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Students’ conceptions of ionisation energy: A cross-cultural study
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Tan, K. C. D., Taber, K. S., Liu, X., Coll, R. K., Lorenzo, M., Li, J., ... & Chia, L. S. (2008). Students’ conceptions of ionisation energy: A cross‐cultural study. International Journal of Science Education, 30(2), 263-283.
Previous studies have indicated that A-level students in the UK and Singapore have difficulty learning the topic of ionisation energy. A two-tier multiple-choice instrument developed in Singapore in an earlier study, the Ionisation Energy Diagnostic Instrument, was administered to A-level students in the UK, advanced placement high school students in the USA, and first-year university students in China, New Zealand and Spain to determine if the students from different countries and educational systems had similar conceptions and difficulties as the students in Singapore with the concepts assessed in the instrument. The results showed that, in general, the students in all six samples had similar alternative conceptions which were grouped under the categories of octet rule framework, stable fully-filled and half-filled sub-shells conceptions and conservation of force thinking. The students also resorted to relation-based thinking when answering items involving the trend of ionisation energies across Period 3. Implications for teaching and further research are discussed.
This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in International Journal of Science Education. The published version is available online at
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