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Ghanaian senior high school science students’ conceptions about change of state of matter

Godwin Kwame Aboagye
Kwaku Darko Amponsah
Emmanuel Osuae Graham


The article was based on the assertion that students’ conceptions greatly influence the extent to which they grasp concepts. Based on this claim, this study sought to examine students’ concepts and the reasons associated with learners’ alternative conceptions relative to change of state of matter. This study employed the survey design hinged on retrospective and prospective paradigms. A sample of 240 final year (Form 3) science students were randomly selected from five senior high schools located within the Cape Coast Metropolitan area, Ghana to participate in this research. The findings revealed that about three-quarters of the students held varied alternative conceptions on change of state of matter. Additionally, the results indicated that a number of reasons underpin why learners hold alternative conceptions of change of state of matter. For instance, students hold the alternative conception that temperature changes during phase transition and are also unable to interpret the numerical representation of the change of state of matter. It was, therefore, recommended that teachers should develop activities aimed at leading students to the development of scientifically correct conceptions thereby helping them correct their alternative conceptions.

Key Words: Alternative conceptions; change of state of matter; correct conception; latent heat; senior high school students