students in his Physics class had memorized equations and problem-solving skills, butperformed poorly on tests of conceptual understanding. Nakhleh
conducted studies onsixty students in an introductory course for chemistry majors. In an exam which paired analgorithmic problem with a conceptual question on the same topic, only 49% of thosestudents classified as having high algorithmic ability were able to answer the parallelconceptual question. Thus, in our role as teachers, besides offering students informationand helpful examples, we must also guide them on the reasoning processes that lead toalgorithms and conceptual generalizations. In many cases students have developed anability to provide correct solutions to exam problems and questions most of the time, notso much via correct reasoning and conceptual understanding, but rather because theyhave either come up with generalizations or are familiar with the often-featured questions.This can have huge implications when they move on to further learning, as the lack of anappropriate understanding of fundamental concepts from the beginning of their studiescan interfere with subsequent learning.Students’ misconceptions and learning difficulties in science have been an active area of research for the past couple of decades.
Most of the work dealing with students’misunderstandings, learning difficulties, and misconceptions in Chemistry has beenfocused on relatively “classical” examples, such as the mole concept
and chemical equilibrium
. In this paper, the misconceptions andlearning difficulties that students have for ‘A’ level Organic Chemistry are investigatedand presented. Traditionally, organic chemistry has been thought of as too difficult forbeginners, and interviews with students as they learn the topic seems to corroborate thisidea. Due to the lack of curriculum time and the students’ lack of sufficient background inorganic chemistry (from secondary school), teachers often resort to providing studentswith generalizations and solutions to problems with little elaboration.
1) SurveysDuring the department’s weekly professional sharing session, a group of Chemistryteachers gathered to discuss possible misconceptions that students may have in Organic