 in three Australian senior high schools when the teachers included computer multimedia to a greater or lesser extent in their teaching of a genetics course. The study, underpinned by a multidimensional conceptual-change framework, used an interpretive approach and a…
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…
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
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…
Examines 250 sixth-grade students' understanding of arithmetic average by assessing their understanding of the computational algorithm. Results indicate that the majority of the students knew the "add-them-all-up-and-divide" averaging algorithm, but only half of the students were able to correctly apply the algorithm to solve a…
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…
Bude, Luc; Imbos, Tjaart; van de Wiel, Margaretha W.; Berger, Martijn P.
In this study the effect of the reduced distribution of study activities on students' conceptual understanding of statistics is investigated in a quasi-experiment. Conceptual understanding depends on coherent and error free knowledge structures. Students need time to construct such knowledge structures. A curriculum reform at our university…
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,…
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…
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…
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.…
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…
Ratinen, Ilkka Johannes
The greenhouse effect is a reasonably complex scientific phenomenon which can be used as a model to examine students' conceptual understanding in science. Primary student-teachers' understanding of global environmental problems, such as climate change and ozone depletion, indicates that they have many misconceptions. The present mixed method study examines Finnish primary student-teachers' understanding of the greenhouse effect based on the results obtained via open-ended and closed-form questionnaires. The open-ended questionnaire considers primary student-teachers' spontaneous ideas about the greenhouse effect depicted by concept maps. The present study also uses statistical analysis to reveal respondents' conceptualization of the greenhouse effect. The concept maps and statistical analysis reveal that the primary student-teachers' factual knowledge and their conceptual understanding of the greenhouse effect are incomplete and even misleading. In the light of the results of the present study, proposals for modifying the instruction of climate change in science, especially in geography, are presented.
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)
Kingir, Sevgi; Geban, Omer
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of conceptual change text oriented instruction compared to traditional instruction on 10th grade students' understanding of reaction rate concepts. 45 students from two classes of the same teacher in a public high school participated in this study. Students in the experimental group…
Çoruhlu, Tülay Senel; Bilgin, Arzu Kirman; Nas, Sibel Er
The aim of this research is to investigate the effect of enriched learning environments which have been developed in the framework of the "erosion and landslide" concepts on the conceptual understanding of students. A quasi-experimental method has been used in this research. The sample consists of 40 students. 5th grade students (aged…
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…
Fulmer, Gavin W.
Like their students, teachers may hold a variety of naïve conceptions that have been hypothesized to limit their ability to support students' learning. This study examines whether changes in elementary students' conceptions are related to their teachers' content knowledge, attitudes, and understanding of conceptual change. The study takes place in the context of the adoption of a new unit on seasonal change in which students build and use sundials to observe seasonal differences in the apparent motion of the Sun across the sky. A mixed-method approach is used. Data sources include pre- and post-tests for students and teacher interviews and questionnaires. Results indicate that changes in students' conceptions may be related to their teachers' knowledge of the content, attitudes toward science, and understanding of conceptual change. One teacher had low attitude toward science and limited knowledge of conceptual change. After instruction, her students' responses became less accurate but more homogeneous than before instruction. The other teacher had high attitude and moderate knowledge of conceptual change. Her students showed gains from pre- to post-test, including responses that were more scientifically accurate than the teachers' initial answers.
Pyper, Brian A.
Data from several years and several different classes have shown that Lawson test scores do not change much over the course of a single semester and are strongly correlated with FCI gains. So what does change Lawson scores? We have new data that we think shows that more interaction with materials that demand reasoning (and not just clicker questions and end of chapter Homework problems) improves reasoning ability and subsequently conceptual development.
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…
Akkuzu, Nalan; Uyulgan, Melis Arzu
This study sought to determine the levels of conceptual understanding of undergraduate students regarding organic compounds within different functional groups. A total of 60 students who were enrolled in the Department of Secondary Science and Mathematics Education of a Faculty of Education at a state university in Turkey and who had followed an…
Lu, Shanshan; Bi, Hualin
To assess students' conceptual understanding levels and diagnose alternative frameworks of the electrolyte concept, a measurement instrument was developed using the Rasch model. This paper reports the use of the measurement instrument to assess 559 students from grade 10 to grade 12 in two cities. The results provided both diagnostic and summative…
Nyachwaya, James M.
The objective of this study was to examine college general chemistry students' conceptual understanding and language fluency in the context of the topic of acids and bases. 115 students worked in groups of 2-4 to complete an activity on conductometry, where they were given a scenario in which a titration of sodium hydroxide solution and dilute…
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…
Aydeniz, Mehmet; Pabuccu, Aybuke; Cetin, Pinar Seda; Kaya, Ebru
The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of argumentation-based pedagogy on college students' conceptual understanding of properties and behaviors of gases. The sample consists of 108 students (52 in the control group and 56 in the intervention group) drawn from 2 general chemistry college courses taught by the same instructor. Data…
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…
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…
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…
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.…
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…
Cunningham, Alice Welt
This paper describes student response, as indicated by an anonymous questionnaire, given by the author to her remedial algebra students at a community college that is part of a large East Coast open-admissions university. The course in question is aimed at the university-wide exit mathematics test necessary to graduation and college-level…
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…
Margulis, Harry L.
Structuring geographical concepts so that they are intelligible to an uninitiated student is a recurrent problem in geography teaching. The subtle interrelationships between map distributions and analytical procedures are not intuitively clear, nor is it plainly evident that concise map analyses depend upon specific measures of distributions. This…
Kinard, Melissa Grass
Scientific communities have established social mechanisms for proposing explanations, questioning evidence, and validating claims. Opportunities like these are often not a given in science classrooms (Vellom, Anderson, & Palincsar, 1993) even though the National Science Education Standards (NSES, 1996) state that a scientifically literate person should be able to "engage intelligently in public discourse and debate about important issues in science and technology" (National Research Council [NRC], 1996). Research further documents that students' science conceptions undergo little modification with the traditional teaching experienced in many high school science classrooms (Duit, 2003, Dykstra, 2005). This case study is an examination of the discourse that occurred as four high school physics students collaborated on solutions to three physics lab problems during which the students made predictions and experimentally generated data to support their predictions. The discourse patterns were initially examined for instances of concept negotiations. Selected instances were further examined using Toulmin's (2003) pattern for characterizing argumentation in order to understand the students' scientific reasoning strategies and to document the role of collaboration in facilitating conceptual modifications and changes. Audio recordings of the students' conversations during the labs, written problems turned in to the teacher, interviews of the students, and observations and field notes taken during student collaboration were used to document and describe the students' challenges and successes encountered during their collaborative work. The findings of the study indicate that collaboration engaged the students and generated two types of productive science discourse: concept negotiations and procedure negotiations. Further analysis of the conceptual and procedure negotiations revealed that the students viewed science as sensible and plausible but not as a tool they could
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 misconceptions even among undergraduate physics students about how air resistance is affected by the mass and size of falling objects. A study was carried out in Hong Kong to explore Grade 6 students' (aged 11-12) conceptions of air resistance with respect to falling objects of different size and mass, and whether the subjects showed any change in their conceptual understanding after participating in an egg-dropping race. The findings show that students had a wide range of conceptions, which could be characterized into different levels. Their conceptions seem rather robust, and more structured interventions are required to bring about changes in students' conceptual understanding of air resistance.
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…
Schuchardt, Anita M.; Schunn, Christian D.
Amid calls for integrating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (iSTEM) in K-12 education, there is a pressing need to uncover productive methods of integration. Prior research has shown that increasing contextual linkages between science and mathematics is associated with student problem solving and conceptual understanding. However,…
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…
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.…
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…
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,…
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…
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.
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
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
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 climate change. In our study, we interviewed 35 secondary school students on their understanding of the greenhouse effect and analysed the conceptions of climate scientists as drawn from textbooks and research reports. We analysed all data by metaphor analysis and qualitative content analysis to gain insight into students' and scientists' resources for understanding. In our analysis, we found that students and scientists refer to the same schemata to understand the greenhouse effect. We categorised their conceptions into three different principles the conceptions are based on: warming by more input, warming by less output, and warming by a new equilibrium. By interrelating students' and scientists' conceptions, we identified the students' learning demand: First, our students were afforded with experiences regarding the interactions of electromagnetic radiation and CO2. Second, our students reflected about the experience-based schemata they use as source domains for metaphorical understanding of the greenhouse effect. By uncovering the-mostly unconscious-deployed schemata, we gave students access to their source domains. We implemented these teaching guidelines in interventions and evaluated them in teaching experiments to develop evidence-based and theory-guided learning activities on the greenhouse effect.
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…
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…
Butler, Kyle A.
The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of scaffolding software on student conceptual understanding and motivation. This study also provides insight on how students use the scaffolding features found in Artemis and the extent to which features show a relationship to student conceptual understanding and motivation. A Randomized Solomon Four Group Design was used in this study. As students worked through a project based unit over photosynthesis, the students performed information seeking activities that were based on their own inquiry. For this purpose, the students in the experimental group used an example of scaffolding software called Artemis, while the students in the control group used a search engine of their choice. To measure conceptual understanding, the researcher analyzed student generated concept maps on photosynthesis using three different methods (quantitative, qualitative, hierarchical). To measure motivation, the researcher used a survey that measured motivation on five different indicators: intrinsic goal orientation, extrinsic goal orientation, task value, control of learning beliefs, self-efficacy for learning and performance. Finally, the researcher looked at the relationship and influence of the scaffolding features on two student performance scores at the end of the unit. This created a total of ten dependent variables in relationship to the treatment. Overall, the students used the collaborative features 25% of the time, the maintenance features 0.84% of the time, the organizational features 16% of the time, the saving/viewing features 7% of the time and the searching features 51% of the time. There were significant correlations between the saving/viewing features hits and the students' task value (r = .499, p < .05), the searching features hits and the students' self-efficacy for learning and performance (r = .553, p < .01), the collaborative features hits and the students' essay performance scores (r = .519, p < .05) and the
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
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…
Garcia, Sarah; Hankins, April; Sadaghiani, Homeyra
The purpose of this study is to investigate student learning of Newtonian Mechanics through the study of its history and the development of the relevant ideas since the time of ancient Greece. The hypothesis is that not only will students learn the basic concepts of mechanics, but also will develop a more positive attitude and appreciation for physics. To assess the students' conceptual understanding, we administer Force Concept Inventory (FCI) and for the measurement of student attitude change, we employed the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey (CLASS); both were given as pre and post-tests. Additionally, at the end of the quarter, a survey was given out to see how students perceived the different course components and which ones they found helpful in their learning. This paper will present our preliminary results on such a study.
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…
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.
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, and incorrect concept test) related to the greenhouse effect and global warming were developed to explore the mechanisms underlining the test effect. Interview data analyzed by means of the flow-map method were used to examine the two-week post-test consequences of taking one of these three tests. The results indicated: (1) Traditional tests can affect participants' long-term memory, both positively and negatively; in addition, when students ponder repeatedly and think harder about highly distracting choices during a test, they may gradually develop new conceptions; (2) Students develop more correct conceptions when more true descriptions are provided on the tests; on the other hand, students develop more misconceptions while completing tests in which more false descriptions of choices are provided. Finally, the results of this study revealed a noteworthy phenomenon that tests, if employed appropriately, may be also an effective instrument for assisting students' conceptual understanding.
Bude, Luc; van de Wiel, Margaretha W. J.; Imbos, Tjaart; Berger, Martijn P. F.
Background: Education is aimed at students reaching conceptual understanding of the subject matter, because this leads to better performance and application of knowledge. Conceptual understanding depends on coherent and error-free knowledge structures. The construction of such knowledge structures can only be accomplished through active learning…
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)
Fulmer, Gavin W.
Like their students, teachers may hold a variety of naïve conceptions that have been hypothesized to limit their ability to support students' learning. This study examines whether changes in elementary students' conceptions are related to their teachers' content knowledge, attitudes, and understanding of conceptual change. The study…
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.
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…
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…
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…
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
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.
Daubenmire, Paul L.
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.
Kusmaryono, Imam; Suyitno, Hardi
This study used a model of Concurrent Embedded with the aim of: (1) determine the difference between the conceptual understanding and mathematical power of students grade fourth who take the constructivist learning using scientific approach and direct learning, (2) determine the interaction between learning approaches and initial competence on the mathematical power and conceptual of understanding, and (3) describe the mathematical power of students grade fourth. This research was conducted in the fourth grade elementary school early 2015. Data initial competence and mathematical power obtained through tests, and analyzed using statistical tests multivariate and univariate. Statistical analysis of the results showed that: (1) There are differences in the concept of understanding and mathematical power among the students who follow the scientifically-based constructivist learning than students who take the Direct Learning in terms of students initial competency (F = 5.550; p = 0.007 < 0.05), and (2) There is an interaction between the scientific-based constructivist learning approach with an initial competence (high and low) on the ability of concept of understanding and mathematical power (F = 5.259; p =0.033 < 0,05). Observations and in-depth interviews with students, shows that the construction of mathematical power of students have influenced the thinking of students in problem solving and contributes tremendous increase students' math skills. Researcher suggested that the learning of mathematics in schools using scientifically- based constructivist approach to improve the mathematical power of students and conceptual understanding.
Wells, Franklin Brian
Purpose of the study. The major purpose of this study was to measure the change, if any, in students' conceptual understanding of biology course content using concept maps (experimental) or a standard lecture format (control). In addition, the effectiveness of the use of concept maps as advance organizers was measured according to the various subgroups of cognitive development level, age, ethnicity, gender, class time, and educational background. A final concern was the relationships between conceptual understanding of biology course content and the students' cognitive development level. Procedure. A quasi-experimental design was used to conduct the study during a sixteen-week semester. The study was conducted during the fall, 1997, semester at a community college using 190 students enrolled in General Biology 1406. Major data were collected using a pretest, posttest, and the Test of Logical Thinking. Data were treated through the application of analysis of covariance, Pearson product-moment correlation, and the Fisher Z-transformation technique. Findings. The findings of this investigation were as follows: (1) Concept maps used as advance organizers had a significant effect on student conceptual understanding of biology course content. (2) The use of concept maps as advance organizers had a significant effect on student conceptual understanding of biology when students are classified according to their cognitive developmental level, age, gender, major, course time, and educational background. (3) A significant relationship between cognitive developmental level and conceptual understanding was also found. Conclusions. The use of concept maps, as advance Organizers, is an effective method for improving student learning in general biology classes. A positive relationship exists between students' cognitive developmental level and conceptual understanding.
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…
Alibali, Martha W.; Kao, Yvonne S.; Brown, Alayna N.; Nathan, Mitchell J.; Stephens, Ana C.
This study investigated middle school students' conceptual understanding of algebraic equations. Participants in the study--257 sixth- and seventh-grade students--were asked to solve one set of algebraic equations and to generate story problems corresponding with another set of equations. Structural aspects of the equations, including the number…
Olympiou, Georgios; Zacharias, Zacharia; deJong, Ton
This study aimed to identify if complementing representations of concrete objects with representations of abstract objects improves students' conceptual understanding as they use a simulation to experiment in the domain of "Light and Color". Moreover, we investigated whether students' prior knowledge is a factor that must be considered in deciding…
Adadan, Emine; Irving, Karen E.; Trundle, Kathy C.
This quasi-experimental study examined 42 high school introductory chemistry students' conceptual understandings of the particulate nature of matter (PNM) before and immediately after instruction. Two groups of students, who were taught by the same teacher, received one of two possible instructional interventions: Reform-Based Teaching (RBT) or…
Ross, Amanda; Willson, Victor
This study examined the effects of types of representations, constructivist teaching approaches, and student engagement on middle school algebra students' procedural knowledge and conceptual understanding. Data gathered from 16 video lessons and algebra pretest/posttests were used to run three multilevel structural equation models. Symbolic…
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.
Bostan Sarioglan, Ayberk
In this study, students' conceptual change processes related to the sound concept were examined. Study group was comprises of 325 fifth grade middle school students. Three multiple-choice questions were used as the data collection tool. At the data analysis process "scientific response", "scientifically unacceptable response"…
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.
Tastan, Ozgecan; Yalcinkaya, Eylem; Boz, Yezdan
The aim of this study is to compare the effectiveness of conceptual change text instruction (CCT) in the context of energy in chemical reactions. The subjects of the study were 60, 10th grade students at a high school, who were in two different classes and taught by the same teacher. One of the classes was randomly selected as the experimental…
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…
Scheja, Max; Pettersson, Kerstin
Research on student learning in higher education suggests that threshold concepts within various disciplines have the capacity to transform students' understanding. The present study explores students' understanding in relation to particular threshold concepts in mathematics--integral and limit--and tries to clarify in what sense developing an…
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…
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…
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…
Ates, Salih; Cataloglu, Erdat
The purpose of this study was to determine if there are relationships among freshmen students' Field depended or field independent (FD/FI) cognitive style, conceptual understandings, and problem solving skills in mechanics. The sample consisted of 213 freshmen (female = 111, male = 102; age range 17-21) who were enrolled in an introductory physics…
Scientific Community Laboratories, developed by The University of Maryland, have shown initial promise as laboratories meant to emulate the practice of doing physics. These laboratories have been re-created by incorporating their design elements with the University of Toledo course structure and resources. The laboratories have been titled the Scientific Learning Community (SLC) Laboratories. A comparative study between these SLC laboratories and the University of Toledo physics department's traditional laboratories was executed during the fall 2012 semester on first semester calculus-based physics students. Three tests were executed as pre-test and post-tests to capture the change in students' concept knowledge, attitudes, and understanding of uncertainty. The Force Concept Inventory (FCI) was used to evaluate students' conceptual changes through the semester and average normalized gains were compared between both traditional and SLC laboratories. The Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey for Experimental Physics (E-CLASS) was conducted to elucidate students' change in attitudes through the course of each laboratory. Finally, interviews regarding data analysis and uncertainty were transcribed and coded to track changes in the way students understand uncertainty and data analysis in experimental physics after their participation in both laboratory type. Students in the SLC laboratories showed a notable an increase conceptual knowledge and attitudes when compared to traditional laboratories. SLC students' understanding of uncertainty showed most improvement, diverging completely from students in the traditional laboratories, who declined throughout the semester.
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…
Pinarbaşi; , Tacettin; Canpolat, Nurtaç; Bayrakçeken, Samih; Geban, Ömer
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 sample of this study consisted of 87 undergraduate students from two classes enrolled in an introductory chemistry course. One of the classes was assigned randomly to the control group, and the other class were assigned randomly to the experimental group. During teaching the topic of solution concepts in the chemistry curriculum, a conceptual change text-oriented instruction was applied in the experimental group whereas traditional instruction was followed in the control group. The results showed that the students in the experimental group performed better with respect to solution concepts. In addition, it has been found that there was no significant difference between the attitudes of students in the experimental and control groups towards chemistry.
Zacharia, Zacharias C.; Lazaridou, Charalambia; Avraamidou, Lucy
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of mobile learning among young learners. Specifically, we investigated whether the use of mobile devices for data collection during field trips outside the classroom could enhance fourth graders' learning about the parts of the flower and their functions, flower pollinators and the process of pollination/fertilization, and the interrelationship between animals and plants, more than students' use of traditional means of data collection. For this purpose, we designed a pre-post experimental design study with two conditions: one in which participants used a mobile device for data collection and another using traditional means (e.g. sketching and note-taking). The sample comprised 48 fourth graders (24 in each condition), who studied the flower, its parts, and their functions. A conceptual test was administered to assess students' understanding before and after instruction. Moreover, the students' science notebooks and accompanying artifacts were used as a data source for examining students' progress during the study's intervention. The conceptual test and notebook data were analyzed statistically, whereas we used open coding for the artifacts. Findings revealed that using mobile devices for data collection enhanced students' conceptual understanding more than using traditional means of data collection.
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…
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.
Wu, Hsin-kai; Krajcik, Joseph S.; Soloway, Elliot
This study investigated how students develop their understanding of chemical representations with the aid of a visualizing tool, eChem, that allows them to build molecular models and simultaneously view multiple representations. Multiple sources of data were collected with the participation of high school students (n=71) over a six-week period.…
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'…
Wild, Tiffany A.; Trundle, Kathy Cabe
The purpose of this study was to understand and describe the misconceptions of students with visual impairments about seasonal change. Students who participated in traditional instruction exhibited alternative conceptions before and after instruction, whereas those who participated in inquiry-based instruction had alternative conceptions before…
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 diverse (i.e., English Language Learners, or ELLs) and low socio-economic status (low-SES) backgrounds. The study derived from a randomized, longitudinal, field-based NSF funded research project (NSF Award No. DRL - 0822343) targeting ELL and non-ELL students from low-SES backgrounds in a large urban school district in Southeast Texas. The study used a scoring rubric (modified and tested for validity and reliability) to analyze fifth-grade school students' science notebook entries. Scores for academic language quality (or, for brevity, language ) were used to compare language growth over time across three time points (i.e., beginning, middle, and end of the school year) and to compare students across categories (ELL, former ELL, non-ELL, and gender) using descriptive statistics and mixed between-within subjects analysis of variance (ANOVA). Scores for conceptual understanding (or, for brevity, concept) were used to compare students across categories (ELL, former ELL, non-ELL, and gender) in three domains using descriptive statistics and ANOVA. A correlational analysis was conducted to explore the relationship, if any, between language scores and concept scores for each group. Students demonstrated statistically significant growth over time in their academic language as reflected by science notebook scores. While ELL students scored lower than former ELL and non-ELL students at the first two time points, they caught up to their peers by the third time point. Similarly, females outperformed males in language scores in the first two time points, but males caught up to females in the third time point. In analyzing conceptual scores, ELLs had statistically significant lower scores than former-ELL and non-ELL students, and females outperformed males in
Soulios, Ioannis; Psillos, Dimitris
In this study we present the structure and implementation of a model-based inquiry teaching-learning sequence (TLS) integrating expressive, experimental and exploratory modelling pedagogies in a cyclic manner, with the aim of enhancing primary education student teachers' epistemological beliefs about the aspects, nature, purpose and change of models as well as their conceptual understanding of light phenomena related to properties of optical fibres. The subjects were 16 prospective primary teachers involved in modelling activities, employing both hands-on experiments and computer modelling activities, based on the application of the ray model. Student teachers were tested before and after the implementation of the TLS by semi-structured interviews and a written questionnaire. Results show that before the TLS most students adopted epistemologically naïve realistic beliefs about models, whereas after the TLS there was an overall significant transition from naïve to more sophisticated epistemological beliefs, as well as significant improvements in their conceptual knowledge about light phenomena. Nevertheless, the relation between epistemological beliefs and conceptual understanding seems to be aspect-dependent, so our evidence suggests that more educational effort is required in order to establish a coherent relationship between them.
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 teachers' ability to engage in collaborative inquiry. Observational, written, and interview data were collected from observations of teachers' face-to-face meetings and reflections, individual interviews, a focus group interview, and online reflections. The results of this study revealed that collaborative inquiry is a form of professional development that includes answering curricular questions through observation, communication, action, and reflection. This approach was developed and implemented by middle school science teachers. The premise of an inquiry is based on a need with students. Middle school science teachers came to consensus about actions to affect students' conceptual understanding, took action as stated, and shared their reflections of the actions taken with consideration to current and upcoming school activities. Activities involved teachers brainstorming and sharing with one another, talking about how the variables were merged into their curriculum, and how they impacted students' conceptual understanding. Teachers valued talking with one another about science content and pedagogy, but did find the inquiry portion of the approach to require more development. The greatest challenge to conducting collaborative inquiry and reflection was embedding teacher inquiry within a prescribed inquiry that was already being conducted by the Sundown School District. Collaborative inquiry should be structured so that it meets the needs of teachers in order to attend to the needs of students. A conducive atmosphere for collaborative inquiry and reflection is one in which administrators make the process mandatory and
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…
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…
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.
Bresler Freidenreich, Hava; Golan Duncan, Ravit; 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. Genetic literacy entails understanding three interrelated models: a genetic model that describes patterns of genetic inheritance, a meiotic model that describes the process by which genes are segregated into sex cells, and a molecular model that describes the mechanisms that link genotypes to phenotypes within an individual. Currently, much of genetics instruction, especially in terms of the molecular model, occurs at the high school level, and we know little about the ways in which middle school students can reason about these models. Furthermore, we do not know the extent to which carefully designed instruction can help younger students develop coherent and interrelated understandings in genetics. In this paper, we discuss a research study aimed at elucidating middle school students' abilities to reason about the three genetic models. As part of our research, we designed an eight-week inquiry unit that was implemented in a combined sixth- to eighth-grade science classroom. We describe our instructional design and report results based on an analysis of written assessments, clinical interviews, and artifacts of the unit. Our findings suggest that middle school students are able to successfully reason about all three genetic models.
Schonborn, Konrad J.; Anderson, Trevor R.
The first paper in this two-part miniseries on conceptual understanding discussed expert and novice conceptual knowledge, the multifaceted nature of conceptual understanding, and the cognitive skills essential for constructing it. This second article presents examples of instruments for the assessment and development of five facets of conceptual…
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…
Johnson, Wendy Renae
Public understanding and acceptance of the theory of evolution in the United States is not commensurate with its acceptance in the scientific community and its role as the central organizing principle of the biological sciences. There are a multitude of factors that affect student understanding of the theory of evolution documented in the literature including the proposition that understanding of evolution is intimately linked to understanding the nature of science. This study describes the development, implementation, and assessment of learning activities that address the process of natural selection and the scientific methodology that illuminates these mechanisms. While pre and post-test scores were higher for students in an Advanced Placement Biology course than students in a general biology course, similar learning gains were observed in both groups. Learning gains were documented in understanding the random nature of mutations and their importance to the process of natural selection, explaining selection as a competitive advantage of one variation over another type and specifically linking this to reproductive success, and in connecting inheritance, variation, and selection to explain the process of natural selection. Acceptance of the scientific validity of the theory of evolution as measured by the Measure of Acceptance of the Theory of Evolution (MATE) Instrument also increased significantly in both groups over the course of the school year. These findings suggest that the sequence of activities implemented in this study promote conceptual change about the nature of science and the process of evolution by natural selection in students.
Gross, N. A.; Oppenheim, M.
The Astronomy Department of Boston University offers both an upper division undergraduate and a graduate level introductory course in space physics. These are taught by faculty affiliated with both the Center for Space Physics and the Astronomy Department. These courses typically cover phenomena in that occur in the solar corona, solar wind, and the magnetospheres and atmospheres of planets and comets. Topics also include, Solar System plasma physics, magnetic storms, measurement techniques, and space weather affects. In the spring of 2006, a preliminary analysis was conducted of the students' understanding of selected concepts in space physics. This work consisted of multiple-choice pre/post tests and a series of interviews with student volunteers. As part of the tests students were asked to gauge their relative confidence in their answers on a 0-4 Likert Scale. This analysis gives some insight into students' prior knowledge regarding space physics concepts. Results from pretest and interviews showed that students had a particular weakness in their understanding of particle motions in simple field configurations. This is surprising since these students should have typically both an introductory and upper division E&M course. In addition, the results showed misconceptions regarding the structure of the interplanetary magnetic field, the source region of auroral particles, and the relationship between magnetospheric currents and magnetic fields. Post test showed improvement in areas that were of focus in the course, particularly with respect to motion of charged particles in fields. The results of this work are intended to direct future studies and curricular development.
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…
MacGowan, Catherine Elizabeth
The overall objective of this research project was to provide an insight into students' conceptual understanding of acid/base principles as it relates to the comprehension and correct application of scientific concepts during a problem-solving activity. The difficulties experienced learning science and in developing appropriate problem-solving strategies most likely are predetermined by students' existing conceptual and procedural knowledge constructs; with the assimilation of newly acquired knowledge hindering or aiding the learning process. Learning chemistry requires a restructuring of content knowledge which will allow the individual to assemble and to integrate his/her own perception of science with instructional knowledge. The epistemology of constructivism, the theoretical grounding for this research project, recognizes the student's role as an active participant in the learning process. The study's design was exploratory in nature and descriptive in design. The problem-solving activity, the preparation of a chemical buffer solution at pH of 9, was selected and modified to reflect and meet the study's objective. Qualitative research methods (i.e., think aloud protocols, retrospective interviews, survey questionnaires such as the Scale of Intellectual Development (SID), and archival data sources) were used in the collection and assessment of data. Given its constructivist grounding, simplicity, and interpretative view of knowledge acquisition and learning of collegiate aged individuals, the Perry Intellectual and Ethical Development Model (1970) was chosen as the applied model for evaluation student cognition. The study's participants were twelve traditional college age students from a small, private liberal arts college. All participants volunteered for the project and had completed or were completing a general college chemistry course at the time of the project. Upon analysis of the data the following observations and results were noted: (1) students
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…
This study had three aims: (1) to investigate the effectiveness of facilitating students' metaconceptual processes, (2) to examine the durability of the impact of metaconceptual teaching on students' conceptual understanding of force and motion, and (3) to gain insight into the nature of metaconceptual processes as the students participated in the metaconceptual teaching activities. In examining the nature of students' metaconceptual processes, the purpose was to tease apart and categorize the types of metaconceptual processes, portray the trends within each type of metaconceptual process and describe the characteristics and the content of the metaconceptual processes related to students' ideas that changed throughout the metaconceptual teaching interventions. A multi-method research design that incorporated experimental and case study designs was employed. While the experimental group was exposed to metaconceptual teaching interventions, in the control group the same science content was taught by tradition instruction. The research was conducted in the two classrooms of a physics teacher. Participants of this study who were enrolled in one of the two physics classes involved 45 grade eleven and grade twelve high school students. In order to study the nature of students' metaconceptual processes, three students from the experimental group were selected based on their background in physics and their pre-instructional conceptual understanding of force and motion. While data of three students were used to describe the characteristics and trends within each type of metaconceptual process, data of two students were used for an in-depth analysis of their metaconceptual processes about their ideas of force and one-dimensional motion. Data from a variety of sources were collected to assess students' conceptual understanding of force and motion and their metaconceptual processes. In order to assess students' conceptual understanding of force and motion, Force Concept
Rowley, Eric Noel
The Conceptual Change Coupled-Inquiry Cycle is designed to incorporate learning cycle, inquiry, and conceptual change instructional models. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the Conceptual Change Coupled-Inquiry Cycle on first-year, high school students' misconceptions of Newton's Laws and incline motion. This study was a mixed-method, quasi-experimental study with both quantitative and qualitative data analyses. Student notebook and test data were collected and analyzed in this study. Quantitative and qualitative analytical methods were utilized in the analysis of these data. A Stuart-Maxwell chi-square was used to assess the quantitative significance of changes in student conceptual understanding of incline motion at each phase of the Conceptual Change Coupled-Inquiry Cycle. Qualitative analysis of the notebooks provided important support of the quantitative findings. Results indicate that students report a better understanding of incline motion and Newton's Laws as a result of completing a Conceptual Change Coupled-Inquiry Cycle investigation. Furthermore, quantitative analysis of the notebooks, using the Stuart-Maxwell chi-square test, indicate significant increases in student understanding of Newton's Laws and incline motion, at the alpha = 0.05 level. Analysis of student test data was largely inconclusive. This study indicates the Conceptual Change Coupled-Inquiry Cycle helps students better understand incline motion and Newton's Laws. Significant decreases in the number of students reporting misconceptions about incline motion were evident. Evidence suggests the Conceptual Change Coupled-Inquiry Cycle is an effective learning cycle and that it can improve student understanding of science concepts.
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…
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…
Larson, Susan C.
Academic language, discourse, vocabulary, motivation, and comprehension of complex texts and concepts are keys to learning subject-area content. The need for a disciplinary literacy approach in high school classrooms accelerates as students become increasing disengaged in school and as content complexity increases. In the present quasi-experimental mixed-method study, a ninth-grade biology unit was designed with an emphasis on promoting academic literacy skills, discourse, meaningful constructivist learning, interest development, and positive learning experiences in order to learn science content. Quantitative and qualitative analyses on a variety of measures completed by 222 students in two high schools revealed that those who received academic literacy instruction in science class performed at significantly higher levels of conceptual understanding of biology content, academic language and vocabulary use, reasoned thought, engagement, and quality of learning experience than control-group students receiving traditionally-organized instruction. Academic literacy was embedded into biology instruction to engage students in meaning-making discourses of science to promote learning. Academic literacy activities were organized according the phases of interest development to trigger and sustain interest and goal-oriented engagement throughout the unit. Specific methods included the Generative Vocabulary Matrix (GVM), scenario-based writing, and involvement in a variety of strategically-placed discourse activities to sustain or "boost" engagement for learning. Traditional instruction for the control group included teacher lecture, whole-group discussion, a conceptual organizer, and textbook reading. Theoretical foundations include flow theory, sociocultural learning theory, and interest theory. Qualitative data were obtained from field notes and participants' journals. Quantitative survey data were collected and analyzed using the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) to
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
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…
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…
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…
Graphing subjects in chemistry has been used to provide alternatives to verbal and algorithmic descriptions of a subject by handing students another way of improving their manipulation of concepts. Teachers should therefore know the level of students' graphing skills. Studies have identified that students have difficulty making connections with…
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…
Gultepe, Nejla; Yalcin Celik, Ayse; Kilic, Ziya
The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of students' conceptual understanding of chemical concepts and mathematical processing skills on algorithmic problem-solving skills. The sample (N = 554) included grades 9, 10, and 11 students in Turkey. Data were collected using the instrument "MPC Test" and with interviews. The…
Karaçam, Sedat; Digilli Baran, Azize
The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of Field Dependent (FD)/Field Independent (FI) cognitive styles and motivational styles on high school students' conceptual understandings about direct current circuit concepts. The participants of this study consisted of 295 high school students (male = 127, female = 168) who were enrolled…
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,…
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…
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…
Klingenberg, Oliv G.
Introduction: The study presented here investigated the ways in which students who read braille were able to complete geometric tasks and how they constructed mental representations of the shapes of objects. Methods: Data were collected in an educational experiment conducted as a geometry course for students who read braille. A case study approach…
Sanger, Michael J.; Phelps, Amy J.; Fienhold, Jason
Presents several student responses to viewing a can-crushing demonstration in which a soda can containing a small amount of water was heated on a hot-plate to boil the water, removed from the heat, and sealed by inverting over a container of cold water. Students were given a quiz, made predictions, and explained what happened on a molecular level.…
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…
Tastan, Ibrahim; Dikmenli, Musa; Cardak, Osman
This study aims to investigate the effects of concept maps, together with conceptual change texts, given to 11th grade students' on the subject of molecules carrying genetical information. The semistructured individual interviews were conducted with 5 upper class students to find misconceptions related to the subject. A success test was developed…
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)
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…
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…
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…
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…
Zahner, William; Velazquez, Griselda; Moschkovich, Judit; Vahey, Phil; Lara-Meloy, Teresa
We analyze how three seventh grade mathematics teachers from a majority Latino/a, linguistically diverse region of Texas taught the same lesson on interpreting graphs of motion as part of the Scaling Up SimCalc study (Roschelle et al., 2010). The students of two of the teachers made strong learning gains as measured by a curriculum-aligned…
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of cognitive conflict based physics instruction over traditionally designed physics instruction on preservice primary school teachers at grade 2. The subjects were 82 (27 boys, 55 girls) second grade pre-service teachers in two classes. One of the classes (42 students) was randomly…
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…
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…
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…
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…
In this study, the effect of animation enhanced conceptual change texts (CCT-CA) on grade 6 students' understanding of the particulate nature of matter (PNM) and transformation during the phase changes was investigated. A quasi-experimental design and one control group (CG, N = 25) and one experimental group (EG, N = 26) were used. While the…
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…
In this study, the effect of computer-assisted instruction on conceptual understanding of chemical bonding and attitude toward chemistry was investigated. The study employed a quasi-experimental design involving 11 grade students; 25 in an experimental and 25 in a control group. The Chemical Bonding Achievement Test (CBAT) consisting of 15…
Case, Jennifer M.; Fraser, Duncan M.
Describes an investigation of first-year chemical engineering students' understanding of the mole concept. Finds that a series of activities designed to provide students with visual or experiential points of reference for the mole concept had a strong positive effect on student misconceptions. Contains 16 references. (Author/WRM)
Dahsah, Chanyah; Coll, Richard K.; Sung-ong, Sunan; Yutakom, Naruemon; Sanguanruang, Sudjit
The international literature suggests students frequently resort to the use of formulae when solving stoichiometry problems without understanding the concepts. In prior work we identified Thai student alternative conceptions and ability to solve numerical problem for stoichiometry. The results indicate that many Thai students also hold alternative…
Inglis, A; Rolls, C; Kristy, S
A pilot study was undertaken to ascertain the changes in conceptual understanding that resulted from participation in a study abroad programme in Chiang Mai in Thailand of a small group of Australian final year nursing students. Students' conceptual understandings were measured by means of open-ended interviews based on a case study scenario describing health conditions in a hypothetical Thai village. Students were asked to imagine that they had been appointed to work as a community health nurse in the village and describe how they would undertake the task. Shifts in understanding were detected by interviewing the participants before, during and after their participation in the programme and comparing their responses. The results of this limited study indicated that the impact of participation in the programme was less than expected. Furthermore, the factors of which students tended to show greatest awareness were those about which they had been briefed prior to departure. Nevertheless participants reported they had learnt much from their experiences. It is suggested that the discrepancy between the evidence provided by interview data and students' self-reports may be explained by participation having resulted primarily in the acquisition of the tacit rather than conceptual knowledge.
Smith, Shirley Mccraw
The purpose of this research was to investigate students' understanding of interdependency across grade levels. Interdependency concepts selected for this study included food chains, pollination, and seed dispersal. Children's everyday concepts and scientific concepts across grade levels represented the focus of conceptual understanding. The researcher interviewed a total of 24 students across grade levels, six students each from grades 3, 7, and 10, and 6 college students. Data were collected by means of interviews and card sorts. A constructivist theoretical framework formed the groundwork for presenting the focus of this study and for interpreting the results of the interview data. Results were analyzed on the basis of identifying student responses to interview questions as either everyday concepts or as scientific concepts, along with transition through the zone of proximal development (ZPD) by mediation, as developed by Vygotsky. Results revealed that children across grade levels vary in their everyday and scientific understanding of the three interdependency concepts. Results for seed dispersal showed little evidence of understanding for grade 3, that is, seed dispersal was not within the zone of proximal development (ZPD) for grade 3 students. Students in grades 7 and 10 showed a developing transition within the zone of proximal development from everyday to scientific understanding, and college students demonstrated scientific understanding of seed dispersal. For pollination and food chains, results showed that grades 3, 7, and 10 were in transition from everyday to scientific understanding, and all college students demonstrated scientific understanding. The seed dispersal concept proved more complex than pollination and food chains. The findings of this study have implications for classroom teachers. By understanding the dynamic nature of the ZPD continuum for students, teachers can plan instruction to meet the needs of each student.
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…
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…
Unterbruner, Ulrike; Hilberg, Sylke; Schiffl, Iris
Education on the subject of groundwater is crucial for sustainability. Nevertheless, international studies with students across different age groups have shown that the basic hydrogeological concept of groundwater defined as water within porous and permeable rocks is not an established everyday notion. Drawing from international research, a multimedia learning program Zwischen Regenwolke und Wasserhahn (between the rain cloud and the tap) was developed, which incorporates specific insights from the fields of conceptual change research, multimedia research, and the model of educational reconstruction. The effectiveness of the learning program was ascertained by means of two studies with Austrian seventh grade pupils as well as 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 of groundwater were determined in a pre- and post-test. The pupils and students greatly benefitted from working through the learning software independently. 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 indicate that theory-guided multimedia learning programs can play an important role in the transfer of research results to classroom settings, especially in science education.
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.
This study aims to better understand the construction of the meaning of physics concepts in mechanics during a teaching sequence at the upper secondary school level. In the teaching sessions, students were introduced to the concepts of interaction and force. During this teaching sequence the models called "interactions" and "laws 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…
Electrochemistry is considered by students to be a difficult topic in chemistry. This research was a mixed methods study guided by the research question: At the end of a unit of study, what are students' understandings of electrochemistry? The framework of analysis used for the qualitative and quantitative data collected in this study was comprised of three categories: types of knowledge used in problem solving, levels of representation of knowledge in chemistry (macroscopic, symbolic, and particulate), and alternative conceptions. Although individually each of the three categories has been reported in previous studies, the contribution of this study is the inter-relationships among them. Semi-structured, task-based interviews were conducted while students were setting up and operating electrochemical cells in the laboratory, and a two-tiered, multiple-choice diagnostic instrument was designed to identify alternative conceptions that students held at the end of the unit. For familiar problems, those involving routine voltaic cells, students used a working-forwards problem-solving strategy, two or three levels of representation of knowledge during explanations, scored higher on both procedural and conceptual knowledge questions in the diagnostic instrument, and held fewer alternative conceptions related to the operation of these cells. For less familiar problems, those involving non-routine voltaic cells and electrolytic cells, students approached problem-solving with procedural knowledge, used only one level of representation of knowledge when explaining the operation of these cells, scored higher on procedural knowledge than conceptual knowledge questions in the diagnostic instrument, and held a greater number of alternative conceptions. Decision routines that involved memorized formulas and procedures were used to solve both quantitative and qualitative problems and the main source of alternative conceptions in this study was the overgeneralization of theory
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…
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.
Jojo, Zingiswa Mybert Monica; Maharaj, Aneshkumar; Brijlall, Deonarain
This article reports on a study which investigated first year university engineering students' construction of the definition of the concept of the chain rule in differential calculus at a University of Technology in South Africa. An APOS (Action-Process-Objects-Schema) approach was used to explore conceptual understanding displayed by students in…
Trout, Charlotte; Sinex, Scott A.; Ragan, Susan
Models are essential to the learning and doing of science, and systems thinking is key to appreciating many environmental issues. The National Science Education Standards2 include models and systems in their unifying concepts and processes standard, while the AAAS Benchmarks3 include them in their common themes chapter. Hyerle4 and Marzano5,6 argue for the importance of graphic organizers to student learning. In addition, there is a growing national interest in defining and implementing computational thinking for students.7 In the past 15 years, we have presented dozens of workshops to teachers who are interested in using the computational power of their computers in their classrooms.8-9 In addition to other programs, we use systems dynamics programs to encourage modeling in secondary science classrooms. The interface for these packages is a graphic organizer. In this article we will share some of our insights into the advantages of using such systems dynamics software with high school physics students.
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.
Durmus, Jale; Bayraktar, Sule
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether conceptual change texts and laboratory experiments are effective in overcoming misconceptions and whether the concepts were acquired permanently when these methods were utilized. In this study, we addressed some topics from the "Matter and Change" unit in science and technology class of…
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.
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…
Kimberlin, Stephanie; Yezierski, Ellen
Students' inaccurate ideas about what is represented by chemical equations and concepts underlying stoichiometry are well documented; however, there are few classroom-ready instructional solutions to help students build scientifically accurate ideas about these topics central to learning chemistry. An intervention (two inquiry-based activities)…
This paper reports on a study of teacher support in a setting where students engaged with computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) in science. The empirical basis is an intervention study where secondary school students and their teacher performed a lab experiment in genetics supported by a digital learning environment. The analytical…
This study reports teachers' learning through action research on students' conceptual understanding. The study examined (a) the teachers' views about science teaching and learning, (b) the teachers' learning about their teaching practices and (c) the conditions that supported the teachers' learning through action research. A total of 14 elementary…
Cetin, Pinar Seda
Background: Argumentation is accepted by many science educators as a major component of science education. Many studies have investigated students' conceptual understanding and their engagement in argumentative activities. However, studies conducted in the subject of chemistry are very rare. Purpose: The present study aimed to investigate the…
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…
Leppink, Jimmie; Broers, Nick J.; Imbos, Tjaart; van der Vleuten, Cees P. M.; Berger, Martijn P. F.
This study investigated the effects of different teaching and learning methods for statistics for 2 levels of prior knowledge on cognitive load, propositional knowledge, and conceptual understanding. Teaching methods were whether or not to provide students with propositional information, and learning strategies were self-explaining the learning…
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…
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.
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,…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
Soulios, Ioannis; Psillos, Dimitris
In this study we present the structure and implementation of a model-based inquiry teaching-learning sequence (TLS) integrating expressive, experimental and exploratory modelling pedagogies in a cyclic manner, with the aim of enhancing primary education student teachers' epistemological beliefs about the aspects, nature, purpose and change 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…
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…
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…
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…
Sadaghiani, Homeyra; Aguilera, Nicholas
This research involved high school physics students and how they learn to understand Newton's laws as they relate to falling bodies and projectile motion. Students in introductory, algebra-based, high school physics classes were evaluated based on their prior knowledge through a pretest, designed to assess their initial comprehension of the motion of falling bodies and projectiles. Groups were divided and taught separately with an emphasis on either mathematical derivation of equations, followed by brief conceptual discussions, or on thorough conceptual analysis, followed by a brief mathematical verification. After a posttest was given, an evaluation of the responses and explanations of each group of students was used to determine which method of instruction was more effective. Results indicate that after the conceptual group and math groups achieved similar scores on the pretest, the conceptual group obtained a slightly higher normalized gain of 25% on the posttest, compared to the mathematical group's normalized gain of 16% (unpaired two-tailed t-test P value for posttest results was 0.1037) and, while within standard deviations, also achieved higher overall scores on all posttest questions and higher normalized gains on all but one posttest question. Further, most students, even thoes in the mathematically-instructed group, were more inclined to give conceptually-based responses on postest questions than mathematically-based ones. In the context of this topic, the dominating difficulty for both groups was in analyzing two-dimensional projectile motion and, more specifically, the behavior of each onedimensional component of such motion.
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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,…
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…
Perez-Marin, Diana; Pascual-Nieto, Ismael
A student conceptual model can be defined as a set of interconnected concepts associated with an estimation value that indicates how well these concepts are used by the students. It can model just one student or a group of students, and can be represented as a concept map, conceptual diagram or one of several other knowledge representation…
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…
This study investigated the use of computer simulations to facilitate conceptual understanding in physics. The use of computer simulations in the present study was grounded in a conceptual framework drawn from findings related to the use of computer simulations in physics education. To achieve the goal of effective utilization of computers for physics education, I first reviewed studies pertaining to computer simulations in physics education categorized by three different learning frameworks and studies comparing the effects of different simulation environments. My intent was to identify the learning context and factors for successful use of computer simulations in past studies and to learn from the studies which did not obtain a significant result. Based on the analysis of reviewed literature, I proposed effective approaches to integrate computer simulations in physics education. These approaches are consistent with well established education principles such as those suggested by How People Learn (Bransford, Brown, Cocking, Donovan, & Pellegrino, 2000). The research based approaches to integrated computer simulations in physics education form a learning framework called Concept Learning with Computer Simulations (CLCS) in the current study. The second component of this study was to examine the CLCS learning framework empirically. The participants were recruited from a public high school in Beijing, China. All participating students were randomly assigned to two groups, the experimental (CLCS) group and the control (TRAD) group. Research based computer simulations developed by the physics education research group at University of Colorado at Boulder were used to tackle common conceptual difficulties in learning electromagnetic induction. While interacting with computer simulations, CLCS students were asked to answer reflective questions designed to stimulate qualitative reasoning and explanation. After receiving model reasoning online, students were asked to submit
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 and a half weeks. A pretest was administered for science conceptual understanding and for attitude towards science. An intervention, web-based nanotechnology anchor, Catching the Rays, followed. Catching the Rays navigated subjects through a nano quest on sunscreen. After the intervention, a posttest was administered for each science conceptual understanding and attitude towards science. Following, a purposeful selection of interviewees (N=6) participated in a Nano Post-Interview. Pretest/posttest data were analyzed using a paired t test. Results of the paired t test for science conceptual understanding (post- being larger than pre-, p <. 01) and attitude towards science (post- being larger than pre-, p < .01) were significant at the p < .05 alpha level. Nano Post-Interview data were coded and analyzed independently by two raters for emerging themes. Two themes of "Risks and Benefits" and "Solves Problems" emerged from subjects' (N=6) responses to perception of science in society questions. The theme of "Risks and Benefits" strongly suggests that subjects have a positive perception that nanotechnology comes with risks and benefits to society. The theme of "Solves Problems" strongly suggests subjects have a positive perception that nanotechnology is governed by society's needs and is used to help solve society's problems. Findings from this study suggest that PBL with web-anchored instruction in nanotechnology had a positive effect on subjects' science conceptual understanding, attitude towards science, and perception of science in society.
Ferrer, Lourdes M.
In recent years there have been many studies on learners developing conceptions of natural phenomena. However, so far there have been few attempts to investigate how the characteristics of the learners and their environment influence such conceptions. This study began with an attempt to use an instrument developed by McCarthy (1981) to describe learners in Malaysian primary schools. This proved inappropriate as Asian primary classrooms do not provide the same kind of environment as US classrooms. It was decided to develop a learning style checklist to suit the local context and which could be used to describe differences between learners which teachers could appreciate and use. The checklist included four dimensions — perceptual, process, self-confidence and motivation. The validated instrument was used to determine the learning style preferences of primary four pupils in Penang, Malaysia. Later, an analysis was made regarding the influence of learning environment and learning styles on conceptual understanding in the topics of food, respiration and excretion. This study was replicated in the Philippines with the purpose of investigating the relationship between learning styles and achievement in science, where the topics of food, respiration and excretion have been taken up. A number of significant relationships were observed in these two studies.
Anderson, Megan M.
The idea that the public should have the capacity for understanding science in the news has been embraced by scientists, educators, and policymakers alike. An oft-cited goal of contemporary science education, in fact, is to enhance students' understanding of science in the news. But what exactly does it mean to understand science in the news? Surprisingly few have asked this question, or considered the significance of its answer. This dissertation steps away from issues of science teaching and learning to examine the nature of understanding science in the news itself. My work consolidates past scholarship from the multiple fields concerned with the relationship between science and society to produce a theoretical model of understanding science in the news as a complex, multidimensional process that involves an understanding of science as well as journalism. This thesis begins by exploring the relationship between the understanding implicit in understanding science in the news and understanding science. Many assume these two ways of knowing are one in the same. To rebut this assumption, I examine the types of knowledge necessary for understanding science and understanding science in the news. I then use the literature devoted to scientific literacy to show how past research has imagined the knowledge necessary to understand science in the news. Next, I argue that one of the principle difficulties with these conceptualizations is that they define science in the news in essentially the same terms as science. They also, I suggest, oversimplify how and why public interacts with science in the news. This dissertation concludes with a proposal for one way we might think about understanding science in the news on its own terms rather than those of understanding science. This dissertation attempts to connect two fields of research that rarely intersect, despite their multiple common interests: science education and mass communication. It considers the notion of
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.
Rates, Christopher A.; Mulvey, Bridget K.; Feldon, David F.
Components of complex systems apply across multiple subject areas, and teaching these components may help students build unifying conceptual links. Students, however, often have difficulty learning these components, and limited research exists to understand what types of interventions may best help improve understanding. We investigated 32 high…
Despite the central role of risk assessment in analyzing and making decisions about many environmental issues, most people are poorly equipped to understand key concepts about risk or apply them successfully. I present three class activities in which students develop a better appreciation for the magnitude of a one in a million increased risk of…
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…
Dancy, Melissa H.; Beichner, Robert
This study investigates the effect of computer animation on assessment and the conditions under which animation may improve or hinder assessment of conceptual understanding in physics. An instrument was developed by replacing static pictures and descriptions of motion with computer animations on the Force Concept Inventory, a commonly used pencil and paper test. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. The animated and static versions of the test were given to students and the results were statistically analyzed. Think-aloud interviews were also conducted to provide additional insight into the statistical findings. We found that good verbal skills tended to increase performance on the static version but not on the animated version of the test. In general, students had a better understanding of the intent of the question when viewing an animation and gave an answer that was more indicative of their actual understanding, as reflected in separate interviews. In some situations this led students to the correct answer and in others it did not. Overall, we found that animation can improve assessment under some conditions by increasing the validity of the instrument.
Dancy, Melissa H.
This study investigates the effect of computer animation on assessment and the conditions under which animation may improve or hinder assessment of conceptual understanding in physics. An instrument was developed by replacing static pictures and descriptions of motion with computer animations on the Force Concept Inventory, a commonly used pencil and paper test. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. The animated and static versions of the test were given to students and the results were statistically analyzed. Think-aloud interviews were also conducted to provide additional insight into the statistical findings. We found that good verbal skills tended to increase performance on the static version but not on the animated version of the test. In general, students had a better understanding of the intent of the question when viewing an animation and gave an answer that was more indicative of their actual understanding, as reflected in separate interviews. In some situations this led students to the correct answer and in others it did not. Overall, we found that animation can improve assessment under some conditions by increasing the validity of the instrument.
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"…
Singh, Chandralekha; Zhu, Guangtian
Learning quantum mechanics is challenging. 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. Supported by the National Science Foundation. )
Undreiu, Lucian M.
In most liberal arts colleges the prerequisites for College Physics, Introductory or Calculus based, are strictly related to Mathematics. As a state of fact, the majorities of the students perceive Physics as a conglomerate of mathematical equations, a collection of facts to be memorized and they regard Physics as one of the most difficult subjects. A change of this attitude towards Physics, and Science in general, is intrinsically connected with the promotion of conceptual understanding and stimulation of critical thinking. In such an environment, the educators are facilitators, rather than the source of knowledge. One good way of doing this is to challenge the students to think about what they see around them and to connect physics with the real world. Motivation occurs when students realize that what was learned is interesting and relevant. Visual teaching aids such as educational videos or computer simulations, as well as computer-assisted experiments, can greatly enhance the effectiveness of a science lecture or laboratory. Difficult topics can be discussed through animated analogies. Special Relativity is recognized as a challenging topic and is probably one of the most misunderstood theories of Physics. While understanding Special Relativity requires a detachment from ordinary perception and every day life notions, animated analogies can prove to be very successful in making difficult topics accessible.
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.
Interviewed 10 students in a secondary school teacher education program to determine the students' understandings of environment. Four conceptualizations of environment were portrayed: social, political, bio-physical, and inclusive. Four conceptualizations of human-nature relationships were described: connected, separate,…
Pitta-Pantazi, Demetra; Christou, Constantinos; Zachariades, Theodossios
The aim of this study is to describe and analyze students' levels of understanding of exponents within the context of procedural and conceptual learning via the conceptual change and prototypes' theory. The study was conducted with 202 secondary school students with the use of a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. The results suggest…
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
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…
Manurung, Sondang R.; Mihardi, Satria
The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of hypertext media based kinematic learning and formal thinking ability to improve the conceptual understanding of physic prospective students. The research design used is the one-group pretest-posttest experimental design is carried out in the research by taking 36 students on from…
Although a broad literature exists concerning the development of conceptual understanding of force and other topics within mechanics, little is known about the role and development of students' talk about the subject. The paper presents an in-depth investigation of students' talk whilst being introduced to the concept of force. The main research…
Howe, Christine; Devine, Amy; Tavares, Joana Taylor
When students reason during school science, they often refer to conceptions that are derived from out-of-school experiences and are poor proxies for science orthodoxy. However, for some areas of science, these conceptions represent only a proportion of students' full conceptual knowledge, for tacit understanding exists that is superior to the…
Sweetland, Julie; Fogarty, Meghann
Effective professional development engages, rather than bypasses, teacher thinking. This article describes strategies to heighten teachers' awareness of the difference between procedural knowledge and conceptual understanding. (Contains 6 figures.)
Canobi, K H; Reeve, R A; Pattison, P E
The study examined the relationship between children's conceptual understanding and addition problem-solving procedures. Forty-eight 6- to 8-year-olds solved addition problems and, in a 2nd task, were prompted to judge whether a puppet could use the arithmetic properties of one problem to solve the next problem. Relational properties between consecutive problems were manipulated to reflect aspects of additive composition, commutativity, and associativity principles. Conceptual understanding was assessed by the ability to spontaneously use such relational properties in problem solving (Task 1) and to recognize and explain them when prompted (Task 2). Results revealed that conceptual understanding was related to using order-indifferent, decomposition, and retrieval strategies and speed and accuracy in solving unrelated problems. The importance of conceptual understanding for addition development is discussed.
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.…
Rass, Ruwaida Abu
This paper reports the results of a qualitative research study designed to examine the effectiveness of an attempt to make a conceptual change among pre-service teachers to their role as trainees and the role of their pedagogical advisor. The participants are six Arab-Muslim female student teachers who are highly influenced by their first learning…
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…
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,…
Niaz, Mansoor; Robinson, William R.
It has been shown previously that many students solve chemistry problems using only algorithmic strategies and do not understand the chemical concepts on which the problems are based. It is plausible to suggest that if the information is presented in differing formats, the cognitive demand of a problem changes. The main objective of this study is to investigate the degree to which cognitive variables, such as developmental level, mental capacity, and disembedding ability explain student performance on problems which: (1) could be addressed by algorithms or (2) require conceptual understanding. All conceptual problems used in this study were based on a figurative format. The results obtained show that in all four problems requiring algorithmic strategies, developmental level of the students is the best predictor of success. This could be attributed to the fact that these are basically computational problems, requiring mathematical transformations. Although all three problems requiring conceptual understanding had an important aspect in common (the figurative format), in all three the best predictor of success is a different cognitive variable. It was concluded that: (1) the ability to solve computational problems (based on algorithms) is not the major factor in predicting success in solving problems that require conceptual understanding; (2) solving problems based on algorithmic strategies requires formal operational reasoning to a certain degree; and (3) student difficulty in solving problems that require conceptual understanding could be attributed to different cognitive variables.
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…
Galbraith, Peter; Haines, Christopher
Proposes a taxonomy of three levels in increasing order of mathematical demand in order to understand a set of mathematical skills of some importance to beginning undergraduates in engineering and mathematics. Suggests that the constructed instrument is robust and the taxonomy used is effective. (Contains 22 references.) (Author/ASK)
Rates, Christopher A.; Mulvey, Bridget K.; Feldon, David F.
Components of complex systems apply across multiple subject areas, and teaching these components may help students build unifying conceptual links. Students, however, often have difficulty learning these components, and limited research exists to understand what types of interventions may best help improve understanding. We investigated 32 high school students' understandings of complex systems components and whether an agent-based simulation could improve their understandings. Pretest and posttest essays were coded for changes in six components to determine whether students showed more expert thinking about the complex system of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Results showed significant improvement for the components Emergence ( r = .26, p = .03), Order ( r = .37, p = .002), and Tradeoffs ( r = .44, p = .001). Implications include that the experiential nature of the simulation has the potential to support conceptual change for some complex systems components, presenting a promising option for complex systems instruction.
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
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
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,…
The study investigated the relationship between conceptual knowledge and mathematics anxiety of remedial mathematics students in an urban community college. The impact that conceptual understanding has on mathematics achievement was also examined. The study sample consisted of 105 remedial mathematics students from four elementary algebra courses.…
Seda Cetin, Pinar
Background: Argumentation is accepted by many science educators as a major component of science education. Many studies have investigated students' conceptual understanding and their engagement in argumentative activities. However, studies conducted in the subject of chemistry are very rare. Purpose: The present study aimed to investigate the effects of argumentation-based chemistry lessons on pre-service science teachers' understanding of reaction rate concepts, their quality of argumentation, and their consideration of specific reaction rate concepts in constructing an argument. Moreover, students' perceptions of argumentation lessons were explored. Sample: There were 116 participants (21 male and 95 female), who were pre-service first-grade science teachers from a public university. The participants were recruited from the two intact classes of a General Chemistry II course, both of which were taught by the same instructor. Design and methods: In the present study, non-equivalent control group design was used as a part of quasi-experimental design. The experimental group was taught using explicit argumentation activities, and the control group was instructed using traditional instruction. The data were collected using a reaction rate concept test, a pre-service teachers' survey, and the participants' perceptions of the argumentation lessons questionnaire. For the data analysis, the Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test, the Mann-Whitney U-test and qualitative techniques were used. Results: The results of the study indicated that an argumentation-based intervention caused significantly better acquisition of scientific reaction rate-related concepts and positively impacted the structure and complexity of pre-service teachers' argumentation. Moreover, the majority of the participants reported positive feelings toward argumentation activities. Conclusions: As students are encouraged to state and support their view in the chemistry classroom when studying reaction rate, it was
Anderson, Trevor R; Schönborn, Konrad J
The term "conceptual understanding" has been used rather loosely over the years in educational practice, with a tendency to focus on a few aspects of an extremely complex phenomenon. In this first article of a two-part miniseries on conceptual understanding, we describe the nature of expert (versus novice) knowledge and show how the conceptual understanding of experts is multifaceted in nature requiring competence in a wide range of cognitive skills. We then discuss five such facets of conceptual understanding that require competence in the cognitive skills of memorization, integration, transfer, analogical reasoning, and system thinking. We also argue for the importance of explicitly teaching and assessing such facets of understanding as part of all molecular life science curricula so as to better prepare our students to become experts in the field. Examples of the assessment tasks that can be used to promote the development of multifaceted conceptual understanding in students are presented in Part 2 of this series.
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…
Perna, Laura W.
Working is now a fundamental responsibility for many undergraduates. But understanding how employment affects students' educational experiences is complicated by why students work. Many students must work to pay the costs of attending college. Some traditional-age students may use employment as a way to explore career options or earn spending…
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…
Howard, K. E.; Chung, S. H.; Jobson, B. T.; Vanreken, T. M.; Brown, S. A.
Atmospheric chemistry in general, and tropospheric ozone formation in particular, are complex processes that to be understood require students to learn several interrelated concepts. These systems are particularly difficult to grasp because they are inherently nonlinear and because they are abstract- students do not have an obvious tangible model for how gases behave in an unbounded atmosphere. To address perceived shortfalls in our students’ conceptualizations of atmospheric chemical processes, we have endeavored to develop, implement, and assess curricular materials that can be used from the freshmen to graduate level. Our goal was to both improve student understanding of the fundamental concepts of atmospheric chemistry while simultaneously reinforcing the scientific method and what it means to do science. Our approach for achieving this was to build student-friendly interfaces to adapt existing research models for use in the classroom and thereby provide students with a means of exploring the evolution of pollutants in the atmosphere. A major focus of the project was student understanding of ozone formation. In this presentation we provide insight regarding collegiate students’ conceptions of ozone formation and discuss possible explanations for student misconceptions in this and related environmental topics of concern. In order to extract student understanding and conceptions of ozone formation, qualitative interview and analysis methodologies were implemented. These qualitative procedures allowed us to gain a rich and detailed understanding of the specific nature of students’ mental models of these concepts. Forty-five participants were included in the study, all of which were collegiate students enrolled in a junior-level Introduction to Environmental Engineering course at Washington State University. Our results show that the students seemed to comprehend many individual concepts within ozone production cycle to some extent. However, there were very
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
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…
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,…
Dodd, John M.; And Others
Describes cultural differences of Hispanic students in family structure, language, motivation, mysticism, machismo, touching, and time concepts which may lead to problems in the classroom. Suggests strategies teachers may employ to increase opportunities for positive school experiences for Hispanic students through recognition and acknowledgement…
Kazak, Sibel; Wegerif, Rupert; Fujita, Taro
In this paper, we explore the relationship between scaffolding, dialogue, and conceptual breakthroughs, using data from a design-based research study that focuses on the development of understanding of probability in 10-12 year old students. The aim of the study is to gain insight into how the combination of scaffolding for content using…
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…
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):…
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…
Huerta, Margarita; Tong, Fuhui; Irby, Beverly J.; Lara-Alecio, Rafael
The authors of this quantitative study measured and compared the academic language development and conceptual understanding of fifth-grade economically disadvantaged English language learners (ELL), former ELLs, and native English-speaking (ES) students as reflected in their science notebook scores. Using an instrument they developed, the authors…
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…
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…
Bardini, Caroline; Pierce, Robyn; Vincent, Jill; King, Deborah
Concern has been expressed that many commencing undergraduate mathematics students have mastered skills without conceptual understanding. A pilot study carried out at a leading Australian university indicates that a significant number of students, with high tertiary entrance ranks, have very limited understanding of the concept of function,…
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.
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...
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…
For all that history teachers appreciate the need to build substantive knowledge and conceptual understanding systematically over time, they are also likely to have experienced that sickening moment when they realise that a Year 11 pupil has somehow missed something fundamental. In Anna Fielding's case, her pupil's misconception was related to the…
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…
Dancy, Melissa H.; Beichner, Robert
This study investigates the effect of computer animation on assessment and the conditions under which animation may improve or hinder assessment of conceptual understanding in physics. An instrument was developed by replacing static pictures and descriptions of motion with computer animations on the Force Concept Inventory, a commonly used pencil…
López, Jonathan; Robles, Izraim; Martínez-Planell, Rafael
Action-Process-Object-Schema theory (APOS) was applied to study student understanding of quadratic equations in one variable. This required proposing a detailed conjecture (called a genetic decomposition) of mental constructions students may do to understand quadratic equations. The genetic decomposition which was proposed can contribute to help…
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
Contemporary theories of academic motivation seek to explain students' behaviours in academic settings. While each theory seems to possess its own constructs and unique explanations, these theories are actually closely tied together. In this theoretical study of motivation, several theories of motivation were described and an underlying theme of…
Yan, Fan; Talanquer, Vicente
Research in science education has revealed that many students struggle to understand chemical reactions. Improving teaching and learning about chemical processes demands that we develop a clearer understanding of student reasoning in this area and of how this reasoning evolves with training in the domain. Thus, we have carried out a qualitative study to explore students reasoning about chemical causality and mechanism. Study participants included individuals at different educational levels, from college to graduate school. We identified diverse conceptual modes expressed by students when engaged in the analysis of different types of reactions. Main findings indicate that student reasoning about chemical reactions is influenced by the nature of the process. More advanced students tended to express conceptual modes that were more normative and had more explanatory power, but major conceptual difficulties persisted in their reasoning. The results of our study are relevant to educators interested in conceptual development, learning progressions, and assessment.
Shaikh, Uzma Abdul Sattar
The present study assessed the benefits of a multisensory intervention on the conceptual understanding of electric field for distributed charges in engineering and technology undergraduate students. A novel visuohaptic intervention was proposed, which focused on exploring the forces around the different electric field configurations for distributed charges namely point, infinitely long line and uniformly charged ring. The before and after effects of the visuohaptic intervention are compared, wherein the intervention includes instructional scaffolding. Three single-group studies were conducted to investigate the effect among three different populations: (a) Undergraduate engineering students, (b) Undergraduate technology students and (c) Undergraduate engineering technology students from a different demographic setting. The findings from the three studies suggests that the haptic modality intervention provides beneficial effects by allowing students to improve their conceptual understanding of electric field for distributed charges, although students from groups (b) and (c) showed a statistically significant increase in the conceptual understanding. The findings also indicate a positive learning perception among all the three groups.
Gallucci, Kathleen K.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of the case method of instruction (CMI) on conceptual change in students' understanding of genes, biodiversity, and evolution topics, and to investigate the effect of learning with CMI on student attitude regarding the discipline of science, and learning about science. The study also investigated students' perceptions of their learning gains based on CMI. This was a mixed-methods action research study that used a quasi-experimental design. The study participants were enrolled in three sections (n1 = 20, n2 = 16, n3 = 30) of the same introductory biology course during the spring of 2006 at a small, private university in the southeastern United States. At the beginning of the semester, students completed a pretest composed of six open-ended questions (two on each topic) to uncover their alternative conceptions---or lack of them, and after instruction using CMI, students answered the same questions as a post-test on two hourly class exams. The answers were scored with original rubrics and the differences between the scores were analyzed using the Student's paired t-Test. In addition, twelve student volunteers were interviewed twice, once after each exam, by an independent interviewer, to elicit their understanding about the method of CMI, their understanding of the topics from the recent exam, and their attitudes about science and learning about science. The interviews were audio taped and transcribed, and analyzed for themes and comments about conceptual understanding and learning about science. Students also completed two instruments anonymously: the Science Attitude Inventory (SAI II) and the Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG). The SAI II was completed on the first and the last day of the semester to assess change in student attitude about science and the pretest and posttest scores were analyzed for significant differences. Students completed the SALG online immediately before the course final exam
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.…
Jahreie, Cecilie Flo
This article examines the way student teachers make sense of conceptual tools when writing cases. In order to understand the problem-solving process, an analysis of the interactions is conducted. The findings show that transforming practical experiences into theoretical reflection is not a straightforward matter. To be able to elaborate on the…
López, Jonathan; Robles, Izraim; Martínez-Planell, Rafael
Action-Process-Object-Schema theory (APOS) was applied to study student understanding of quadratic equations in one variable. This required proposing a detailed conjecture (called a genetic decomposition) of mental constructions students may do to understand quadratic equations. The genetic decomposition which was proposed can contribute to help students achieve an understanding of quadratic equations with improved interrelation of ideas and more flexible application of solution methods. Semi-structured interviews with eight beginning undergraduate students explored which of the mental constructions conjectured in the genetic decomposition students could do, and which they had difficulty doing. Two of the mental constructions that form part of the genetic decomposition are highlighted and corresponding further data were obtained from the written work of 121 undergraduate science and engineering students taking a multivariable calculus course. The results suggest the importance of explicitly considering these two highlighted mental constructions.
Ondobaka, Sasha; de Lange, Floris P; Wittmann, Marco; Frith, Chris D; Bekkering, Harold
Recent accounts of understanding goal-directed action underline the importance of a hierarchical predictive architecture. However, the neural implementation of such an architecture remains elusive. In the present study, we used functional neuroimaging to quantify brain activity associated with predicting physical movements, as they were modulated by conceptual-expectations regarding the purpose of the object involved in the action. Participants observed object-related actions preceded by a cue that generated both conceptual goal expectations and movement goal predictions. In 2 tasks, observers judged whether conceptual or movement goals matched or mismatched the cue. At the conceptual level, expected goals specifically recruited the posterior cingulate cortex, irrespectively of the task and the perceived movement goal. At the movement level, neural activation of the parieto-frontal circuit, including inferior frontal gyrus and the inferior parietal lobe, reflected unpredicted movement goals. Crucially, this movement prediction error was only present when the purpose of the involved object was expected. These findings provide neural evidence that prior conceptual expectations influence processing of physical movement goals and thereby support the hierarchical predictive account of action processing. PMID:24663382
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…
May, David B.; Etkina, Eugenia
Students should develop self-reflection skills and appropriate views about knowledge and learning, both for their own sake and because these skills and views may be related to improvements in conceptual understanding. We explored the latter issue in the context of an introductory physics course for first-year engineering honors students. As part of the course, students submitted weekly reports, in which they reflected on how they learned specific physics content. The reports by 12 students were analyzed for the quality of reflection and some of the epistemological beliefs they exhibited. Students' conceptual learning gains were measured with standard survey instruments. We found that students with high conceptual gains tend to show reflection on learning that is more articulate and epistemologically sophisticated than students with lower conceptual gains. Some implications for instruction are suggested.
Anderson, Megan M.
The idea that the public should have the capacity for understanding science in the news has been embraced by scientists, educators, and policymakers alike. An oft-cited goal of contemporary science education, in fact, is to enhance students' understanding of science in the news. But what exactly does it "mean" to understand science…
Décamp, N.; Viennot, L.
This research documents the impact of a teaching interview aimed at developing a critical attitude in students, and focused on a particular topic: radiocarbon dating. This teaching interview is designed to observe students' reaction to limited written explanations of the phenomenon under study, and their possible frustration or intellectual satisfaction in relation to these texts. We aim to document the possible link between students' developing conceptual understanding of a topic and their ability to express their frustration when presented with very incomplete explanations, or their intellectual satisfaction when presented with complete explanation. As a side product, we intend to observe some of their a priori ideas concerning this topic. Ten teaching interviews conducted with fourth-year University students were recorded, transcribed and coded. Beyond a series of results concerning students' a priori understanding of the domain, the analysis of the interviews suggests that, when students are presented with texts of increasing completeness and discuss these with the interviewer, their critical reactions evolve in time in a very specific way. We propose a tentative model for this co-evolution of student conceptual command and critical stance. The discussion bears on possible interpretations for the 'anesthesia of judgment' observed in most students at the beginning of the interview, and for a few of them throughout the discussion. Keeping in mind the 'competence vs concepts' current alternative, the conditions that seem to free students' critical potential are analyzed in relation to their evolving command of the topic and their degree of intellectual satisfaction.
Belcher, John; Dori, Judy; Breslow, Lori
We discuss the effects of the learning environment of the MIT TEAL project on student cognitive and affective outcomes in introductory electromagnetism. Our assessment included examining student conceptual understanding before and after studying electromagnetism in a media-rich environment. We developed pre-and posttests consisting of conceptual questions from standardized tests, as well as questions designed to assess the effect of visualizations and experiments. The research population consisted of 811 undergraduate students, consisting of small-and a large-scale experimental group and control group. The active learning students improved their conceptual understanding of the subject matter to a significantly higher extent than their control group peers. A subsequent longitudinal study indicates that the long-term effect of the TEAL course on student retention of concepts was significantly stronger than that of the traditional course.
Coble, Kimberly A.; Cochran, G.; Larrieu, D.; Bailey, J.; Sanchez, R.; Cominsky, L.; McLin, K.
Recently, powerful new observations and advances in computation and visualization have led to a revolution in our understanding of the origin, evolution and structure of the universe. These gains have been vast, but their impact on education has been limited. At Chicago State (CSU), we are implementing new inquiry-based instructional materials in our astronomy lab course. We are researching the effectiveness of these materials, focusing on student understanding of cosmology. As part of a collaborative effort with the University of Nevada Las Vegas and Sonoma State (SSU) to develop a cosmological subject inventory, we administered an open-ended survey prior to instruction and conducted student interviews using the survey. Students taking the CSU course were also required to write a guided essay on their beliefs about cosmology. We have collected open-ended post-test data through student exams. Preliminary results regarding student misconceptions in cosmology and student attitudes toward inquiry will be presented.
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…
Gok, Tolga; Gok, Ozge
The aim of this research was to investigate the effects of peer instruction on learning strategies, problem solving performance, and conceptual understanding of college students in a general chemistry course. The research was performed students enrolled in experimental and control groups of a chemistry course were selected. Students in the…
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…
Wangle, Jayleen Lillian
Continuity is a central concept in calculus. Yet very few students seem to understand the nature of continuity. The research described was conducted in two stages. Students were asked questions in multiple choice and true/false format regarding function, limit and continuity. These results were used to identify participants as strong, weak or…
Levy, M S
Attempts to understand the purpose and the etiology of reenactments can lead to confusion because reenactments can occur for a variety of reasons. At times, individuals actively reenact past traumas as a way to master them. However, in other cases, reenactments occur inadvertently and result from the psychological vulnerabilities and defensive strategies characteristic of trauma survivors. This article offers a means to conceptualize and understand the many ways in which reenactments can occur. Psychotherapeutic strategies are offered to help individuals integrate past traumas and decrease their chances of becoming involved in destructive reenactments. PMID:9631344
Doig, Brian; And Others
This report describes the results of a 1992 survey of students' economic, geographical, cultural, historical, and political understandings in the state of Victoria (Australia). The conception of some 2,900 students in Years 5 and 9 in government, Catholic and independent schools are investigated and described. The survey is one of a series of…
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…
Learning quantum mechanics is especially challenging, in part due to the abstract nature of the subject. We have been conducting investigations of the difficulties that students have in learning quantum mechanics. To help improve student understanding of quantum concepts, we are developing quantum interactive learning tutorials (QuILTs) as well as tools for peer-instruction. The goal of QuILTs and peer-instruction tools is to actively engage students in the learning process and to help them build links between the formalism and the conceptual aspects of quantum physics without compromising the technical content. They focus on helping students integrate qualitative and quantitative understanding, confront and resolve their misconceptions and difficulties, and discriminate between concepts that are often confused. In this talk, I will give examples from my research in physics education of how students' prior knowledge relevant for quantum mechanics can be assessed, and how learning tools can be designed to help students develop a robust knowledge structure and critical thinking skills. Supported by the National Science Foundation.
Haug, Berit S.; Ødegaard, Marianne
This qualitative video study explores how two elementary school teachers taught for conceptual understanding throughout different phases of science inquiry. The teachers implemented teaching materials with a focus on learning science key concepts through the development of word knowledge. A framework for word knowledge was applied to examine the students' level of word knowledge manifested in their talk. In this framework, highly developed knowledge of a word is conceptual knowledge. This includes understanding how the word is situated within a network of other words and ideas. The results suggest that students' level of word knowledge develops toward conceptual knowledge when the students are required to apply the key concepts in their talk throughout all phases of inquiry. When the students become familiar with the key concepts through the initial inquiry activities, the students use the concepts as tools for furthering their conceptual understanding when they discuss their ideas and findings. However, conceptual understanding is not promoted when teachers do the talking for the students, rephrasing their responses into the correct answer or neglecting to address the students' everyday perceptions of scientific phenomena.
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…
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)
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…
Tao, Ying; Colette Oliver, Mary; 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, medium and low socio-economic status in Hunan Province, central south China (n = 135) and three schools of similar socio-economic status in Western Australia (n = 120). The students' understanding was assessed by a science quiz, developed from past Trends in Mathematics and Science Study science released items for primary children. In-depth interviews were carried out to further explore children's conceptual understanding of living things, the Earth and floating and sinking. The results revealed that Year 3 children from schools of similar socio-economic status in the two countries had similar conceptual understandings of life science, earth science and physical science. Further, in both countries, the higher the socio-economic status of the school, the better the students performed on the science quiz and in interviews. Some idiosyncratic strengths and weaknesses were observed, for example, Chinese Year 3 children showed relative strength in classification of living things, and Australian Year 3 children demonstrated better understanding of floating and sinking, but children in both countries were weak in applying and reasoning with complex concepts in the domain of earth science. The results raise questions about the value of providing a science curriculum in early childhood if it does not make any difference to students' conceptual understanding of science.
Santos, Silvia J.; Reigadas, Elena T.
The purpose of this investigation was to understand the student-faculty mentoring process and how mentoring relationships facilitate at-risk students' adjustment to college. The sample consisted of 65 college students who were involved in a Faculty Mentoring Program (FMP) at a four-year institution. A conceptual model was tested relating ethnic…
Heide, Clifford Lee
The study researched the attitude of eighth grade honors science students toward the steps of the conceptual change teaching method. The attitudes of 25 students in an honors 8th grade science class in the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area were assessed using a multi-method approach. A quantitative method (student survey) and a qualitative method (focus group) were triangulated for convergence. Since conceptual change is a relatively new reform teaching modality, the study assessed students' attitudes utilizing this method. Conceptual change teaching is characterized by connections between concepts and facts which are organized around key ideas. Knowledge connected through concepts is constantly revised and edited by students as they continue to learn and add new concepts. The results of this study produced evidence that the conceptual change method of teaching science and its six process steps have qualities that foster positive student attitude. The study demonstrated that students' attitudes toward science is positively influenced through the conceptual change teaching method by enabling students to: (1) choose problems and find solutions to those problems (student directed); (2) work together in large and small groups; (3) learn through student oral presentations; (4) perform hands-on laboratory experiences; (5) learn through conceptual understanding not memorization; (6) implement higher order learning skills to make connections from the lab to the real world. Teachers can use the information in the study to become aware of the positive and negative attitudes of students taught with the conceptual change method. Even if the conceptual change teaching strategy is not the modality utilized by an educator, the factors identified by this study that affect student attitude could be used to help a teacher design lesson plans that help foster positive student attitudes.
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…
Research in physical chemistry and chemical education: Part A: Water Mediated Chemistry of Oxidized Atmospheric Compounds Part B: The Development of Surveying Tools to Determine How Effective Laboratory Experiments Contribute to Student Conceptual Understanding
Maron, Marta Katarzyna
atmospherically measured oxidized organic molecules and predictions of atmospheric models at different relative humidities. The chemical education portion of this manuscript presented in Chapters VI and VII includes the development of a survey to determine how effective a laboratory experiment is in contributing to students' understanding of fundamental chemistry. The specific example used is an electrochemical cell. Our initial results showed that while most of our students could answer quantitative questions about the operation of the cell, their conceptual understanding of the microscopic processes that occur within the cell was inconsistent with the material presented in class. In particular, we noticed that while many students were able to correctly describe the events that take place at the surface of the anode and cathode, their understanding of the events that take place at the salt bridge was lacking. In this investigation, we were able to confirm the misconceptions reported in previous studies. Our results suggest that a relatively modest, incremental revision of the experiment reduces these misconceptions and helped the students to develop a molecular-scale picture of the processes that occur within an electrochemical cell.
Tan, Jacinta Oon Ai; Calitri, Raff; Bloodworth, Andrew; McNamee, Michael J
Eating disorders and disordered eating are more common in high performance sports than the general population, and particularly so in high performance aesthetic sports. This paper presents some of the conceptual difficulties in understanding and diagnosing eating disorders in high performance gymnasts. It presents qualitative and quantitative data from a study designed to ascertain the pattern of eating disorder symptoms, depressive symptoms and levels of self-esteem among national and international level gymnasts from the UK in the gymnastic disciplines of sport acrobatics, tumbling, and rhythmic gymnastics. PMID:26832977
Tan, Jacinta Oon Ai; Calitri, Raff; Bloodworth, Andrew; McNamee, Michael J
Eating disorders and disordered eating are more common in high performance sports than the general population, and particularly so in high performance aesthetic sports. This paper presents some of the conceptual difficulties in understanding and diagnosing eating disorders in high performance gymnasts. It presents qualitative and quantitative data from a study designed to ascertain the pattern of eating disorder symptoms, depressive symptoms and levels of self-esteem among national and international level gymnasts from the UK in the gymnastic disciplines of sport acrobatics, tumbling, and rhythmic gymnastics.
Although a broad literature exists concerning the development of conceptual understanding of force and other topics within mechanics, little is known about the role and development of students' talk about the subject. The paper presents an in-depth investigation of students' talk whilst being introduced to the concept of force. The main research goal was to investigate and understand how students develop an understanding of the concept of force and how they use and understand the term 'force'. Therefore, we make relation to the research field of students' preconceptions and the field of second language learning. Two classes of students (N = 47) were videotaped during a time period of nine lessons, each transcribed and analysed using a category system. Additional data were obtained via written tasks, logs kept by the students, and tests. The detailed analysis of the talk and the results of the tests indicate that students face difficulties in using the term 'force' scientifically similar to those in a foreign language instruction. Vygotsky already recognised a relationship between learning in science and learning a language. In this paper, important aspects of this relationship are discussed based upon empirical data. We conclude that in some respects it might be useful to make reference to the research related to language learning when thinking about improving science education. In particular, according to Selinker's concept of interlanguage describing language-learning processes within language instruction, the language used by the students during physics lessons can be viewed as a 'scientific interlanguage'.
Sreenivasulu, Bellam; Subramaniam, R.
This study explored undergraduate students' understanding of the chemistry topic of thermodynamics using a 4-tier diagnostic instrument, comprising 30 questions, and follow-up interviews. An additional objective of the study was to assess the utility of the 4-tier instrument for use in studies on alternative conceptions (ACs) as there has been no study done on it since its introduction in the literature in the year 2010. A total of 296 students majoring in Chemistry at a university in Singapore participated in this study-88 students in the preliminary study, 102 students in the pilot study and 106 students in the main study. This article reports on the results obtained with students in the main study; their age ranges from 20 to 22 years. Comprising answer and reason tiers plus associated confidence ratings, the 4-tier diagnostic instrument enabled the eliciting of 34 ACs harbored by the undergraduates as well as the strengths of these ACs. Of concern to note is that even for questions which were answered correctly, the mean confidence was not very high. The results of this study reiterate the point that thermodynamics is a topic fraught with conceptual difficulties and ACs. Based on the results from this study, the potential of the 4-tier test for AC studies is further underscored. Some implications of the study are discussed.
Hadenfeldt, Jan Christoph; Neumann, Knut; Bernholt, Sascha; Liu, Xiufeng; Parchmann, Ilka
This study presents our attempt to elicit students' progression in understanding the matter concept. Past work has identified the big ideas about matter students need to understand, the many everyday understandings students hold about these ideas, and levels of understanding through which students progress in developing understanding of the big…
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.
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.
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
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 of abstract scientific MERs to see (a) how many, and what kind of ideas (propositions) learners remembered from these MERs and (b) what the impact of these ideas is on conceptual understanding of the content. Propositional analysis indicates that learners created flawed internal representations. The discussion analyses the potentials that the learners have in using abstract representations to increase their understanding of scientific information and possible effects of 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…
The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of instruction supplemented by conceptual change texts (CCTs) over traditional instruction on students' understanding of electrochemical (galvanic and electrolytic) cell concepts. The participants of the study consisted of 64 students from the two classes of a high school located in…
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…
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…
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…
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…
Brophy, Sean P.; Magana, Alejandra J.; Strachan, Alejandro
We studied the use of online molecular dynamics simulations (MD) to enhance student abilities to understand the atomic processes governing plastic deformation in materials. The target population included a second-year undergraduate engineering course in the School of Materials Engineering at Purdue University. The objectives of the study were to…
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
Kim, Yeounsoo; Bao, Lei; Acar, Omer
With proper context settings, instructors need to guide students to recognize explicitly cognitive conflicts among students' existing understandings and new observations. To study this issue, we have developed an easy-to-use instrument, the in-class Conflict and Anxiety Recognition Evaluation (iCARE), for monitoring the status of students' cognitive conflicts and anxiety in the context of Physics by Inquiry (PBI) classes. Using iCARE, we investigate what types of cognitive conflict is constructive or destructive in conceptual change when college students are confronted with anomalous situations in a PBI class. In this research, we will present our results about the relationship between students' prior knowledge and their conceptual change and the relationship between students' types of cognitive conflicts and their conceptual change.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a visualization-centered curriculum, Hemoglobin: A Case of Double Identity, on conceptual understanding and representational competence in high school biology. Sixty-nine students enrolled in three sections of freshman biology taught by the same teacher participated in this study. Online Chemscape Chime computer-based molecular visualizations were incorporated into the 10-week curriculum to introduce students to fundamental structure and function relationships. Measures used in this study included a Hemoglobin Structure and Function Test, Mental Imagery Questionnaire, Exam Difficulty Survey, the Student Assessment of Learning Gains, the Group Assessment of Logical Thinking, the Attitude Toward Science in School Assessment, audiotapes of student interviews, students' artifacts, weekly unit activity surveys, informal researcher observations and a teacher's weekly questionnaire. The Hemoglobin Structure and Function Test, consisting of Parts A and B, was administered as a pre and posttest. Part A used exclusively verbal test items to measure conceptual understanding, while Part B used visual-verbal test items to measure conceptual understanding and representational competence. Results of the Hemoglobin Structure and Function pre and posttest revealed statistically significant gains in conceptual understanding and representational competence, suggesting the visualization-centered curriculum implemented in this study was effective in supporting positive learning outcomes. The large positive correlation between posttest results on Part A, comprised of all-verbal test items, and Part B, using visual-verbal test items, suggests this curriculum supported students' mutual development of conceptual understanding and representational competence. Evidence based on student interviews, Student Assessment of Learning Gains ratings and weekly activity surveys indicated positive attitudes toward the use of Chemscape Chime
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 Chem
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…
Zerr, Ryan J.
An overview is given of three conceptual lessons that can be incorporated into any first-semester calculus class. These lessons were developed to help promote calculus students' ability to think conceptually, in particular with regard to the role that infinity plays in the subject. A theoretical basis for the value of these lessons is provided,…
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
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…
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
Howe, Christine; Devine, Amy; Tavares, Joana Taylor
When students reason during school science, they often refer to conceptions that are derived from out-of-school experiences and are poor proxies for science orthodoxy. However, for some areas of science, these conceptions represent only a proportion of students' full conceptual knowledge, for tacit understanding exists that is superior to the understanding displayed when reasoning. Noting that tacit understanding is engaged when events are judged as natural or non-natural, the paper is concerned with software that: (a) requires direction and speed of falling objects to be predicted, i.e. a typical science reasoning task that engages conceptual knowledge; (b) presents simulations of predicted motion in the expectation that its naturalness or non-naturalness would be recognised. An evaluation study is reported where children aged 8-12 years worked with the software in contexts that typify computer use in classrooms, i.e. individually under adult guidance (n = 44 children) or in pairs with a classmate (n = 48 children). They were observed while they did this. Reasoning about object fall was assessed via change from individual pre-tests administered prior to software usage to individual post-tests administered a few weeks afterwards. The children who worked with the software showed greater pre- to post-test gains in conceptual understanding than control children (n = 47 children), who lacked software experience. The gains were especially marked for the children who worked in pairs. The approach taken is contrasted with traditional approaches to conceptual change in school science, e.g. strategies that rely upon classroom experiments.
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…
Exposito, Sara; Bernheimer, Susan
This article provides a conceptual base for pedagogy that embraces and incorporates the assets of nontraditional students in higher education and advocates for practice that honors and builds on students' cultural and social capital. It describes the challenges and opportunities faced by nontraditional students within institutions of higher…
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.
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…
Shymansky, James A.; And Others
Explores students' conceptual understanding and conceptual growth in classical mechanics in the natural context of a grade 10 science classroom. Findings indicate that students' knowledge structures remained stable across the 10 weeks and remained unchanged 4 weeks after instruction ceased. Contains 30 references. (Author/JRH)
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.
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
This study investigated students' procedural and conceptual knowledge of the definite integral. Twenty-five students enrolled in one section of an undergraduate Calculus II class participated in this study. Data were collected from a test that was conducted during the fourth week of the semester. The test aimed at collecting information about the…
Daane, Abigail R.
In K-12 educational settings, conservation of energy is typically presented in two ways: the conservation of energy principle (energy is neither created nor destroyed) and the sociopolitical need to conserve energy (we guard against energy being used up). These two meanings of conservation typically remain disconnected from each other and can appear contradictory, even after instruction. In an effort to support teachers in building robust understandings of energy from their existing knowledge, I designed a study to investigate the productive ideas in K-12 teachers' conversations about energy. A micro-analysis of discourse, gestures, and artifacts of professional development courses revealed teachers' productive ideas about three aspects of energy: conceptual metaphor, dissipation and degradation. In learning about energy, K-12 teachers come to use conceptual metaphors in their own language and value attending to students' metaphorical language as a means of formative assessment. Teachers' conversations about dissipation suggest that apparent difficulties with energy conservation may have their roots in a strong association between forms of energy (thermal) and their perceptible indicators (warmth). Teachers address this challenge by employing an exaggeration strategy to locate the dissipated thermal energy, making the energy indicator perceptible. Finally, teachers' unprompted statements about sociopolitical aspects of energy are related to both statements from the NGSS and aspects of energy degradation. I conclude that energy conservation can be better taught and learned in K-12 Education by: 1) understanding and applying conceptual metaphors about energy in K-12 settings, 2) using prior experiences to better understand dissipative energy processes involving imperceptible thermal energy, thereby understanding how energy conservation applies in all situations, and 3) connecting productive ideas about sociopolitical aspects of energy to canonical physics. Keywords
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…
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…
Jensen, Jamie L.; McDaniel, Mark A.; Woodard, Steven M.; Kummer, Tyler A.
In order to test the effect of exam-question level on fostering student conceptual understanding, low-level and high-level quizzes and exams were administered in two sections of an introductory biology course. Each section was taught in a high-level inquiry based style but was assigned either low-level questions (memory oriented) on the quizzes…
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).…
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
Butler, Brandon M.; Cuenca, Alexander
The field-based mentoring of student teachers is often an idiosyncratic and nuanced practice in which mentors' conceptualizations of their interactions with student teachers are generated through personal experiences with teacher education. If teacher educators and programs are to strengthen the tie between campus and field-based teacher…
Jenkins, Jayne M.; Jenkins, Patience; Collums, Ashley; Werhonig, Gary
Conceptual physical education (CPE) courses are typically included in university course work to provide students knowledge and skills to engage in physical activity for life. The purpose of this study was to identify CPE course characteristics that contributed to positive and negative student perceptions. Participants included 157 undergraduates…
Beatty, Ian D.; Gerace, William J.
Investigates the interconnections within students' store of conceptual knowledge using a set of term-association tasks (ConMap tasks). Gathers students' spontaneous responses to a term or problem or topic area with a sequence of associated terms, the response terms and time-of-entry data. (Contains 24 references.) (Author/YDS)
Leatham, Keith R.; Peterson, Blake E.; Stockero, Shari L.; Van Zoest, Laura R.
The mathematics education community values using student thinking to develop mathematical concepts, but the nuances of this practice are not clearly understood. The authors conceptualize an important group of instances in classroom lessons that occur at the intersection of student thinking, significant mathematics, and pedagogical…
The purpose of this study was to explore rural and provincial students' conceptualizations of nature in Colombia alongside the science education offered in their school communities. Students' perceptions of nature were produced from interviews that revolved around a focusing event and two eliciting devices to document their views about home,…
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.
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…
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…
This article presents a provisional grounded theory of conceptual development for applied theory-building research. The theory described here extends the understanding of the components of conceptual development and provides generalized relations among the components. The conceptual development phase of theory-building research has been widely…
Savinainen, Antti; Viiri, Jouni
The Force Concept Inventory (FCI) is a multiple choice test designed to monitor students' understanding of the conceptual domain of force and related kinematics (Hestenes et al. "Physics Teacher" 30:141-158 1992; Halloun et al., 1995, Online at http://modeling.asu.edu/R&E/Research.html). It has gained wide popularity among both researchers and…
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
DeCaro, Marci S
An important goal in mathematics is to flexibly use and apply multiple, efficient procedures to solve problems and to understand why these procedures work. One factor that may limit individuals' ability to notice and flexibly apply strategies is the mental set induced by the problem context. Undergraduate (N = 41, Experiment 1) and fifth- and sixth-grade students (N = 87, Experiment 2) solved mathematical equivalence problems in one of two set-inducing conditions. Participants in the complex-first condition solved problems without a repeated addend on both sides of the equal sign (e.g., 7 + 5 + 9 = 3 + _), which required multistep strategies. Then these students solved problems with a repeated addend (e.g., 7 + 5 + 9 = 7 + _), for which a shortcut strategy could be readily used (i.e., adding 5 + 9). Participants in the shortcut-first condition solved the same problem set but began with the shortcut problems. Consistent with laboratory studies of mental set, participants in the complex-first condition were less likely to use the more efficient shortcut strategy when possible. In addition, these participants were less likely to demonstrate procedural flexibility and conceptual understanding on a subsequent assessment of mathematical equivalence knowledge. These findings suggest that certain problem-solving contexts can help or hinder both flexibility in strategy use and deeper conceptual thinking about the problems.
Langbeheim, Elon; Safran, Samuel A.; Livne, Shelly; Yerushalmi, Edit
We analyze the development in students’ understanding of fundamental principles in the context of learning a current interdisciplinary research topic—soft matter—that was adapted to the level of high school students. The topic was introduced in a program for interested 11th grade high school students majoring in chemistry and/or physics, in an off-school setting. Soft matter was presented in a gradual increase in the degree of complexity of the phenomena as well as in the level of the quantitative analysis. We describe the evolution in students’ use of fundamental thermodynamics principles to reason about phase separation—a phenomenon that is ubiquitous in soft matter. In particular, we examine the impact of the use of free energy analysis, a common approach in soft matter, on the understanding of the fundamental principles of thermodynamics. The study used diagnostic questions and classroom observations to gauge the student’s learning. In order to gain insight on the aspects that shape the understanding of the basic principles, we focus on the responses and explanations of two case-study students who represent two trends of evolution in conceptual understanding in the group. We analyze changes in the two case studies’ management of conceptual resources used in their analysis of phase separation, and suggest how their prior knowledge and epistemological framing (a combination of their personal tendencies and their prior exposure to different learning styles) affect their conceptual evolution. Finally, we propose strategies to improve the instruction of these concepts.
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
Hrastinski, Stefan; Stenbom, Stefan
The aim of this paper is to describe student-student online coaching, defined as "an online service where a student gets support on a specific subject matter from a more experienced student". Student-student online coaching emphasizes learning a subject matter by giving a student the opportunity to get coached by a coach, i.e. a more experienced…
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…
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.
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…
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
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…
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.
Keener, Sally; Leaman, David R.
Conscientious educators grapple with the challenge of teaching all students, including emotionally troubled, high risk students. The general expectation is that teachers should know how to reach and teach every student--even the most irritating and obstinate child. To do that, teachers must be able to identify basic psychological factors of…
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…
Ng, Wan; Nicholas, Howard
In an era where technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and where information is readily accessible on the World Wide Web, educators should be capitalizing on these resources for gifted students. This paper proposes a conceptual framework to support individualized and independent learning within a network of peers that will provide challenging…
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…
Solsona, Nuria; Izquierdo, Merce; de Jong, Onno
Carries out a naturalistic small-scale study involving a class from a senior high school in Spain over two years. Analyzes students' essays on chemical change using text analysis techniques. Reports the development of four conceptual profiles and the implications of research for the process of teaching the concept of chemical change. (Author/KHR)
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…
To explore the ways in which teacher-guided and student-centered instructional approaches influence students' conceptual understanding of seasonal change, we designed a technology-enhanced learning (TEL) course to compare, by means of concept maps, the learning outcome of students in two groups: a teacher-guided (TG) class (with whole-class…
Fyrenius, Anna; Silen, Charlotte; Wirell, Staffan
Medical physiology is known to be a complex area where students develop significant errors in conceptual understanding. Students' knowledge is often bound to situational descriptions rather than underlying principles. This study explores how medical students discern and process underlying principles in physiology. Indepth interviews, where…
Goetz, Thomas; Hall, Nathan C.; Frenzel, Anne C.; Pekrun, Reinhard
The focus of the present study is on students' experiences of enjoyment, an emotion largely neglected in educational research. We present a model in which specific levels of generalization of the construct of enjoyment are differentiated. Based on their extent of generalization, these differentiated constructs of enjoyment are located in a…
Hoffman, Beth A.
This investigation of conceptual understanding in computer-based physics instruction found that preconceptions are powerful predictors of performance; pair composition is related to paired, but not individualized performance; and efficient partner resolution strategies lead to improved performance. Seventy-six high school physics students were pretested individually and paired on the basis of similarity or difference in their initial level of conceptions. Pairs performed a series of computer-based exercises, after which students were individually posttested. Students' self-reports and researcher observations measured the nature and frequency of social interaction in which their pair engaged. Students who began with a more sophisticated understanding of force and motion performed significantly better than those with low Pretest scores. Those with initially lower scores improved more after instruction, but their Posttest scores rarely surpassed the scores of those who started out higher. Lower scoring students were dominated by higher scoring partners during paired learning. Pairs' performance measures therefore reflected the conceptions of the higher level student. Conversely, individual performance measures following paired instruction were unrelated to a partner's ability level. Pairing students by ability level did not affect performance except in the context of the pair. Results imply that educators need not pair students by ability level when their goal is to improve the individual's performance. Students with the most efficient resolution strategies performed significantly better than those whose resolution strategies were less sophisticated. Conflicts were constructive or destructive depending on how they were resolved. The ability to effectively negotiate solutions was associated with higher achievement, implying that educators consider training students to hone their resolution skills prior to collaborative instruction. Computer-based instruction is 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…
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…
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 the assumption that understanding is embodied. Embodied understanding arises from recurrent bodily and social experience with our environment. As our perception is adapted to a medium-scale dimension, our embodied conceptions originate from this mesocosmic scale. With respect to this epistemological principle, we distinguish between micro-, meso- and macrocosmic phenomena. We use these insights to analyse how external representations of phenomena in the micro- and macrocosm can foster learning when they (a) address the students' learning demand by affording a mesocosmic experience or (b) assist reflection on embodied conceptions by representing their image schematic structure. We base our considerations on empirical evidence from teaching experiments on phenomena from the microcosm (microbial growth and signal conduction in neurons) and the macrocosm (greenhouse effect and carbon cycle). We discuss how the theory of conceptual metaphor can inform the development of external representations.
Betts, Kristen; Welsh, Bill; Pruitt, Cheryl; Hermann, Kelly; Dietrich, Gaeir; Trevino, Jorge G.; Watson, Terry L.; Brooks, Michael L.; Cohen, Alex H.; Coombs, Norman
Online learning has been growing at an exponential rate over the past decade, providing new opportunities for students seeking quality courses and programs offered through flexible formats. However, as higher education continues to expand online offerings, services must be expanded simultaneously to support all students. This article focuses on…
Ambrose, Bradley S.; Heron, Paula R. L.; Vokos, Stamatis; McDermott, Lillian C.
Some serious difficulties that students have in understanding physical optics may be due in part to a lack of understanding of light as an electromagnetic wave. Describes the development and use of tutorials designed to address students' conceptual difficulties. (Contains over 15 references.) (Author/WRM)
The research investigated the effect of a science diagram on primary students' conceptual understanding about magnets. Lack of research involving students of primary age means that little is known about the potential of science diagrams to help them understand abstract concepts such as magnetism. Task-based interviews were conducted individually…
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…
Costu, Bayram; Ayas, Alipasa; Niaz, Mansoor
This article reports on the development of a Predict-Observe-Explain, POE-based teaching strategy to facilitate conceptual change and its effectiveness on student understanding of condensation. The sample consisted of 52 first-year students in primary science education department. Students' ideas were elicited using a test consisting of five probe…
Baumel, Howard B.; Berger, J. Joel
Described is a method of teaching introductory college biology that utilizes original research papers. Course materials facilitate student understanding of biologists as people and understanding methods used by scientists to uncover new knowledge. (EB)
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.
Castillo, A. J.; Marshall, J.; Cardenas, M. B.
Our objective is to characterize and assess upper division and graduate student thinking by developing and testing an assessment tool for a physical hydrology class. The class' learning goals are: (1) Quantitative process-based understanding of hydrologic processes, (2) Experience with different methods in hydrology, (3) Learning, problem solving, communication skills. These goals were translated into two measurable tasks asked of students in a questionnaire: (1) Describe the significant processes in the hydrological cycle and (2) Describe laws governing these processes. A third question below assessed the students' ability to apply their knowledge: You have been hired as a consultant by __ to (1) assess how urbanization and the current drought have affected a local spring and (2) predict what the effects will be in the future if the drought continues. What information would you need to gather? What measurements would you make? What analyses would you perform? Student and expert responses to the questions were then used to develop a rubric to score responses. Using the rubric, 3 researchers independently blind-coded the full set of pre and post artifacts, resulting in 89% inter-rater agreement on the pre-tests and 83% agreement on the post-tests. We present student scores to illustrate the use of the rubric and to characterize student thinking prior to and following a traditional course. Most students interpreted Q1 in terms of physical processes affecting the water cycle, the primary organizing framework for hydrology, as intended. On the pre-test, one student scored 0, indicating no response, on this question. Twenty students scored 1, indicating rudimentary understanding, 2 students scored a 2, indicating a basic understanding, and no student scored a 3. Student scores on this question improved on the post-test. On the 22 post-tests that were blind scored, 11 students demonstrated some recognition of concepts, 9 students showed a basic understanding, and 2
Dunlap, Joanna C.; Furtak, Thomas E.; Tucker, Susan A.
The calculus-based, introductory physics course is the port of entry for any student interested in pursuing a college degree in the sciences, mathematics, or engineering. There is increasing demand for online delivery options that make the course more widely available, especially those that use best practices in student engagement. However,…
Barrow, Lloyd H.
The study of shadows is a common elementary science topic that facilitates students' development of understanding about light and associated waves. All elementary students have observed numerous shadows, but need assistance in developing understanding. Previous research studies about shadows were utilized in organizing aspects associated with…
Diamond, Abigail; Vorley, Tim; Roberts, Jennifer; Jones, Stephen
The Higher Education Academy (HEA), in partnership with the National Union of Students (NUS), commissioned CFE and The University of Sheffield to undertake research to explore behavioural approaches to understanding student choice. Within the research, the authors' applied insights from behavioural economics to help aid understanding of student…
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
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.
Craft, Christy Moran; Rockenbach, Alyssa Bryant
As part of a larger investigation into the spiritual climate at one Lutheran college, we interviewed Protestant Christian students in order to compare their conceptualizations of spirituality, religion, and faith with biblical notions of those concepts. We found that the students' understandings of those concepts only loosely reflected general…
Artun, Hüseyin; Coştu, 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.
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.…
Student achievement and motivation to learn physics is highly valued in many industrialized countries including the United States and Japan. Science education curricula in these countries emphasize the importance and encourage classroom teachers to use an inquiry approach. This dissertation investigated high school students' motivational orientations and their understanding of physics concepts in a context of inquiry-based instruction. The goals were to explore the patterns of instructional effects on motivation and learning in each country and to examine cultural differences and similarities. Participants consisted of 108 students (55 females, 53 males) and 9 physics teachers in the United States and 616 students (203 females and 413 males) and 11 physics teachers in Japan. Students were administered (a) Force Concept Inventory measuring physics conceptual understanding and (b) Attitudes about Science Questionnaire measuring student motivational orientations. Teachers were given a survey regarding their use of inquiry teaching practices and background information. Additionally, three teachers in each country were interviewed and observed in their classrooms. For the data analysis, two-level hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) methods were used to examine individual student differences (i.e., learning, motivation, and gender) within each classroom (i.e., inquiry-based teaching, teaching experience, and class size) in the U.S. and Japan, separately. Descriptive statistical analyses were also conducted. The results indicated that there was a cultural similarity in that current teaching practices had minimal influence on conceptual understanding as well as motivation of high school students between the U.S. and Japan. In contrast, cultural differences were observed in classroom structures and instructional approaches. Furthermore, this study revealed gender inequity in Japanese students' conceptual understanding and self-efficacy. Limitations of the study, as well as
Philosophical debates about chemistry have clarified that the issue of emergence plays a critical role in the epistemology and ontology of chemistry. In this article, it is argued that the issue of emergence has also significant implications for understanding learning difficulties and finding ways of addressing them in chemistry. Particularly, it is argued that many misconceptions in chemistry may derive from students' failure to consider emergence in a systemic manner by taking into account all relevant factors in conjunction. Based on this argument, undergraduate students' conceptions of acids, and acid strength (an emergent chemical property) were investigated and it was examined whether or not they conceptualized acid strength as an emergent chemical property. The participants were 41 third- and fourth-year undergraduate students. A concept test and semi-structured interviews were used to probe students' conceptualizations and reasoning about acid strength. Findings of the study revealed that the majority of the undergraduate students did not conceptualize acid strength as an emergent property that arises from interactions among multiple factors. They generally focused on a single factor to predict and explain acid strength, and their faulty responses stemmed from their failure to recognize and consider all factors that affect acid strength. Based on these findings and insights from philosophy of chemistry, promoting system thinking and epistemologically sound argumentative discourses among students is suggested for meaningful chemical education.
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
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…
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
House, Chloe; Meades, Glen; Linenberger, Kimberly J.
Presented is a guided inquiry activity designed to be conducted with prenursing students using an analogous system to help develop a conceptual understanding of factors impacting enzyme kinetics and the various types of enzyme inhibition. Pre- and postconceptual understanding evaluations and effectiveness of implementation surveys were given to…
Ameny, Gloria Millie Apio
knowledge or course was found to have a statistically significant influence on students' conceptions related to scientific methods, the scope and limits of biological knowledge, the importance of evolution in biology, and students' understanding of homologous and analogous structural features as products of divergent and convergent evolutionary processes. Findings of this study have implications for college biology teaching, student learning, and conceptual change among college biology students.
Rianasari, Veronika Fitri; Budayasa, I Ketut; Patahuddin, Sitti Maesuri
Many researches revealed that pupils often find difficulties to understand percentage although they are able to recite percent as per hundred and carry out the computations correctly. This might happen due to the way in which the learning percentage has been taught that tends to focus on procedures and recall instead of getting a real…
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.
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.
Loving, Cathleen C.; Foster, Andrea
This study examines the extent to which science education graduate students enjoy a well-articulated position on the compatibility of science and religion and, as a result, are comfortable with their espoused views and plans for the role of religion in science classroom discussions. We were particularly interested in examining changes in student mental states as a legitimate form of conceptual change after a course intervention. This might be evidenced by the depth of understanding, level of reasoning, and degree of comfort with classroom application. The intervention first asked students to write a talk back to the author paper shortly after reading a provocative essay on the topic. This was followed by reading and discussing a variety of alternative views after which they wrote a more formal position paper on the science-religion topic. We first conducted a content analysis of both papers, developing separate concept maps of the overall class response in the first and second papers, noting changes in emphases. Adapting a current multidimensional model of conceptual change, we then developed an individual evaluation form based on categories that emerged in the class analysis, which were strikingly similar to the categories in the multidimensional model. These included ontological, epistemological, and social/affective dimensions of conceptual change. Both papers were scored in these three areas. The conceptual change for each student from talk-back to position paper was subsequently reported using individual graphs and citing text examples. Results showed conceptual change or improved mental state in all three categories for most students.
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
Ozkan, Gulbin; Sezgin Selcuk, Gamze
The aim of this research was to explore the effects of three different types of methods of learning physics (conceptual change-based, real life context-based and traditional learning) on high school physics students in the 11th grade in terms of conceptual change they achieved in learning about the various topics (pressure exerted by solids, pressure in stagnant liquids and gases, buoyancy, Bernoulli’s principle). In this study, a pre-test/post-test quasi-experimental method with nonequivalent control group, involving a 3 (group) × 2 (time) factorial design was used. Study group 1 were given the conceptual change texts on the mentioned subjects, study group 2 were offered a teaching approach based on real life context-based learning, whereas the control group was taught in the traditional style. Data for the research were collected with the ‘pressure conceptual test’. As a result of research, the number of misconceptions had been reduced or shifted altogether in all three groups. After the instruction, it was seen that none of the students formed new misconceptions. It was found that the most positive change could be seen in the conceptual change text group followed by context-based and lastly traditional. The fact that none of the students formed new misconceptions is important, particularly since research such as the following shows that conceptual change is tenuous and inconsistent, taking time to shift in a sustained manner.
We assess the preconceptions of Japanese students about force and motion. The Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation is a research-based, multiple-choice assessment of students' conceptual understanding of Newton's laws of motion and energy conservation. It is administered to determine the effectiveness of introductory mechanics curricula. In this study, the test was given to engineering students at the beginning of the first lecture of an introductory mechanics course for several years. Some students had minimal high school physics education, whereas the others had completed high school physics programs. To probe the students' preconceptions, we studied their test answers for each of the following categories: velocity, acceleration, Newton's first and second laws, Newton's third law, and energy conservation. We find that preconceptions, such as F ∝ mv, are prevalent among the students, regardless of their level of high school physics education. In the case of a collision between two objects, two preconceptions—a mass-dependent model and an action-dependent model—are prevalent. Typically, students combine the two models, with action dependency outweighing mass dependency. In the case of a sled sliding down a hill without friction at two heights and inclinations, a quarter of students used the height-dependent model to answer questions regarding speed and kinetic energy.
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…
Bamwesiga, Penelope Mbabazi
Many governments believe that investing in human capital should increase citizens' employability, which is why it is often presented as a solution to the problems of knowledge-based economies and societies, rising unemployment rates and economic competiveness. The aim of this study is to understand employers' views regarding the employability of…
Renken, Maggie D.; Nunez, Narina
Evidence for cognitive benefits of simulated versus physical experiments is unclear. Seventh grade participants (n = 147) reported their understanding of two simple pendulum problems (1) before conducting an experiment, (2) immediately following experimentation, and (3) after a 12-week delay. "Problem type" was manipulated within…
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.
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
Nagle, Courtney; Moore-Russo, Deborah; Viglietti, Janine; Martin, Kristi
This study considers tertiary calculus students' and instructors' conceptualizations of slope. Qualitative techniques were employed to classify responses to 5 items using conceptualizations of slope identified across various research settings. Students' responses suggest that they rely on procedurally based conceptualizations of…
Hamed, Kastro Mohamad
This study investigated students' understanding of surface phenomena. The main purpose for conducting this research endeavor was to understand how students think about a complex topic about which they have little direct or formal instruction. The motivation for focusing on surface phenomena stemmed from an interest in integrating research and education. Despite the importance of surfaces and interfaces in research laboratories, in technological applications, and in everyday experiences, no previous systematic effort was done on pedagogy related to surface phenomena. The design of this research project was qualitative, exploratory, based on a Piagetian semi-structured clinical piloted interview, focused on obtaining a longitudinal view of the intended sample. The sampling was purposeful and the sample consisted of forty-four undergraduate students at Kansas State University. The student participants were enrolled in physics classes that spanned a wide academic spectrum. The data were analyzed qualitatively. The main themes that emerged from the analysis were: (a) students used analogies when confronted with novel situations, (b) students mixed descriptions and explanations, (c) students used the same explanation for several phenomena, (d) students manifested difficulties transferring the meaning of vocabulary across discipline boundaries, (e) in addition to the introductory chemistry classes, students used everyday experiences and job-related experiences as sources of knowledge, and (f) students' inquisitiveness and eagerness to investigate and discuss novel phenomena seemed to peak about the time students were enrolled in second year physics classes.
Smith, Trevor I.; Mountcastle, Donald B.; Thompson, John R.
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…
Weidman, John C.; DeAngelo, Linda; Bethea, Kathryn A.
This chapter describes the contribution of current research using the Weidman model of undergraduate socialization to understanding student identity development in college. It illustrates ways in which the framework can be used flexibly and adapted for studying impacts of multiple aspects of the college experience on diverse groups of students.
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…
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…
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…
MacKinnon, Gregory R.
The study of chemistry includes many abstract concepts that students may find difficult to understand. A fundamental yet troublesome part of introductory chemistry courses is the topic of electron configuration and specifically quantum-mechanical orbitals. In an effort to examine the way students internalize the concept of atomic orbitals and how…
Sturts, Jill R.; Mowatt, Rasul A.
Pedagogically, the term "bottleneck" refers to a moment when students may face barriers to understanding content in the process of learning. As instructors identify "bottlenecks" within their courses, they are faced with the challenge of how to best assist students in overcoming them. Further, most instructors want to know what selected teaching…
Barahmand, Ali; Shahvarani, Ahmad
The purpose of the present article is to investigate how 15-year-old Iranian students interpret the concept of equation, its solution, and studying the relation between the students' equation understanding and solving. Data from two equation-solving exercises are reported. Data analysis shows that there is a significant relationship between…
In this paper, we describe instruction designed to teach students about exponents and logarithms and report a pilot study to test the effectiveness of this instruction. Based on the theoretical work of Dubinsky and Sfard, we postulate a set of mental constructions that a student could make to understand the concepts of exponents and logarithms. We…
Chandras, Kananur V.
Asian American students who encounter personal problems may hesitate to utilize counseling and mental health facilities on campuses, being fearful that family, friends and/or relatives may consider them emotionally unstable. Counselors and mental health workers may lack understanding of language and cultural background of Asian-American students,…
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…
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…
The Student Teaching Abroad (STA) program at Moorhead College is a coordinated effort to place qualified teacher education candidates in private international schools abroad. An assumption of STA is that international understanding will be increased through an exposure to other cultures; therefore student teachers are encouraged to live with local…
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…
Pinzino, Dean William
This thesis investigates the use of socioscientific issues (SSI) in the high school science classroom as an introduction to argumentation and socioscientific reasoning, with the goal of improving students' scientific literacy (SL). Current research is reviewed that supports the likelihood of students developing a greater conceptual understanding of scientific theories as well as a deeper understanding of the nature of science (NOS), through participation in informal and formal forms of argumentation in the context of SSI. Significant gains in such understanding may improve a student's ability to recognize the rigor, legitimacy, and veracity of scientific claims and better discern science from pseudoscience. Furthermore, students that participate in significant SSI instruction by negotiating a range of science-related social issues can make significant gains in content knowledge and develop the life-long skills of argumentation and evidence-based reasoning, goals not possible in traditional lecture-based science instruction. SSI-based instruction may therefore help students become responsible citizens. This synthesis also suggests that that the improvements in science literacy and NOS understanding that develop from sustained engagement in SSI-based instruction will better prepare students to examine and scrutinize socially controversial scientific theories (i.e., evolution, global warming, and the Big Bang).
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
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…
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…
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)
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…
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…
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…
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…
Southey, Philip; Allie, Saalih; Demaree, Dedra
Density is an important, multifaceted concept that occurs at many levels of physics education. Previous research has shown that a primary instantiation of the concept, mass density, is not well understood by high school or university students. This study seeks to determine how students understand the broad concept of density, and whether particular aspects of their understanding are helpful in structuring the concept of charge density. Qualitative data were gathered in the form of questionnaires distributed to 172 freshmen comprising three different academic groups. Broad, open ended questions prompted for responses involving free writing and drawn diagrams. The data were analysed by an approach suggested by Grounded Theory. Using the theoretical lens of Conceptual Metaphor Theory, six underlying (foothold) concepts were identified in terms of which density was conceptualised: `filled container'; `packing'; `weight/heaviness'; `intensive property'; `floating/sinking'; `impenetrability/solidity'. The foothold concept of `packing' proved to be the most productive for conceptualising `charge density'.
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.
Assessing Changes in High School Students' Conceptual Understanding through Concept Maps before and after the Computer-Based Predict-Observe-Explain (CB-POE) Tasks on Acid-Base Chemistry at the Secondary Level
Yaman, Fatma; Ayas, Alipasa
Although concept maps have been used as alternative assessment methods in education, there has been an ongoing debate on how to evaluate students' concept maps. This study discusses how to evaluate students' concept maps as an assessment tool before and after 15 computer-based Predict-Observe-Explain (CB-POE) tasks related to acid-base chemistry.…
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…
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…
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…
Bowcock, Robyn; Peters, Kath
Nurses as faculty teaching undergraduate students, require a diversity of skills to ensure that students engage in achieving the desired qualification. While it is anticipated that students have a degree of motivation to reach this goal, their varied backgrounds often mean they require additional support to assist them to engage with the learning process. It is anticipated that the tertiary institution or learning environment will have strategies to support the student from a broader perspective, but much of the engagement relies on the skill and knowledge of the nurse faculty. This discussion paper aims to promote an understanding of student engagement and argues that using aspects of therapeutic engagement can support nurse faculty to enhance the students' learning experience. Key concepts from both student and therapeutic engagement will be reviewed to provide implications, particularly for novice nurse faculty.
Boudreaux, Andrew; Heron, P. R.; Shaffer, P. S.
The concept of control of variables is fundamental to science. A practical understanding is especially important for science teachers, who must help students design experiments and learn to interpret the results. Findings from an extended study of student and teacher facility with the reasoning underlying control of variables will be reported. This research has involved precollege science teachers, liberal arts physics students, calculus-based introductory physics students, and college science faculty. The results suggest that while most participants are familiar with the idea of controlled experiments, many lack functional skill with the underlying reasoning. Results from interviews and written questions will be used to illustrate specific difficulties.
Gunderson, Angelica E.
This project was designed to incorporate three curriculum development strategies that have been created to increase student achievement in various content areas. Conceptual flow design, the 5E Instructional Model, and English language development strategies were used to create a seventh grade Genetics Unit. The unit was evaluated by three external experts and carried out in two seventh grade classrooms in an effort to assess its effectiveness. Based on the evaluators' feedback, the initial conceptual flow and lessons were found to be inconsistent and confusing. Overall, the organization of this unit seemed to support student achievement. The conceptual flow and the lesson layout of the unit were revised based on the evaluation data. All revisions and the established protocols will serve as models for further science curriculum development in the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District.
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.
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…
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
This study examined a cross-age population of 1,237 students from grades 6 through 12 and also 76 university students. Also, 75 8th grade students in two instructional groups were involved in a session of 16-hour science courses. A questionnaire with six knowledge and twelve cognitive ability questions was used to evaluate students' understanding of combustion. Furthermore, one pre-test and two post-tests were used to evaluate students' learning gains in instruction. Video recordings and curriculum materials were examined in terms of how both types of instruction were implemented. Five patterns were found to describe how students developed their understanding of combustion, including (I) gradual increase, (II) stepwise increase, (III) persistent misunderstanding, (IV) early understanding, and (V) varied understanding . The first two patterns are consistent with results from previous studies. However, the next three non-age-growing patterns suggest that the age maturation is not necessarily a determining factor and other variables such as curricula may be more important. Students at different ages applied their knowledge and problem solving strategies differently. The 6--8th grade students used more intuitive, real-life experiences to solve combustion questions in contrast to the 10th grade and older students, who applied more formal science knowledge to solve combustion questions. It was also found that the older students integrated their mobilized knowledge more accurately than the younger learners when they answered combustion questions in different versions of the questionnaire. Two types of instruction, established and experimental, were shown to be effective in promoting 8th grade students' understanding of combustion in the context of Taiwanese classrooms. In addition, although the two types of instruction had been implemented differently, the findings suggested that neither form of instruction was superior to the other as measured by the students
Soderberg, Patti D.
This study is an investigation of student understanding of population genetics and how students developed, used and revised conceptual models to solve problems. The students in this study participated in three rounds of problem solving. The first round involved the use of a population genetics model to predict the number of carriers in a population. The second round required them to revise their model of simple dominance population genetics to make inferences about populations containing three phenotype variations. The third round of problem solving required the students to revise their model of population genetics to explain anomalous data where the proportions of males and females with a trait varied significantly. As the students solved problems, they were involved in basic scientific processes as they observed population phenomena, constructed explanatory models to explain the data they observed, and attempted to persuade their peers as to the adequacy of their models. In this study, the students produced new knowledge about the genetics of a trait in a population through the revision and use of explanatory population genetics models using reasoning that was similar to what scientists do. The students learned, used and revised a model of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium to generate and test hypotheses about the genetics of phenotypes given only population data. Students were also interviewed prior to and following instruction. This study suggests that a commonly held intuitive belief about the predominance of a dominant variation in populations is resistant to change, despite instruction and interferes with a student's ability to understand Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and microevolution.
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 adopted as central to the methodological considerations. The test has two major parts: the concept part and the skill part. The former is concerned with students' conceptual knowledge of fraction addition and the latter is interested in students' procedural competence when adding fractions. There were statistically significant differences both in concept and skill parts between the British and Taiwanese groups with the latter having a higher score. The analysis of the students' responses to the skill section indicates that the superiority of Taiwanese students' procedural achievements over those of their British peers is because most of the former are able to apply algorithms to adding fractions far more successfully than the latter. Earlier, Hart  reported that around 30% of the British students in their study used an erroneous strategy (adding tops and bottoms, for example, 2/3 + 1/7 = 3/10) while adding fractions. This study also finds that nearly the same percentage of the British group remained using this erroneous strategy to add fractions as Hart found in 1981. The study also provides evidence to show that students' understanding of fractions is confused and incomplete, even those who are successfully able to perform operations. More research is needed to be done to help students make sense of the operations and eventually attain computational competence with meaningful grounding in the domain of fractions.
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.
Marshall, J. A.; Castillo, A. J.; Cardenas, M. B.
Our objective is to devise a mechanism to characterize and assess upper division and graduate student thinking in hydrology. We accomplish this through development and testing of an assessment tool for a physical hydrology class. The instrument was piloted in two sections of a physical hydrology course. Students were asked to respond to two questions that probed understanding and one question that assessed their ability to apply their knowledge, both prior to and after the course. Student and expert responses to the questions were classified into broad categories to develop a rubric to score responses. Using the rubric, three researchers independently blind-coded the full set of pre- and post-artifacts, resulting in 89% inter-rater agreement on the pre-tests and 83% agreement on the post-tests. The majority of responses made by students at the beginning of the class were characterized as showing only recognition of hydrology concepts from a non-physical perspective; post surveys indicated that the majority had moved to a basic understanding of physical processes, with some students achieving expert understanding. Our study has limitations, including the small number of participants who were all from one institution and the fact that the rubric was still under development. Nevertheless, the high inter-rater agreement from a group of experts indicates that the process we undertook is potentially useful for assessment of learning and understanding physical hydrology.
Hu, Dehui; Rebello, N. Sanjay
This study focuses on students’ use of the mathematical concept of differentials in physics problem solving. For instance, in electrostatics, students need to set up an integral to find the electric field due to a charged bar, an activity that involves the application of mathematical differentials (e.g., dr, dq). In this paper we aim to explore students’ reasoning about the differential concept in physics problems. We conducted group teaching or learning interviews with 13 engineering students enrolled in a second-semester calculus-based physics course. We amalgamated two frameworks—the resources framework and the conceptual metaphor framework—to analyze students’ reasoning about differential concept. Categorizing the mathematical resources involved in students’ mathematical thinking in physics provides us deeper insights into how students use mathematics in physics. Identifying the conceptual metaphors in students’ discourse illustrates the role of concrete experiential notions in students’ construction of mathematical reasoning. These two frameworks serve different purposes, and we illustrate how they can be pieced together to provide a better understanding of students’ mathematical thinking in physics.
Ozmen, Haluk; Demircioglu, Hulya; Demircioglu, Gokhan
This paper aims to determine the effect of conceptual change texts accompanied with computer animations on 11th grade students' understanding and alternative conceptions related to chemical bonding. One experimental group (EG; N = 28) and one comparison group (CG; N = 30) were used in the study. While the comparison group taught traditional…
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
Gilbert Ryle's (1949) and Ludwig Wittgenstein's (1953; 1958; 1974/78) conceptual analyses of verbal understanding are presented. For Ryle, the term understanding signifies simultaneously an acquired disposition and a behavioral episode. For Wittgenstein, it signifies simultaneously a skill and a criterial behavior. Both argued that episodes of understanding comprise heterogenious classes of behaviors, and that each member of such a class is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition of understanding. Next, an approach integrating the analyses of Ryle and Wittgenstein with that of Skinner is presented. Lastly, it is argued that this integrated analysis adequately counters Parrott's (1984) argument that understanding, for Skinner, is potential behavior and not an event.
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…
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…
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…
Aydeniz, Mehmet; Dogan, Alev
This study examines the impact of argumentation on pre-service science teachers' (PST) conceptual understanding of chemical equilibrium. The sample consisted of 57 first-year PSTs enrolled in a teacher education program in Turkey. Thirty two of the 57 PSTs who participated in this study were in the experimental group and 25 in the control group.…
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,…
Cai, Yuzhuo; Pinheiro, Rómulo; Geschwind, Lars; Aarrevaara, Timo
This paper tries to develop a conceptual framework for a comprehensive understanding of the merger process, which is regarded as a matter of institutionalization of organizational innovation. In the framework, a number of factors affecting merger process or institutionalization of merger are identified, such as those related to environmental…
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…
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,…
Kumar, David Devraj; Thomas, P. V.; Morris, John D.; Tobias, Karen M.; Baker, Mary; Jermanovich, Trudy
This study examined the impact of computer simulation and supported science learning on a teacher's understanding and conceptual knowledge of current electricity. Pre/Post tests were used to measure the teachers' concept attainment. Overall, there was a significant and large knowledge difference effect from Pre to Post test. Two interesting…
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…
Golden, Barry W.
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
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…
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…
Taskin, Vahide; Bernholt, Sascha
The fluent use of the chemical language is a major tool for successfully passing chemistry courses at school or university as well as for working as a chemist, since chemical formulae are both a descriptive and a heuristic tool. However, numerous studies have revealed remarkable difficulties of students with chemical formulae both at school and at university. Although analysed for decades, current studies and practical experiences indicate that the misinterpretation of symbolic representations by students is still an ongoing problem. This review intends not only to summarize but also to categorize students' problems and difficulties when dealing with chemical formulae as reported in empirical studies. For this purpose, two categories of descriptive character were deduced from the empirical data: the type of chemical formulae and the operational activities that were required in the tasks of the studies. All in all, 38 articles were analysed on the basis of these categories. Students' problems and difficulties are then reflected based on three main problem areas: language-based problems, problems due to conceptual understanding, and problems due to inadequate selection and interpretation of formulae. These three areas call for a broader perspective in the interpretation of students' problems and thus lead to a discussion of implications for further research and changes in teaching practice.
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
Speth, Elena Bray; 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.
Ayman, Umut; Serim, Mehmet Cenk
It has been an ongoing concern among academicians teaching social sciences to develop a better methodology to ease understanding of students. Since verbal emphasis is at the core of the concepts within such disciplines it has been observed that the adequate or desired level of conceptual understanding of the students to transforms the theories…
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 phenomenographic investigation on how students understand class diagrams, Unified Modeling Language (UML) symbols, and relations to object-oriented (OO) concepts. The informants were 20 Computer Science students from four different universities in Sweden. The results show qualitatively different ways to understand and describe UML class diagrams and the "diamond symbols" representing aggregation and composition. The purpose of class diagrams was understood in a varied way, from describing it as a documentation to a more advanced view related to communication. The descriptions of class diagrams varied from seeing them as a specification of classes to a more advanced view, where they were described to show hierarchic structures of classes and relations. The diamond symbols were seen as "relations" and a more advanced way was seeing the white and the black diamonds as different symbols for aggregation and composition. As a consequence of the results, it is recommended that UML should be adopted in courses. It is briefly indicated how the phenomenographic results in combination with variation theory can be used by teachers to enhance students' possibilities to reach advanced understanding of phenomena related to UML class diagrams. Moreover, it is recommended that teachers should put more effort in assessing skills in proper usage of the basic symbols and models and students should be provided with opportunities to practise collaborative design, e.g. using whiteboards.
Barlia, Lily; Beeth, Michael E.
This study investigated motivational factors that are related to engaging in conceptual change learning. While previous studies have recognized the resistance of students' scientific conceptions to change, few have investigated the role that non-cognitive factors might play when students are exposed to conceptual change instruction. In this study,…
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…
Lee, Chin-Quen; She, Hsiao-Ching
This article reports research from a 3 year digital learning project to unite conceptual change and scientific reasoning in the learning unit of combustion. One group of students had completed the course combining conceptual change and scientific reasoning. The other group of students received conventional instruction. In addition to the…
Treagust, David F.; Smith, Clifton L.
Examined are tenth-grade Western Australian students' conceptual knowledge of gravity and the motion of the planets. Students were interviewed with seven cards, and a four-item diagnostic test based on the interview data on the first four cards was developed. A total of 113 students' responses to the test are summarized. (YP)
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…
Thompson, John; Christensen, Warren; Mountcastle, Donald
In work on student understanding of concepts in advanced thermal physics, we are exploring student understanding of the mathematics required for productive reasoning about the physics. By analysis of student use of mathematics in responses to conceptual physics questions, as well as analogous math questions stripped of physical meaning, we find evidence that students often enter upper-level physics courses lacking the assumed prerequisite mathematics knowledge and/or the ability to apply it productively in a physics context. Our focus is in two main areas: interpretation of P-V diagrams, requiring an understanding of integration, and material properties and the Maxwell relations, involving partial differentiation. We have also assessed these mathematical concepts among students in multivariable calculus. Calculus results support the findings among physics students: some observed difficulties are not just with transfer of math knowledge to physics contexts, but seem to have origins in the understanding of the math concepts themselves.
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").
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 evolutionary biology. Thus, any student that wants to master these subjects must have a good understanding of geological time. Despite its critical importance, there has been very little attention given to geological time by science education researchers. Of the work that has been done, much of it ignores the cognitive basis for students' understanding of geological time. This work addresses this gap by presenting a validation study for a new instrument - the GeoTAT (Geological Time Aptitude Test). Consisting of a series of open puzzles, the GeoTAT tested the subjects' ability to reconstruct and represent the transformation in time of a series of geological structures. Montagnero (1992, 1996) terms this ability diachronic thinking. This instrument was distributed to a population of 285 junior and senior high school students with no background in geology, as well as 58 high school students majoring in geology. A comparison of the high school (grades 11-12) geology and non-geology majors indicated that the former group held a significant advantage over the latter in solving problems involving diachronic thinking. This relationship was especially strengthened by the second year of geological study (grade 12), with the key factor in this improvement being exposure to fieldwork. Fieldwork both improved the subjects' ability in understanding the 3-D factors influencing temporal organization, as well as providing them with experience in learning about the types of evidence that are critical in reconstructing a transformational sequence.
The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate whether or not informational writing in the science curriculum would impact fifth grade students' science achievement and conceptual understanding. The population of this study came from a metropolitan school district in the state of Georgia for school year 2012-2013. The quantitative data…
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…
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…
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…