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African Journal of Chemical Education

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A diagnostic assessment of eighth grade students’ and their teachers’ misconceptions about basic chemical concepts

A Lemma

Abstract


Even though many students at all levels struggle to learn chemistry and feel its exact essence, they are often unsuccessful. In this regard, most studies identified that the key cause of such failure to succeed especially in post primary and college education is formations of misconceptions towards basic chemistry/science concepts from the very beginning in primary education. However, what these studies couldn’t exactly figure out is all about the possible source and cause of such misconceptions. Hence, in this study, it was aimed to diagnose both teachers’ and students’ misconceptions about five basic chemistry concepts (particulate nature of matter, physical state of matter, distinguishing differences of chemical and physical changes, phase changes and stoichiometry) and to examine the relevance and consistency of areas and intensity of students’ misconceptions with that of their teachers. As a result, a survey research method comprising of multi-tier chemistry misconception test (MTCMT) and an interview as data gathering instruments were employed by which eighth grade students and chemistry/science teachers from four second cycle primary schools found in Mettu Administrative Town were purposely selected as target populations. In the mean time, the MTCMT was  administered for 64 students and 4 teachers as a pilot test, for 192 students and 6 teachers as a final version, and 32 students were finally interviewed to get detail information on their existing conception. As a result, many set of suspected and new misconceptions were found, and finally from the Pearson’s correlation, it was found that 90% of students’ misconceptions has a significant correlation with teachers misconceptions implying that teachers are responsible for most (90%) of their students’ misconceptions.

[AJCE, 3(1), January 2013]




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