Using Systemic Problem Solving (SPS) to Assess Student Achievement in Chemistry

  • AFM Fahmy
  • JJ Lagowski


This paper focuses on the uses of systemic problem solving in chemistry at the tertiary level. Traditional problem solving (TPS) is a useful tool to help teachers examine recall of information, comprehension, and application. However, systemic problem solving (SPS) can challenge students and probe higher cognitive skills like analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Also, systemic problem solving (SPS) helps students to connect chemistry concepts, and facts and covers a wide range of intended learning outcomes (ILO,s). As an example, the type of chemical bonding in compounds, molecular structure, and their relations to stereochemistry, reflected on certain physical properties (e.g., dipole moment, IR, UV, NMR, MS,…), as well as chemical properties. So, by using SPS we assess the student achievement in three systemic levels of learning chemistry: the macro (properties, and reactions), the sub-micro (atoms, molecules, and molecular structure), and the representational (symbols, formulas, equations). In this issue we illustrate two examples on the uses of systemics in chemistry problems and their solutions.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2227-5835