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Teh, Y. L., Riley, J. P., & Chia, L. S. (2006). An exploratory study of tertiary chemistry students’ conceptual knowledge. In Y. J. Lee, A. L. Tan, & B. T. Ho (Eds.), Proceedings of ISEC 2006: Science education: What works [CD-ROM] (pp. 884-893). National Institute of Education (Singapore).
This study explored the conceptual knowledge of 1st year students majoring in chemistry from one of the universities in Singapore. In accord with the theoretical background, the aims of this preliminary study are to explore (i) the level of students’ conceptual knowledge in basic chemistry, (ii) how classroom interaction and discussion sequence could help, and (iii) how questions can be used effectively in improving students’ conceptual understanding; specifically in the areas related to chemical bonding and molecular structures. A pre-test was administered before any instruction was given to measure the subjects’ prior knowledge. A post-test was conducted after students experienced one of three different instructional sequences. The three instructional methods consisted of group discussion, instructor’s explanation and guiding questions. The questions used in pre- and post-tests were all conceptual questions. The results indicated that subjects were generally weaker in concepts leading to a particular molecular structure. Statistical analysis revealed little correlation between the module grades and concept test results. The performance of female and male students was also comparable. The three different instructional methods showed some impact in improving
students’ conceptual understandings but the results collected were not statistically significant.
This paper was presented at the International Science Education Conference (ISEC) 2006, held in Singapore from 22 - 24 Nov 2006.
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