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January 2005 ISSN 1109-4028

Volume 6, Issue No 1 Pages 1– 63

Chemistry Education Research and Practice

Published quarterly by The Royal Society of Chemistry

Chemistry Education Research and Practice
January 2005 ISSN 1109-4028 Contents Volume 6, Issue No 1 Pages 1-63

Papers Factors related to observed attitude change toward learning chemistry among university students...............................................................................................................................1-18 C. Anders R Berg Special section Teaching and learning acids and bases Textbooks’ and teachers’ understanding of acid-base models used in chemistry teaching...........................................................................................................19-35 Michal Drechsler and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt Conceptual change achieved through a new teaching program on acids and bases.................................................................................................................36-51 Gökhan Demircioğlu, Alipaşa Ayas and Hülya Demircioğlu Traditional and computer-assisted learning in teaching acids and bases..................52-63 Inci Morgil, Soner Yavuz, Özge Özyalçin Oskay and Seçil Arda


Chemistry Education Research and Practice
The journals, University Chemistry Education, published by The Royal Society of Chemistry, ( and Chemistry Education Research and Practice, published from the University of Ioannina, ( have merged with effect from January 1st 2005. The new, fully electronic journal is published by The Royal Society of Chemistry under the title: Chemistry Education Research and Practice, and it will continue to be available free of charge on the Internet. There are four issues per year. The new journal is edited by Georgios Tsaparlis ( and Stephen Breuer ( and intends to maintain the high standards set by its predecessors. Its editorial policy will be the following. ’Chemistry Education Research and Practice’ is the journal for teachers, researchers and other practitioners in chemical education. It is the place to publish papers on: ● research, and reviews of research in chemical education; ● effective practice in the teaching of chemistry; ● in depth analyses of issues of direct relevance to chemical education Contributions can take the form of full papers, preliminary communications, perspectives on methodological and other issues of research and/or practice, reviews, letters relating to articles published and other issues, and brief reports on new and original approaches to the teaching of a specific topic or concept. The new journal welcomes contributions of the type described above; these should be sent to

Chemistry Education Research and Practice Editorial Board: Norman Reid (Chair. UK) Patrick Bailey (UK). George Bodner. (USA) Stephen Breuer (UK) Onno de Jong (Netherlands) Alex Johnstone (UK) Bernd Ralle (Germany) Georgios Tsaparlis (Greece) International Advisory Panel Liberato Cardellini (Italy) Peter Childs (Ireland) Jan van Driel (Netherlands) Michael Gagan (UK) Lászlo Szepes (Hungary) Iwona Maciejowska (Poland) Peter Mahaffy (Canada) Mansoor Niaz (Venezuela) Arlene Russell (USA) Keith Taber (UK) David Treagust (Australia) Uri Zoller (Israel) .

preferably in Word for Windows format. four times a year. . or directly to the editors: Stephen Breuer at s. with 1"/ 2. preliminary or to Georgios Tsaparlis (gtseper@cc. electronically. researchers and other practitioners in chemical education. unjustified. It is the place to publish papers on: ● ● ● research. 1. in depth analyses of issues of direct relevance to chemical education Contributions can take the form of full papers. ranged left and not hyphenated. Submitted contributions are expected to fall into one of several categories (listed above). effective practice in the teaching of chemistry.Chemistry Education Research and Practice Guidelines for Authors Submission of contributions Chemistry Education Research and Practice (CERP) is the journal for teachers.5 cm margins. and brief reports on new and original approaches to the teaching of a specific topic or concept. Bold or italic text and not upper case letters should be used for emphasis. tables.uoi. letters relating to articles published and other issues. All nomenclature and units should comply with IUPAC Any associated diagrams should be attached in JPG or GIF format. by The Royal Society of Chemistry. Authors are invited to suggest the category into which the work should best fit. Text should be typed in 12pt Times New Roman (or similar). Presentation should be uniform throughout the article. Submissions should be made by e-mail as a file attachment to cerp@rsc. Tables and figures should be numbered consecutively as they are referred to in the text (use a separate sequence of numbers for tables and for figures). and reviews of research in chemical education. The original contribution should be submitted electronically. double-spaced.breuer@lancaster. 2. A word count (excluding references. Always use an appropriate mix of upper and lower case letters: do not type words in uppercase letters either in the text or in headings. 3. Each should have an informative title and may have a legend. if possible. legends etc) should be included at the end of the document. but the editors reserve the right to assign it to a different category if that seems appropriate. It is published free of charge. perspectives on methodological and other issues of research and/or practice.

The decision of the Editors on 5. Title of the book italicized. Volume no. The introduction should set the context for the work to be described. Journal of Chemical Education. subheadings and subsub-headings. and Freyberg P. A subjective evaluation may be acceptable. and Author C. Place of publication. • authors’ names and affiliation. include references to previous related work. Structures should. full postal address and e-mail. References should be given by the name of the author (or the first author. 794-96. In case of a disagreement a third referee will be consulted. Journal Articles: Author A. Heinemann. Author B. . Footnotes should be generally avoided and important additional information may be referenced and included in the reference list. A concluding section (which need not be headed conclusion) will include an evaluation of the extent to which educational objectives have been met. inclusive page numbers. and Moellenberg W. then it should be given as Smith 2001a. if more than one). to indicate the associated addresses).Equations should be written into the text using the word processing program. Evaluation of three instructional methods for teaching general chemistry. Sections should not be numbered. Title of the article in Roman type. b. etc. (year). and superscript a. The formatting of references should follow the following practice: Books and Special Publications: Author A. For example: Osborne R. • an abstract of not more than 200 words. etc.. All contributions submitted will be refereed anonymously by two independent referees. • keywords identifying the main topics covered in the paper Wherever possible articles should be subsectioned with headings. 6.. and outline the educational objectives. followed by the year of publication. Jackman L. Smith 2001b.. page no.. (1987). Learning in science: the implication of children’s science. (1985). (year). either as normal text or using the program’s equation facility.. (in the case of multiauthored papers. Publisher. use an asterisk to indicate one author for correspondence. Full Name of the Journal Italicised. 4. if applicable. be treated as a figure and not incorporated into text. 64. comprising: • an informative title. in Bold. wherever possible.E. Do not go lower than sub-sub-headings. London. A title page must be provided. 7. If an author has more than one reference from the same year.

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affected both groups. attending an introductory chemistry course and displaying large changes in attitude toward learning chemistry were identified through questionnaires about attitudes before and after the course.. The six students were interviewed. university chemistry. Kemihuset. 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . Res. University students’ attitude towards learning chemistry is the focus of this Received 11 November 2004. These students were further interviewed about their chemistry course. while students with negative attitude changes showed an opposite pattern. Introduction If university teachers are asked. while a negative change was linked to less motivated behaviour. 2000) have been investigated by many educational researchers. Berg Chemical Education Research and Development. (b) the effect of the Chemistry Education Research and Practice. [Chem. were selected to highlight the contrast between students. A positive attitude change was associated with evidence of motivated behaviour. they usually mention traits such as attitude. 1-18] Keywords: attitude change. and of motivation (Covington. six students who displayed major attitude changes were identified through a pre. important aspects that this study touched upon were: (a) the relationship between epistemological beliefs.umu. questions about the importance of attitude (Dalgety et al. Sweden. e-mail Anders. related. Those with largest attitude changes. in order to determine factors associated with their positive or negative change in attitude and its relation to motivation and contextual factors. Similarly. this indicates a possibility for changes in educational setting beneficial to all students. To gain insight in what could influence changes in attitude. 2005. and learning. motivation.Berg@chem.. 6 (1). 90187. Department of Chemistry. Anders R. Pract. and genuine interest. Students addressed similar factors in the educational setting. Since the same factors. 6 (1).and post-course attitude questionnaire administered to sixty-six first-year university chemistry students. motivation. accepted 12 January 2005 Abstract: To gain insight into factors associated with changes in attitude toward learning chemistry. six first-year university students. Umeå. students’ perceived level of teacher empathy for their efforts at chemistry learning. The study intended to address the following two research questions: What factors are related to students’ shift in attitude toward learning in a university chemistry context? What is the relative significance of the factors thus identified? Two additional. Educ. but students with positive attitude changes exhibited fewer negative views of educational factors. motivation. descriptions of their one-semester chemistry course experiences were analyzed to identify factors associated with their change in attitude. Umeå Universitet.Educational research Factors related to observed attitude change toward learning chemistry among university students C. what is the most important student characteristic associated with successful studies. both positive and negative. 2005. 2003).

These are treated in Appendixes 1 and 2 respectively. 2003). Berg 2 educational setting on students’ attitudes. Students were majoring in chemistry.C. it is informative to investigate those students in whom marked attitude change has occurred. Moore. and data were collected from sixty-six of them. Multiplicity (Perry positions 3-4) represents a modification of dualism. The main areas of chemistry (general.. all the latter in smaller groups with 12-15 students. Finster adopted the Perry scheme in the context of chemical education and presented examples of how a student’s attitude position could affect how the roles of instructor. organic. laboratory activities. Perry developed a theory of intellectual and ethical development among college students. including the six students (three men. physical and biochemistry) were covered in the course. assessment. 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry .. 1984. To understand attitude change. three women) interviewed in-depth. and laboratory activities are viewed. and laboratory activities. The role of a learner is to find knowledge and also to think for oneself. and also tutorials. For an extensive overview of Perry’s work and subsequent research. usually condensed into four sequential categories (Fitch et al. evaluation. Almost all. and applied to science education (Mackenzie et al. that everything is relative and context-bound. with few right or wrong answers. analyzing student attitudes towards learning in terms of views of knowledge.and post-attitude questionnaire administered to the sixty-six students. Perry’s work was later modified (Fitch. biology. The learner is an active maker of meaning within a context. chemical engineering. inorganic. which the learner could acquire. Commitment within relativism (Perry positions 7-9) mainly concerns elaboration of identity and does not refer to cognitive change. 1984. 1994). 6 (1). were first-year students. Contextual relativism (Perry positions 5-6) represents a major shift in perspective from a world with many exceptions to right or wrong. Very few undergraduate students reach the Perry positions 7-9 (Moore. 2005. Anders R. Components of the schedule were whole-group lectures. Experimental design Sample and method This investigation was completed during a 20-week. full-time introductory university chemistry course. During the course students changed lecturers and lesson/laboratory instructors for each area of chemistry. He portrayed a developmental process and not static personality traits. Forms of Intellectual and Ethical Development During the College Years: A Scheme. This paper follows this tradition. six students displaying such changes were identified through a pre. with the possible inclusion of ‘not yet known’. and described nine stages. Dualism (Perry positions 1-2) is characterized by a dualistic right or wrong view of the world—authorities supposedly know the truth. 1991). seminars. Finster. To gain insight in what could influence changes in attitude toward learning chemistry. Perry’s theory of intellectual and ethical development of college students A considerable part of theoretical thinking on the development of student attitudes originates from William Perry’s book. Seventy-two students attended the course. in addition to right or wrong. 1994). to the opposite view. see Hofer and Pintrich (1997). and teacher training. and perceptions of the roles of instructor and student. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. which generally is a long-term process. It thus has a broader view regarding both the attitude object and attitudes than is common in most science education research. or positions. The role of the student is to learn the right answers. biological engineering.

C. (Coll et al. at the end of the course. both views of each item were described with a statement. 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . To avoid the possibility of ambiguity. 2003). The six interviewed students showed a mixed picture of course results as measured by examination scores and completed laboratory reports.. 2003). 2003). Anders R. The instrument consists of thirty-four statements representing two viewpoints of the attitude object (Reid.. As an example. Figure 1. Mackenzie et al. The three students with positive attitude shifts showed results above average and also above the three students showing negative attitude shift. the statement “Learning all the material covered in lectures should be enough to pass the course “could prompt the response disagree from two students Chemistry Education Research and Practice. The examples from the questionnaire and the interview quotations were all translated from Swedish. The attitude questionnaire is based on work by Perry (1970) and subsequent applications made in chemistry (Finster. In-depth interviews with 6 students showing m ajor attitude changes 1 1 Pre and po st questionnaire 66 students 1 2 App lying Pin trich mo del for d eeper analysis of interviews 1 3 4 5 Ch ang es in attitude and its relation to mo tivation and contextual factors for 6 students show ing m ajor attitude changes. 1991. 2003). 1999. Berg 3 The students selected for the interviews were those displaying the largest pre/post changes in attitudes toward learning.. the same questionnaire was distributed again.. All the teaching and all parts of this investigation were carried out in Swedish.. Another chemistry attitudes and experiences questionnaire has been developed by Dalgety et al. An overview of the experimental design is presented in Figure 1. 2002. students’ perception of their own role. of assessment and of laboratory activities. the role of the teacher. 6 (1). The questionnaire was designed to assess the attitudes of students towards chemistry learning. a questionnaire was distributed and 20 weeks later. and constitutes a further development of other extant questionnaires (Henderleiter et al. Course results and the study program were not criteria for selection but a brief description is presented below. Berg et al. Ch ang e in”attitude” Preliminary analysis of interv iew s = main fo cus of study Questionnaire for measuring attitude towards learning During the second day of the course. as assessed by the questionnaire (see below) and whom this researcher was able to contact. 2005. The three students with negative shifts also showed about average results in the course. Overview of the experimental design. but was not used in this work. It addressed students’ view of knowledge. Three students initially selected for interviews could not be reached after the end of the course. Dalgety et al.

Some illustrative items from the attitude questionnaire. Undecided. In our research group. since the statements are designed to assess views of knowledge. assessment and laboratory activities.C. 19 I believe that I best learn the theory illustrated in the lab by planning and completing the experiment myself. 3 I think that lecturers should avoid including course material that is difficult for the students.g.” With the two-sided format. Each statement pair in the current attitude instrument characterizes fully reasonable views. each statement pair ideally characterizes “two different positions from which a person views his world. Anders R. this possibility for ambiguity was avoided. N A SA Learning the material covered in the lectures is not enough to pass a course. The response categories were. 2001). data from approximately 1000 students in >10 groups collected over four years are available for analysis.” See Table 1 for illustrative items. SA A 1 Learning the material covered in the lectures should be enough to pass a course. Another way to describe this is that the first principal component measures the underlying basic attitude that manifests itself in the answers to questionnaire items. PCA is a multivariate technique in which several related variables (in this case questionnaire items) are transformed into a smaller set of uncorrelated variables. I think that lecturers should include difficult course material to provide a challenge for the students. To perform laboratory experiments with real samples is too time consuming and complicated to be worth the effort. within that principal component. Agree. “I strongly disagree since you should know much more” and “I strongly disagree since it is enough to know part of what has been covered in lectures. since individual student attitude shifts. 30 It is important to include working with real samples e. Strongly Agree. with no viewpoint obviously preferred over the other. ores or food during laboratory work even if it takes more time and is more complicated. the first principal component describes attitude towards learning. PCA resembles factor analysis (FA).. The first principal component describes as much as possible variability within the data. principal component analysis (Eriksson et al. 6 (1). I believe that I best learn the theory illustrated in the lab if there are explicit instructions showing how the experiment should be designed and completed. can be calculated. whereas FA explains correlation and estimates are not unique (Jackson. the first principal component largely covers what was intended to measure by the items. Construct validity for the instrument is suggested by the fact that more than fifty interviews have been conducted where the Chemistry Education Research and Practice. principal components. 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . Table 1. Within groups a stable first principal component can be found with loadings from items showing a common pattern. Agree. Strongly Agree. If the questionnaire is properly designed. The main difference is that PCA explains variability and has a unique solution. was conducted using PCA. Analysis of responses from the attitude questionnaire. 2005. Step 1 in Figure 1. PCA was used in the analysis since it is possible to position each student within the model described by the principal component. perception of the role of the instructor and student. This possibility was important in selecting students for interviews. but is not the same as FA. 1991). To paraphrase Perry (1970). Berg 4 holding very different views. In this study.

Anders R. 1970. 2001). “could you try to think what made the course interesting?” and. rich information (Perry.the majority of descriptors falling into the categories contextual factors and motivated behaviour. plans for the future. only that the student’s attitude had changed considerably. The interviews As described above. QMA (qualitative media analyzer) (Skou. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. the interviewer tried to explore the student’s study methods. The descriptors were found to fit well into Pintrich’s model (1994). mentioned that “the reason I found the course interesting was lectures by X. or lower position. These passages were given short descriptions such as “experienced lack of time.)? 2 Could you describe your experiences during this semester of chemistry studies? 3 What further thoughts do you have about what has been said in Parts 1 and 2 of this interview? Each student was free to select topics to talk about during the interview. The interviewer did not know the direction of shift of each student. Hofer et al. Interviews were chosen as a means to obtain detailed. at both the beginning and end of course and a PCA model was fitted. if needed. 2005.vs. These students’ attitude shift in the first principal component was calculated. and his/her experiences of the teaching and laboratory work.. and several into internal factors (Table 2). secondary education... six students. Hofer. and became a starting point for the second stage of analysis. the intention was to highlight important aspects of student attitudes towards learning. 6 (1). It has also been shown that learning outcome (defined as frequency and level of students’ spontaneous use of chemical knowledge) from pre-lab activity and cognitive focus during laboratory work are affected by the student’s position in the first principal component (Winberg et al. Markings and descriptions were completed with a computer program.” “well prepared before laboratory work. 1997. If the student. Attitude questionnaires were collected from the sixty-six students of the sample. etc. interview passages containing information judged as relevant were marked.” “appreciated working with friends. LoPos. (A colleague performed the translation of coded identities into names. or what?” Analysis of interviews was completed in four stages. During the first stage. The 1-2 hour interviews were quite open. see Figure 2. working experiences. Nevertheless. 2003). Berg 5 interviewer did not know the students’ position beforehand (the interviewer only knew that students represented a relatively high or low attitude position) but after the interview the interviewer could conclude that the student held a higher position.” and “engaged teacher”. are shown in Figure 2. In addition. eventually. showing major pre. since it was not known or decided beforehand what factors could be related to the attitude shift. for example. HiPos. 2004). Their attitude shifts. post-course shifts in attitudes toward learning chemistry (three with positive and three with negative shifts) were interviewed (Step 2 in Figure 1). always being consistent with the position indicated by the instrument (Berg et al. “was it something the lecturer did. Step 4 in Figure 1 . This preliminary analysis produced approximately 30 descriptors. 2001). how he did it.C. aimed at obtaining more systematic simple categories. This researcher conducted all the interviews 4-6 weeks after end of the course. compared to the whole group.” the answer was followed up with the question. also suggesting that the instrument assesses central aspects important for learning. 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry .) The interviews consisted of three main questions: 1 What is your background (previous education. Step 3 in Figure 1.

Individualistic . using categories from motivated behaviour and contextual factors.Electing to take another course in discipline . on the other hand.Working on course instead of leisure activity .Cooperative/Competitive 2) Value Components . after Pintrich (1994) (slightly modified).C. Table 3 and 4 summarize the total passages in different motivational and contextual categories. This analysis provides a Chemistry Education Research and Practice. she/he prepared for the next day’s laboratory exercise.Attributions .Personal interest 3) Instructional Methods 3) Affective Components . “Instead of studying (what the student had planned to do) I went jogging.Selecting discipline for a major or going on to graduate school or a career in area 2) Level of activity and Involvement . all marked passages were re-marked. Step 5 in Figure 1. what factors are related to students shift in attitude towards learning in a university chemistry context? But it could also provide information related to the second research question.Trying very hard . the passage was marked as choice behaviour positive. the total passages in different categories were summarized. 6 (1). what is the relative significance of the identified factors? A more in-depth analysis of the interviews is presented in the next section.Intrinsic/Extrinsic goals . The categories were tagged with positive or negative descriptions. Anders R.Learned helplessness . taking risks in expressing ideas . a student stated. If. for example.Thinking deeply.Maintaining effort on ’boring‘ tasks . Results The attitude shift data for all sixty-six students are presented in Figure 2.Asking questions.Other emotions (pride.High level of performance/achievement 3) Persistence Behaviour/Regulation of Effort . The third stage provided an overview of the data. If. This quantitative measure provides a partial answer to the first research question. use of learning strategies .Content/Product 1) Choice Behaviour . together with identification of the six students with major attitude changes who were chosen for further investigation.Studying effectively.Maintaining effort even when fatigued 2) Reward/Goal structures .Control beliefs . Berg 6 Table 2.” the passage was marked choice behaviour negative.Test anxiety . Model for student motivation. critically about material .Self-efficacy Motivated Behaviour Observable behaviours that can be used as indicators of motivation 1) Nature of Tasks . the student stated that rather than going to the cinema with friends. 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . Contextual Factors Factors influencing student motivation Internal Factors Beliefs and emotions assumed to mediate between context and behaviour 1) Expectancy Components .Task value .Self-worth . A more qualitative analysis was then conducted in the fourth stage where the interview data were summarized under subcategories within motivated behaviour and contextual factors. shame) 4) Instructor Behaviour During the third stage of analysis. 2005.Maintaining effort in face of difficulty . containing short summaries of each motivational and contextual subcategory.

5 -4 -3. Figure 2.C. while students with positive shifts showed seven such examples. Attitude shifts for student group (n = 66). p < 0. Attitude shift for the whole group and the six interviewed students Pre.5 0 0. This represents 92% of students who completed the entire course.17.5 2 2. since nuances and emphases offered by students could be captured.5 -1 S h ift -0. forty-three females and twenty-three males (Figure 2). and persistence (Table 3). Table 3. This group shift in the negative direction is interesting in itself. no examples of negative choices were found. but was not a focus of the present study.5 1 1. More passages that revealed less motivated behaviour were found among students with negative attitude shifts. Total number of passages within motivational categories Motivation category Students with positive shift Motivation positive Choice Activity Persistence 12 23 7 Motivation negative 0 2 5 Students with negative shift Motivation positive 3 20 3 Motivation negative 9 23 11 Chemistry Education Research and Practice. The six interviewed students with major attitude changes are found in the darkened bars. but students with positive shifts show higher frequencies in all three categories—choice. Anders R. The students showed a statistically significant shift toward the negative direction in principal component 1 (two sided paired t-test = 4. The main difference between the two groups was that students with negative shifts showed forty-three examples of lacking motivation. For students with positive shifts. 12 Num ber of students 10 8 6 4 2 0 -5 -4 .and post-course questionnaires were collected for sixty-six students. 2005.5 3 Numbers of passages in motivational and contextual categories For all six interviewed students positive examples of motivated behaviour were found.01). 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . activity.5 -3 -2. 6 (1). Berg 7 qualitative perspective to the research questions posed.5 -2 -1.

Used conscious study strategies. since contextual factors could be expected to cause a change in attitude. (2) Level of activity. More details are then presented under the three categories given by Pintrich (1994). Study strategies were teacher dependent. Table 4. Less persistent when encountering demanding tasks. More details are presented below from interviews of the six students showing major attitude changes that illustrate this overall picture. Data from the interviews are first presented in a condensed format in Table 5 where central themes expressed by students showing positive and negative attitude shifts are contrasted. Course involvement remained high. and Involvement. Positive opinions of context are found in both groups of students (Table 4). Table 5. Had good intentions that sometimes remained unfulfilled. The only major difference is that students with a positive attitude shift have twice as many passages concerning instructional methods. Anders R. 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . Motivated behaviour 1) Choice Behaviour Students with positive shift: central themes Attended all offered teaching and chose to study further chemistry Worked full time or more on course. Course involvement declined over time. Total number of passages within contextual categories. (1) Choice behaviour. Contextual category Students with positive shift Context positive Tasks Reward/Goal Instructional methods Instructor behaviour 12 10 26 12 Context negative 3 1 5 2 Students with negative shift Context positive 8 6 13 14 Context negative 20 12 29 12 Student motivational behaviour As summarized above. Students with negative shift: central themes Did not attend all offered teaching and chose to study no further chemistry Worked full time or less on course. Student reflections on motivational behaviour. Berg 8 Relations between attitude shifts and contextual factors are interesting to analyze. while a negative shift is linked to less-motivated behaviour. 2005. Persistent when encountering demanding tasks and studied hard even after failures. This group has more than five times as many coded passages in all four contextual categories than did students with positive shifts. a positive attitude shift is associated with more motivated behaviour. 6 (1). Students with negative shifts expressed negative views of context more frequently. 2) Level of Activity and Involvement 3) Persistence Behaviour/Regulation of Effort Chemistry Education Research and Practice. and (3) Persistence behaviour/Regulation of effort.C.

Some instances of great effort can be found.” By contrast. i. Berg 9 Choice behaviour Most of the six students made several positive choices before entering the university— e. All instructional activities. For example. Persistence behaviour / regulation of effort The observed pattern of student persistence and regulation of effort is complex.g. What is typical is that even though these students may have good intentions and understand the relevance of tasks. 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . In the group showing negative shifts some students talked about choosing leisure activities before intended studies: “I went skiing instead of studying during Christmas. However. The fact that they started studying chemistry at the university is an example of a positive choice. In the student group with negative shifts more examples of not attending offered chemistry activities are found. They were also more aware of why they did this: “This is the method (studying continuously and staying in phase with the course) I have developed during my years of study. they showed a willingness to continue studying even after failing an exam. including lectures and classes. However it is clear that all three students showing negative attitude shifts tended to lack persistence when encountering new tasks or course demands. (3) Perception of reward and goal structures. Data from the Chemistry Education Research and Practice. 6 (1).” “Usually I could not concentrate as long as I had planned. Two of the three students showing positive shifts have applied for more chemistry courses than is required in their undergraduate programmes.” The three students showing positive shifts displayed more persistence when encountering demanding tasks. For example. such as staying in phase with lectures. none. 2005.” One student showing a positive attitude shift explained his point by saying.C. the picture for students showing negative shifts was unclear. The three students with positive shifts participated in all or most instructional activities. are voluntary. one student found that the task of planning/preparing for laboratory activities took too much time. but it is clear that the three students with positive shifts used more conscious study strategies. studying subjects in upper secondary school to fulfil university admission requirements and taking extra secondary-school courses. “I’m not brilliant. Examples of elaborated and conscious study strategies can be found in both groups.” Two of three students with negative shifts explained that their involvement in the course had gradually declined over time.e. safety briefings and exams. but went jogging instead. in the group showing negative attitude shifts. “I will learn this even better. and (4) Perception of instructional methods. working nine hours to really understand a laboratory activity. “If you don’t have to study you don’t study.” Student contextual factors Students’ reasoning about contextual factors is presented under the four Pintrich (1994) categories: (1) Perception of instructor behaviour. one student with a negative attitude shift commenting on self-discipline/regulation and the role of the teacher argued. (2) Perception of tasks. while this was not found at all among students showing positive shifts.” Level of activity and involvement One possible measure of student involvement is the total time devoted to studies. but only one student made that claim in the group showing negative shifts. One of these students has elected to leave the program. but I’m rather stubborn and focused. apart from laboratory exercises. All three students showing positive shifts claimed that they studied 40 h/week or more. their persistence is low when encountering ‘fuzzy tasks’ (ill structured or ill formulated tasks) or “teachers just giving formulae. Anders R.

e. Less positive view of instructional methods. More details are then presented for each contextual factor. was found for two of three students with positive shifts. of demanding tasks. Anders R. One student clearly stated that she wanted to understand. but opposes course demands for self-regulated learning (i. Two specifically mentioned tutorials with broader and more open-ended questions as very useful for deeper processing of knowledge. and was very positive about the few connections that were made to biology. 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . or at least acceptance. 6 (1). Applications of chemistry (e. These critical views were most apparent for tasks that required self-regulated and more demanding learning. to biology) mentioned as important and interesting 2) Reward and Goal structures 3) Instructional Methods Possibilities to work collaboratively seen as positive. planning open laboratory activities and tutorials. 2005. Perception of tasks All three students with positive attitude shifts gave mainly positive views of tasks. 4) Instructor Behaviour Coherent descriptions of ‘good teachers’ and ‘bad teachers’. Generally positive view of instructional methods. preparing individual flow charts for laboratory activities). One student even commented with astonishment/self-surprise that she appreciated tasks without connection to biology. ’Bad teachers’ were described as the opposite. “I got on further in my knowledge (during tutorials). Among students with positive shifts. Both of these students pursued a major in biology. Good examination results viewed as encouraging. Berg 10 interviews are first presented in a condensed format in Table 6 where central themes expressed by students showing positive and negative attitude shifts are contrasted. One student with a negative shift clearly stated that he wants more tasks clearly connected to biology.g.g.e. Alternative explanations. Experienced lack of time during the course was prominent. Tasks requiring self regulated learning viewed as too demanding or time consuming.g. Task requiring self regulated learning viewed as acceptable or suitable. Table 6.Students’ reflections on contextual issues Contextual Factors 1) Nature of Tasks Students with positive shift: central views Appreciation or acceptance of task. The students with negative attitude shifts did not mention such tasks as something positive. students with positive attitude shifts appreciated or at least accepted most course tasks presented to them. To summarize. Applications of chemistry (e. Students with negative shift: central views More complex and critical views of tasks.C. As one student stated. Experienced lack of time during the course was less prominent. eagerness to answer questions. being available and showing an understanding that certain topics are hard to understand were appreciated traits. Chemistry Education Research and Practice.” The anticipation. to biology) not mentioned as important. this need for applications in biology was not expressed. Students with negative shifts expressed more complex and critical views.

C. Anders R. Berg


Perception of reward and goal structures Two students with negative attitude shifts and one with a positive shift described the possibilities of working together during laboratory activities and exercises as very positive; no student mentioned it as something negative. It is obvious that good examination results (sometimes described as better than expected) are very important for self-confidence. This was highlighted by five of six interviewed students. A student with positive shift, who had been very nervous before the first examination, commented: “I was one of the better ones in the exam and my self confidence grew”. Only one student with a negative shift didn’t describe growing self-confidence after passing exams—this student had not passed exams. Perception of instructional methods At a surface level, a continuum was observed in student perception of instructional methods, with three students showing positive shifts on one side and three showing negative shifts on the other. The student with the most positive shift concluded, “You (teachers and the department of chemistry) have done what I as a student could expect” in a passage where he reported that he attended and appreciated lectures, laboratory work, and exercises during the course. At the other end of the continuum, a student with negative shift characterized her impression of laboratory work as, “I just wanted it to end” and contrasted the demanding studies she experienced with other less-demanding studies. This student also stressed she experienced lack of time. Regarding ’lack of time‘, only one student with positive attitude shift mentioned this, while all three students with negative shifts, in some instances, claimed to have experienced lack of time. The possibility of asking questions and receiving answers was described as positive by all three students showing positive shift, while only one student with negative shift gave the same description. The lack of personal contact described by one student with negative shift could be viewed as an opposite experience, since the opportunity of asking questions is one type of personal contact. Perception of instructor behaviour The interviewed students devoted considerable attention to their teachers and their behaviour. They often spontaneously contrasted ‘good teachers’ with ‘bad teachers’. An example of this was a student who appreciated teachers who were able to give alternative explanations when she did not understand. She gave an example of the opposite: “he didn’t listen to what we wanted to (be clarified) but instead just said the same thing once more.” This way of describing instructor behaviour was used both by students showing negative and positive shifts (two of three in both groups). The descriptions of ‘good teachers’ were very similar within both groups. The students described ‘good teachers’ as: creating an atmosphere where it is accepted to ask questions; giving alternative explanations when students don’t understand; being ‘structured’, being available, and realizing that certain areas of chemistry are hard for students to understand. The student descriptions of ‘bad teachers’ also share many traits in common, such as: seeming to become angry when students ask questions; answering by saying “this is the way it is”, and seeming to “want to be somewhere else.”

Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 2005, 6 (1), 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry

C. Anders R. Berg


Summary of information found for the two research questions First research question: What factors are related to students’ shift in attitude toward learning in a university chemistry context? Evidence from interviews coinciding with Pintrichs’ model. The first step in analyzing the interview material resulted in approximately thirty categories, which included everything judged as relevant. During the next stage of analysis these categories were found to fit a model of motivation described by Pintrich (1994) (see Table 2). In Pintrichs’ model, contextual factors in conjunction with students’ internal factors (motivational beliefs and emotions) affect motivation, which can be seen in motivated behaviour. This model is, as Pintrich emphasizes, a simplification, since this relationship is also reciprocal. Information about internal factors generally absent. During analysis of the interviews using Pintrich’s categories, some passages fell into internal categories (e.g. self efficacy and task value), but these internal factors are not readily accessible—they are, as described, internal. An attempt was made, nevertheless, to describe information gained in this category. For two students, one with positive and one with negative shift, internal information was obtained, while the remaining interviews contained almost no information regarding internal factors. One way to understand this could be that students employing metacognition were able to give information on these internal factors during interviews, while those lacking metacognitive skills could not. This would be in accord with previous findings that the majority of college students fail to show metacognitive skills (Hofer et al., 1997). Contextual and motivational categories show clear relations to attitude change. The relation found between attitude shift and student motivation is that a positive attitude shift is associated with motivated behaviour while a negative shift is linked to less motivated behaviour. This is found for all three motivational categories, choice behaviour, level of activity and involvement, and persistence. The primary relationship found between attitude shift and contextual factors is that students with negative shifts give many more instances expressing negative views of context and also employ greater emphasis. This is found for all four categories, nature of tasks, reward and goal structures, instructional methods, and instructor behaviour. Students with positive attitude shift show essentially the opposite pattern with more instances and emphasis related to positive views of contextual factors. The descriptions of the semester showed a mixed picture. The finding of a mixed picture containing both negative and positive views expressed by students is perhaps not surprising, since interviewed students described one full semester of chemistry studies. During this semester they had encountered all main areas of chemistry and numerous different teachers. Although both groups displayed this mixed picture of experiences, what is most notable is that negative views of context and examples of less motivated behaviour are more frequent among those students with negative attitude shifts. The second research question: What is the relative significance of those identified factors? The interviewed students’ views of context are valuable since contextual factors could, at least partly, be an underlying cause of attitude change (Osborne et al., 2003). Evidence of
Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 2005, 6 (1), 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry

C. Anders R. Berg


motivated behaviour, on the other hand, could be viewed as confirming a positive attitude change. The difference is in the balance of experiences. The pattern of roughly as many positive views of context for both groups and many more negative views expressed by students with negative shifts (Table 4) indicates that the main difference is the balance between positive and negative experiences. For students with negative attitude shifts the balance tilted in a less favourable direction. This is especially pronounced for tasks and instructional methods where negative views were more than twice as frequent as were positive views. In contrast, the group with positive attitude shifts show at least three times more positive views of context compared to total negative views within all four categories. Good and bad teachers, consensus among students. Students with both positive and negative attitude shifts share essentially similar views of instructor behaviour. They speak frequently about their teachers with considerable emphasis suggesting that this is important to them. Good instructor behaviour is described by both groups as: eager to answer questions; being available and having an understanding that certain things are hard for students to understand. It is instructive to reflect upon what was not said about teachers. An example is that teachers’ knowledge in chemistry was never mentioned, even though students spoke considerably about their teachers. Within the category of reward and goal structures, students also agree that the opportunity to work collaboratively was appreciated and good examination results were viewed as encouraging. Tasks and instructional methods, disagreement among students. Regarding the nature of tasks and instructional methods, some discrepancies are worth noting. For tasks requiring more self-regulated learning, such as planning open experiments and tutorials, students with positive attitude shifts reveal greater acceptance, while students with negative attitude shifts are more reluctant to express positive views, even if they expressed an understanding of the relevance of such tasks. Experienced time constraint is another factor where views of the two groups differ. Students shifting negatively in attitudes generally reported more time constraints in their chemistry classes than did positive-shift students. Same factors but difference in experience. Regarding the relative significance of identified factors, it can be concluded that both groups spoke about similar factors, but the balance between positive and negative views differs considerably between groups. Students showing positive attitude shift exhibited few negative views of context, tilting the balance favourably, while students with negative attitude shifts show the opposite pattern. Discussion Show students respect in their chemistry learning The overall goal of this study was to obtain insights regarding what factors within a university chemistry setting can favourably affect student attitudes and motivation. Much of what was found could be summarized as an instructor admonition “show the students respect”. That instructor respect can be conveyed as a genuine interest in student learning, offering clear goals and instructions, expressing acknowledgement that certain tasks can be difficult for students, and being available for students. The teachers’ respect and empathy for students’ learning (or the opposite) was a thought that all interviewed students expressed;
Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 2005, 6 (1), 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry

but also what has not been experienced as especially positive. Convey clear instructions and goals especially when students are expected to accomplish intellectually demanding or new tasks—e. Opportunities for students to work collaboratively and exchange ideas. Individualistic. single answer. students give quite coherent descriptions of what they have appreciated and valued. A trait described positively by some students is not described negatively by others or vice versa. stood out for students. Avoid situations/atmosphere like these Teachers just ’teaching’ with no genuine interest conveyed in student learning.g. Chemistry viewed as an isolated subject with no applications to areas outside chemistry.Summary of suggested educational implications. which was found among students with positive attitude shifts. 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . Assigning students ill formulated or badly planned experiments or tasks. planning experiments or tutorial questions with no clear. Stimulate situations/atmosphere like these Teachers being available (mentally and physically) to students. This should not rule out ’ill formulated‘ tasks if they are intentionally set and students are aware that reality is seldom simple and that they must learn to deal with such situations. Osborne et al. Students not allowed contact with teachers especially during demanding tasks. Table 5. Support for the commonly expressed view that “anything I do as a teacher will be good for some and bad for others” is not found in this study. which. connect chemistry to other subjects and situations. according to the interviews. the most striking feature is similar descriptions (of good and bad teachers) from both students with negative and positive shifts. Berg 14 some examples/suggestions are offered in Table 5 regarding how this respect and empathy could be conveyed in more concrete terms. competitive atmosphere producing only a few ’winners’. This indicates a consensus among the six students of the characteristics a good teacher. In the interviews there are indications that major student objections toward these demanding tasks is attributable to time constraints and unclear goals. Viewing student questions and problems as unwanted interruptions in their teaching. 2005. that these examples are based on what. planning your own experiments). Instead. Remember.C. could favourably affect student motivation and learning. The examples given above are congruent with much previous research (Dalgety et al. Create real or perceived lack of time so that students feel that “it’s useless for me to try”. and not necessarily to the demanding tasks themselves. 2003 and references therein) and. Where appropriate and possible. The only example pointing in this direction is acceptance of more demanding tasks (e. also in accord with personal experiences of university teachers. hopefully. according to this study. Anders R. creating an atmosphere where it is acceptable to ask questions and it is accepted that everything may not be understood immediately. This Chemistry Education Research and Practice.g. but as factors. Teachers being accessible especially when students approach demanding tasks. Allocate enough time for students to accomplish a task and communicate clear goals for what is expected. 6 (1). 2003. The examples given should not be viewed as patent solutions or as the only important aspects of learning.. Learning conditions suitable for all students It is worth noting that students in their descriptions of teachers contrast the pros and cons.. whereas students with negative attitude shifts often mentioned this kind of tasks as too demanding.

since goals of university education are to “provide the students with a capability of independent and critical judgment.. this researcher is struck by the differences/discrepancies in students’ stories about what affected them during their semester of chemistry study and efforts by the chemistry department to increase the quality of teaching. and the attitude change of the entire group of students over the course. and school achievement: An integrative review.K. 6 (1). Buehl M. something that could perhaps be overcome by an interview format aiming at those internal factors. Covington M.V. Dalgety J. and outcomes of. Coll R. the data collected was not considered rich enough for analysis. motivation. learning context and. 3. 25.. and Tibell L.. Two areas at the periphery of this study are the importance of students’ internal factors. (2002).M. in conclusion. favourable schedule. 171-200. The development of the chemistry attitudes and experiences questionnaire (CAEQ). References Berg C.S.C. 385-418. I also would like to thank Professor Johan Lithner. Anders R. all within the field covered by the education” (Swedish higher education act. Professor Lisbeth Lundahl. (2001). and Salter D. 351-372. Berg 15 illustrates the importance of clear aims and goals in conjunction with appropriate time allocated for tasks. Annual Review of Psychology. while students primarily focus on teacher attitude. 2005. The departmental focus has been on selecting the best available literature and level of content.E.. (2003). an ability independently to solve problems and an ability to follow the development of knowledge. International Journal of Science Education. The author is indebted to Dr Norman Reid for valuable discussions about the attitude instrument... and Alexander P. Chemistry Education Research and Practice.K. Beliefs about academic knowledge. One constructive way to approach this important but disappointing finding could be through action research. learning outcomes. and Professor Lars-Olof Öhman for valuable discussions.. 19-32. 51. 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . choosing appropriate laboratory activities and tutorials.C. Educational Psychology Review. Goal theory. This work was supported by grants from the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education. atmosphere.A. 2003) clearly focusing on student attitude development as a complement to other efforts to create environments suitable for good learning. 1992). ultimately. (2000). Acknowledgements The author wishes to thank Professor Henry Heikkinen for extensive comments on the manuscript. Lundberg B.A. The observed negative attitude shift of the entire group of students in this study (Figure 2) is not particularly encouraging. an expository versus an open-inquiry version of the same experiment. With respect to internal factors.B. Benefiting from an open-ended experiment? A comparison of attitudes to.. to speculate that university teachers should consider those aspects of student learning as of equal importance to course features already considered. It is tempting. Final reflections After listening to students and trying to evaluate the relationship among attitude towards learning. and other ’soft‘ values. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. such as self-efficacy and goals. based on this and other studies (Dalgety et al. motivation.R.A. Bergendahl V. 13. Feedback from two anonymous reviewers and the editors was also appreciated.

.).B. 76.K. Umetrics. Schraw G. 68. Student motivation in the college classroom. Application of the Perry model to general chemistry.0. Student attitudes toward learning and pre-lab simulated acidbase titrations: Effects on. 129-163. Educational activities to stimulate intellectual development in Perry's scheme. Dalgety J. Learning from problem based learning. Swedish Higher Education Act (1992). 6 (1).. Westport. (2003). Skou C. Berg 16 Dalgety J.. Westport. 67. and Wells C. Johansson E. and Pintrich P. (1997). 353-383. Journal of Educational Psychology Review. Handbook of college teaching theory and applications (pp. Greenwood. Annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (p. Forms of intellectual and ethical development in the college years: A scheme.. Journal of Chemical Education. Coll R. (2003). Educational Psychology Review.. (2004). (1991).K.. 451-464. Students' perceptions and learning experiences of tertiary level chemistry. Student and faculty epistemology in the college classroom: The Perry schema of intellectual and ethical development.. (1994).. Developmental instruction: Part II. In K. and Coll R. Hull. Anders R. (2003). and Pringle D.H. 23-43).F.C.and megavariate data analysis. New York. Philadelphia. CVS Information System. Effects of context-based laboratory experiments on attitudes of analytical chemistry students.C. Simon S. 13. (2003). cognitive focus.M. New York. Paulsen M.. Research in Higher Education. Fitch P. (1981). 1-14. University Chemistry Education. Holt. Mackenzie A. Finster D.2). Reid N.K.K. M. Review of Educational Research..S. Attitudes towards science: a review of the literature and its implications. Sawyer (Eds. Unpublished manuscript. 39. Hofer B. 51. The development of epistemological theories: Beliefs about knowledge and knowing and their relation to learning. LTSN Physical Sciences Centre.K.. Moore W. Effects of academic departments on students' approaches to studying. Handbook of college teaching theory and applications (pp.. 27). Johnstone A. Multi. principles and applications..J.. Qualitative media analyser . Current themes and future directions in epistemological research: A commentary. 1049-1079. (1998). (2001).M. Journal of Chemical Education. and Entwistle N. Eriksson L. 46-67)... 100-106. Osborne J.. 88140. Chapter 1. 40. (1970).. 29. Ramsden P. Development of chemistry attitudes and experiences questionnaire (CAEQ).V. and Berg C. W. (2001).. Kettaneh-Wold N. In for the 21st century (Version 1. Hofer B. and knowledge usability. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. Hofer B. 365-384.). (2001)..1. Sawyer (Eds. 25. Rinehart and Winston. Paper presented at the 1984 ASEE Annual conference. Section 9. 752-756. and Wold S. John Wiley. Jackson J. 13. Umeå. and Collins S. (2001).T. (1999). Getting started in pedagogical research in the physical sciences. British Journal of Educational Psychology.I. 7. Contemporary Educational Psychology. and Brown R.R.W.E. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. Domain differences in the epistemological beliefs of college students. Greenwood. Perry W. (2004). 2005. Prichard & R. A user's guide to principal components.S. Prichard and R. and Culver R. 649-668.. (1984).. (2003)..R. 368-383. Pintrich P.. Winberg M. Henderleiter J.L. (1994).A.R.G.. International Journal of Science Education. Exploring the dimensions of personal epistemology in differing classroom contexts: Student interpretations during the first year of college. Personal epistemology research: Implications for learning and teaching. Skou Carl Verner. and Jones A. (1991).. 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry .

Model of an epistemological belief system (Buehl et al. and the manner in which such epistemological premises are a part of and an influence on the cognitive processes of thinking and reasoning” (Hofer et al. may create a view of laboratory activity as an illustration of facts and learning of procedures.. A view that knowledge is an integrated set of constructs and the student constructs knowledge may. 372). there is less agreement on what causes this change. stimulate a view of laboratory activity as a situation where knowledge is generated and the student is learning not only procedures. 2001). where knowledge is central. 2001. An example: The way a student approaches and views laboratory activity is affected by the student’s epistemological belief.. Epistemology concerns the nature and justification of human knowledge. this has been suggested for further research by several writers (Hofer et al. However. and is thus closely related to research into personal epistemological beliefs. 2003). General Epistemological Beliefs Academic Epistemological Beliefs Domain-Specific Beliefs What causes changes in epistemological position? In the field of research on epistemological beliefs there is consensus about a trend toward developmental progression.. 1997.” (Hofer. Hofer. Berg 17 Appendix 1: Epistemological beliefs. Anders R. that knowledge is a set of accumulated facts and the student a receptor of knowledge. But what types of experiences are most conducive? What instructional strategies can best be employed? Although the literature is replete with advice.C. while epistemological beliefs denote “the theories and beliefs they hold about knowing. Buehl et al. assessment and laboratory activity. less research exists that clarifies the relation between methods and types of instruction and personal epistemology. there has been a presumption of all those working in this area that educational experiences play a role in fostering development or belief change. Schraw. Hofer argues: “Regardless of the model. 2005. 1997). and learning The present study focuses on attitude towards learning. The present study addresses this question of “what experiences and what instructional strategies fosters development and belief change?” raised by Hofer. 2001.. 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . particularly for those who experience a college education (Hofer et al. p. Osborne et al. The instructor respect Chemistry Education Research and Practice... 6 (1). A view. 2001. 1997).. For example. 1998. but also scientific methods. Figure 3. 2001. with domain-specific beliefs as part of a full epistemological belief system (Figure 3). Paulsen et al. on the other hand. motivation. The focus of the present study is on the domain-specific beliefs as reflected in views of knowledge. Beuhl and Alexander (2001) present a model illustrating the multilayered nature of epistemological beliefs. perception of roles of instructor and student.

2001). The importance of epistemological beliefs for student learning and motivation has been described in a working model by Hofer (2001). Berg 18 described in the discussion and the suggested educational implications found in Table 5 are a partial answer for this question. motivation and learning The relationships among epistemological beliefs. Appendix 2: Educational setting and students’ attitudes The effect of educational setting upon student attitudes is of major interest to teachers and researchers. separately and in conjunction. especially in real educational settings. while students with negative attitude shifts show the opposite pattern. More detailed information about factors in the educational setting and their effect is presented in the results and discussion sections of the article. a more positive attitude towards learning has been accompanied by more motivated behaviour.. Anders R. tilting the balance favourably. In the present study a third approach was used. 1-18 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . 6 (1). Relations between epistemological beliefs. how students adapt to different educational settings (Hofer. Ramsden et al. even if attitude. studying the students with major attitude changes in one educational setting.C. Both studies indicate the importance of educational setting and subject in developing students’ attitudes towards learning. This could be seen as confirmation of the model described by Hofer. with a smaller sample of students. and assessment. Even though the same factors had affected students the balance in experiences was very different. 1998. In their study Ramsden and Entwistle found a profound effect of the educational setting upon the orientation and study approaches of students. instructor and student roles. which then.. affect learning. This study showed that first-year college students view knowledge in science as more certain and unchanging than they do in psychology. where epistemological beliefs affect student motivation and strategy selection. in university chemistry setting. 1981). 2004). 2005.. as viewed in this study. and it has been shown that epistemological beliefs affect motivation as well as the quality of learning (Hofer et al. In the present study. and learning are important. motivation. is broader than epistemological belief since it includes views of knowledge. Hofer. Students showing positive attitude shift exhibited few negative views of factors in the educational setting. It was found that essentially the same factors in the educational setting had affected students with negative and positive attitude shifts. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. laboratory activities. Paulsen et al. This interest could be captured by this fundamental question. Another approach has been to investigate.g. 1997. Is there a (positive) effect of efforts to create classroom environments suitable for good learning? Attempts to answer this question have been made by studying many students in diverse educational settings and applying statistical analyses to characterize relationships (e.

However. 19-35 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . 19-35] Keywords: ionic equation. Schmidt and Volke (2003) distinguished between the label/term and the content/meaning of a concept. some teachers had even not reflected on the differences between them. 6 (1). Arrhenius model. SE. It can be defined with reference to the gain of oxygen (atoms) or to the loss of electrons. Educ. They seemed to rely on the content of chemistry textbooks.651 88 Karlstad. 6 (1). Concepts that have a different meaning in science and in everyday life can confuse students (Pines and Received 29 April 2004. Implications for textbook writers. provide teachers with information that can be used to overcome students’ problems in this process. 2005. 2005. First. models in teaching.drechsler@kau. This can also happen with scientific terms that are used in different contexts because they have shifted their meaning in the course of the historical development (Schmidt. e-mail: michal. 1997). Teachers were well aware of the importance of using models in their lessons.. Here the content/meaning of the term is related to different models. Science education research should. Brønsted model. Introduction Studying science involves understanding the concepts that shape science. 1968. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. chemistry textbooks most widely used in Swedish upper secondary schools were examined. Both models are introduced in chemistry teaching at Swedish secondary schools. Boulter and Gilbert (2000) considered it important for students to learn about models and their use but also to recognize their limitations. Department of Chemistry. Pract. therefore. Nuffield Chemistry claims: “Pupils must learn to see the interplay between observed fact and explanation … and to appreciate how science develops through this interplay” (Nuffield Foundation. This would allow students to gain a better understanding of the subject and of how scientific knowledge is achieved. 5). The concept oxidation is an example thereof. 1986). There was no clear distinction between the models. Second. accepted 7 January 2005 Abstract: Acid-base reactions can be described in several ways: by formula equations as reactions between substances. For teachers it is important to know how students interpret these concepts. textbook analysis. Universitetsgatan 1. semi-structured interviews were conducted with six chemistry teachers. [Chem. teachers and further research are discussed. acid–base reaction. Res. The aim of this study was to determine how textbooks and teachers handle the different models to explain acid-base reactions. p. they seemed to have difficulties in applying this view with respect to acids and bases. or by ionic equations as proton transfer reactions according to Brønsted’s model. The textbooks neither described the differences between the models used to explain acid-base reactions nor clarified why the Brønsted model was introduced.Educational research Textbooks’ and teachers’ understanding of acid-base models used in chemistry teaching Michal Drechsler* and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt Karlstad University. Sweden.

Bases were defined analogously as substances that produced OH. diagrams or mathematical formulas. Acids were defined as substances that produced H+ ions in water solution. According to Brønsted. If the base B. • A model is a research tool that is used to obtain information about a target that cannot be observed or measured directly. In the reaction between an acid and a base water is formed and – as a by-product – a salt. The alchemists defined acids on the basis of their sour taste. A model should have the following characteristics (Van Driel and Verloop. An acid and a base connected in this way are said to be a conjugated acid-base pair. the base A. bases are limited to substances that contain OH groups. which may be tested while studying the target. New models are introduced trying to give a better description of reality. schematic pictures. If. The way acids were explained developed stepwise until 1810 when Davy proposed that all acids contained hydrogen. At the end of the 19th century Arrhenius introduced the dissociation theory. A reaction between hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide can be formulated like this (Arrhenius. He connected the acidic properties to positively charged hydrogen ions. 2005. Background Scientific background The concepts of acids and bases belong to the basic principles of chemistry curricula. Acids are defined as particles that donate protons while bases are defined as particles that accept protons.Michal Drechsler and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt 20 Models link theories with phenomena. Using the Arrhenius’ model. the acid HB is formed. • A model bears certain analogies to the target.remains. When an acid donates a proton it becomes a base. 19-35 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1903 (Arrhenius. The Arrhenius model is also limited to water as a solvent. Models used in chemistry can be both mental and more tangible instruments. for example. The bases were still seen as neutralizers of acids. • A model is developed through an interactive process in which empirical data from the target may lead to a revision of the model.ions. • A model is kept as simple as possible by deliberately excluding some aspects of the target. the acid HA donates a proton. which enables the researcher to derive hypotheses from the model. Brønsted’s acid-base definition is not limited to water as a solvent. they are part of theories scientists develop to explain phenomena that can be observed. This study concentrates on different models used to explain acids and bases and how teachers and textbooks handle these models.→ HOH In 1923. 1903). A proton transfer according to Brønsted’s model can be written like this: Chemistry Education Research and Practice. acids and bases are particles (molecules or ions). such as ball and stick models. Each model emphasizes a specific part of the target only (Harrison and Treagust. 1999): • A model is always related to a target that is represented by the model. 6 (1). 1998). Brønsted (and at about the same time Lowry) suggested a more general acidbase definition. 1903): (1) (H+ + Cl-) + (Na+ + OH-) → (Na+ + Cl-) + HOH or simplified: (2) H+ + OH.accepts a proton. The way acids and bases have been explained has changed during the development of chemistry. Acids and bases exist side by side. but a common composition was not known.

in which only OH. This is. they did not use the Brønsted model to explain the properties of acids and bases. acetic acid.+ HOAc Brønsted’s proton transfer definition can be seen as a special case of the more general Lewis definition. Hawkes (1992) observed that the Arrhenius acid-base model confused students. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. It is formed in a reaction between water and ammonia: (5) NH3 + H2O → NH4OH In a second step NH4OH dissociates producing OH. 6 (1). namely the transfer of cations in the form of protons. always result in a neutral solution. 2000) reported that teachers used hybrid models instead of specific historical models in their teaching. where acids are defined as electron pair acceptors and bases as electron pair donators. The authors also showed that many chemistry textbooks do not discuss why scientists use different models. in which the transfer of ions is emphasized.Michal Drechsler and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt 21 (3) acid1 + base2 ⇄ base1 + acid2 or: (4) HA + B. Equation (7) illustrates how in an equilibrium reaction ammonia molecules accept protons from water molecules forming hydroxide ions: (7) NH3 + H2O ⇄ NH4+ + OHEquations 1 and 2 suggest that acids and bases consume each other. react with a strong Arrhenius-base. the resulting solution will be basic. 1963) suggested another acid-base definition. Here the Brønsted model can be seen as a special case.ions: (6) NH4OH → NH4+ + OHA better explanation of the basic properties of ammonia in water can be given using Brønsted’s model. Research literature Previous research in science education shows how students (and teachers) struggle to understand the role of models in general as well as in chemistry to describe acid-base reactions. which applies to a variety of bases. sodium hydroxide. too. If equivalent amounts of a weak Arrhenius-acid. students’ thinking was still dominated by the Arrhenius model. not always true. When asked to use the Brønsted model. The author suggested that the Brønsted model should be introduced first. (8) AcO. Hybrid models result from a transfer of attributes from one model to another one. This phenomenon can be attributed to the following proton transfer reaction (8). 19-35 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . e. and that the Arrhenius model should only be used as a historical footnote. (2004) reported that students from upper secondary school were more familiar with the Arrhenius model. the existence of NH4OH (although it does not exist) is assumed as an intermediate. Demerouti et al.⇄ A. in which acetate ions and water molecules are in equilibrium with hydroxide ions and acetic acid molecules. A reaction between equivalent amounts of an acid and a base should.ion-producing substances are considered as bases. Justi and Gilbert (1999. An acid is defined as a cation donor/anion acceptor and a base as a cation acceptor/anion donor. however. In 1954 Gutman and Lindqvist (Hägg.+ HB To explain the basic properties of ammonia using the Arrhenius model.g. e.g. 2005. Rayner-Canham (1994) stated that students must be clearly informed about the benefits of introducing a more complex model.+ H2O ⇄ OH. therefore.

Many students believed that any neutralization reaction would always result in a neutral solution. The aim of the present study was to determine how chemistry textbooks and chemistry teachers handle different models used in schools to explain acid-base reactions. Data were collected by analyzing chemistry textbooks and interviewing chemistry teachers. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. Schmidt and Volke also found that students had problems accepting water as a base. The authors showed that in many modern textbooks these layers are not well connected and sometimes inconsistent with each other. He attributed part of this difficulty to the ambiguous use of the term neutral in ordinary language and in the chemical context. 6 (1). In the next step chemistry textbooks commonly used in Swedish upper secondary schools were analyzed to see how they treat acid-base reactions. Interviews were then conducted with six upper secondary school chemistry teachers about how they introduce and present acid-base reactions. Carr’s (1984) study of chemistry textbooks showed that the books did not clearly distinguish between the Arrhenius and the Brønsted acid-base models. Schmidt and Volke (2003) identified the mechanism students used to interpret the reaction from NO3.→ NO + 2 O2(11) 2 O2. In order to define the area in which students’ problems should be studied. de Vos and Pilot (2001) studied the past and the present of the chemistry curriculum in the Netherlands. Several models are in use to describe both types of reactions. No explanation was provided why a new model was introduced and how a new model differs from the previous one. (10) and (11): (10) NO3. As a result chemistry teachers and students are confronted with incoherent acid-base models that are difficult to teach and to learn. were studied.+ 8H3O+ → 3Cu 2+ + 2NO + 12H2O “First.+ 4 H3O+ → 6 H2O In doing so students combined the redox reaction (10) with the acid-base reaction (11). Several layers (or contexts) of knowledge were identified that had been added to the curriculum in the course of the historical development.Michal Drechsler and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt 22 Schmidt (1991) showed that students had difficulties understanding the concept of neutralization. 2005. dealing with acid-base reactions. Oversby (2000) identified in a survey chemistry textbooks that explained different acid-base models but did not discuss the strengths and limitations of each model. Aim Acids can take part in acid-base reactions and in redox reactions. multiple choice tests from Examination Boards in the US and the NO in (9): (9) 3Cu + 2NO3. 19-35 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . having the following specific questions in mind: How do Swedish upper secondary school textbooks and chemistry teachers • introduce the acid-base concept • present the neutralization reaction/acid-base reactions • treat chemistry models in general • treat models in the context of acids and bases Method The research process involved several steps. and how they use chemistry models in general and in the context of acids and bases.+ 3 e. oxide ions are released … second these ions react with …H3O+ … forming water according to “.

The students preferred the following incorrect answers: Na+ + Cl. Three such questions are given as examples.→ H2O. These students seemed to prefer the Arrhenius model to explain acidbase reactions.+ H+ + OH. the distribution of students’ answers against the options (answer pattern). Based on these reflections we analyzed the results of examination board tests to readjust the research questions. The correct answer was H+ + OH. If. Students preferred reaction equations that name salt or water as a product of an acid-base reaction. 2005. We interpreted the results of the analysis of the examination board questions as follows. he or she will arrive at a certain incorrect answer. H2O reacts as an acid C. It was decided to use items 1 and 2 in the interviews with the chemistry teachers asking them to comment on the examination results. NH3 reacts as a proton acceptor B. Examination boards usually do not publish exam questions and test results. Students did not accept water as an acid or a base.. Item 3: Students were asked to identify how nitric acid acts in the reaction with copper. with test items and – in some cases – with the test statistics. • Item 2. for research purposes. 6 (1). too. therefore. 1991). However. The multiple choice questions were stored in a computer file. If a student based his or her reasoning on an alternative interpretation of a concept. OH. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. which alternatives to a correct answer are especially attractive to students. A reaction equation was not given.Michal Drechsler and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt 23 Analysis of multiple choice tests from Examination Boards Examination board tests can be seen as a collection of questions based on practitioners’ statements about what students should know. multiple choice items are correctly constructed. Examination board questions in the form of multiple choice questions show in addition. Item 1: Students were asked to identify the reaction equation that would describe best the reaction between dilute hydrochloric acid and aqueous sodium hydroxide. Students had not realized that in this case nitric acid acts does not act as an acid only. • Item 1. Many students chose the option ‘as an acid’. The majority of the students avoided all answer options where water was described as an acid.reacts as a base The student should chose among options that described the above statements as true. too.→ NaCl Na+ + Cl. 19-35 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry .(aq) A. The analysis of these items led to a few multiple choice items that asked simple questions.e. had an interesting answer pattern and contained some interesting incorrect answers.→ NaCl + H2O Item 2: Students were given the following information NH3 (g) + H2O (l) ⇄ NH4+ (aq) + OH. i. Using a computer program about 500 questions dealing with acids and bases were selected from the item bank. • Item 3. but as an oxidizing agent. several boards in the United Kingdom and the United States provided us. the incorrect answers (distractors) may hint at problems students have in understanding chemistry concepts (Schmidt. These students did not consider Brønsted’s proton transfer model to explain acid-base reactions.

Lif. p.268). 19-35 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . the interviewer (M. p. The scope of the Swedish introductory course for upper secondary schools has recently been reduced. Lüning.4).Michal Drechsler and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt 24 Analysis of chemistry textbooks In Sweden the acid-base concept is introduced at lower secondary level (ages 14-16) and further developed at upper secondary level (ages 17-19). Henriksson (2000). He described the qualitative researcher as a traveler to a foreign country telling stories when returning home (Kvale. To find answers to the research questions the following four chemistry textbooks for upper secondary schools were analyzed: Andersson. and Lindh (2000). 1996. and Tullberg (2000). They were between 35 and 60 years old. Wahlström. all had at least 8 years of teaching experience and were teaching at four different upper secondary schools. Stålhandske.) invited six former colleagues who were known to have an interest in reflecting on and discussing teaching matters. One of the main changes was that the chapter on chemical equilibrium was moved to the advanced course. Reactants and products of chemical reactions are considered as substances. (12) Acid + Base → Salt + Water The formula equation can be seen as a simplified version – a curricular model – of the historical Arrhenius’ acid-base model.D. and Viklund (2000). Sonesson. When students move from lower to upper secondary school – which are separate schools in Sweden – Brønsted’s acid-base model is introduced. The Lewis model and other more advanced acid-base models are not taught in upper secondary schools. 6 (1). Borén. Larsson. To find the information needed the acid-base chapters of the books were analyzed about how they introduce and present the following concepts: acid/ base pH acid-base reaction redox reaction neutralization salt acid-base models/theories Brønsted’s model/ theory All reaction equations of the acid-base chapters were categorized with respect to the model they refer to: Arrhenius model Brønsted’s model hybrid between the two redox model The introductions to all books were read in order to see how they present chemistry models in general. Interviews with chemistry teachers Instead of drawing the teachers at random from a larger population. All teachers had participated in evening lectures at the university in which results from research in chemistry education were presented. Lilleborg. For the same reason the contents of the books were searched via their indexes. This strategy has been discussed by Miles and Huberman (1994. At lower secondary level chemistry is taught with reference to phenomena. reaction equations written as formula equations. Five of the teachers had masters’ degrees. and Pilström. The final report was planned as a collection of ‘stories’ in the sense used by Kvale (1996). All of them used (like most Chemistry Education Research and Practice. 2005.

(2000) introduce acid-base chemistry by listing the properties of acids such as their sour taste and their reactions with non-precious metals. During the debriefing phase. Teachers were given the opportunity to comment both on the content and the procedure of the interview. This means that on the one side the questions used in the interviews were predetermined. The books by Henriksson (2000) and Andersson et al. the interviews performed were semi-structured.. too. On the other side the interviews were open for teachers’ unexpected ideas. The teachers were asked for permission to use the tape recordings for research purposes and were assured about their right to withdraw from the interview at any time. Several examples are given. In the briefing phase the interviewer explained the purpose and the procedure of the interview (duration. the book lists different acids and shows that all acids contain hydrogen. In the warm up phase certain parts of the chemistry curriculum the teachers liked and disliked were discussed. Teachers were also invited to comment on the textbooks. Acid-base reactions according to Brønsted and redox reactions of acids with non-precious metals are discussed simultaneously. It was discussed how they handled chemistry models in general and in the context of acids and bases. From the transcripts summaries of four pages per interview were written. however. Teachers were again informed about their right to withdraw the permission to use the tape recordings for research purposes. How textbooks introduce the acid-base concept The book by Pilström (2000) introduces the acid-base concepts by defining acidic. Therefore. They consisted of three distinct phases: the briefing and warm up phase at the beginning. some interview questions were added after the second and the fourth interview had been completed. Semi-structured interviews were designed according to Kvale (1996). The interview guide is presented in Appendix 1. (2000) introduces acids and bases by showing that all acids contain hydrogen. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. Bases and acids are. They were first analyzed using a provisional list of categories that emerged naturally from the research questions and the interview guide (Miles and Huberman. The Brønsted proton transfer reaction of acids in water is shown.). 58). Briefing and debriefing were not tape-recorded. 2000). use of audio recorder etc. Teachers were also asked about how they tackled these parts. The interviews were transcribed in full. the main phase. and the debriefing phase at the end. 1994. However. All books define bases according to Brønsted after the concept of acid was introduced. The results of the interviews are presented in the form of eight ‘stories’ in the sense of Kvale (1996). In the main phase answers to the research questions were sought. 6 (1).Michal Drechsler and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt 25 other chemistry teachers in the area) Andersson’s chemistry textbook (Andersson et al. 2005. basic and neutral solutions using the pH scale and indicators. Finally. p. The book by Borén et al. The transcripts of the interviews and the summaries were read by both authors. they were shown the first two of the multiple choice questions presented above and the test results from the examination boards to initiate a discussion about problems students may have to understand the chemistry of acids and bases. Results and discussion Analysis of chemistry textbooks The following ’stories‘ resulting from the textbook analysis consist of summaries followed by examples and discussions. Next. Each story is given a specific headline (see the Result and Discussion section). followed by reactions of acids with non-precious metals. Teachers were asked about how they introduced and presented the acid-base concept. the research project was described more in detail. 19-35 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry .

Maybe the authors wanted to make the equations for acid-base and redox reactions as similar as possible How textbooks present the neutralization reaction Having discussed the concepts acids and bases. however. however. (2000) and Henriksson (2000) explain the term neutralization. The following equations (15) and (16) refer to the same reactions as (13) and (14). Formula equations identify the substances that are involved when. Acid-base reactions and redox reactions of acids (Henriksson. p. It will. 112). 19-35 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . The books by Pilström et al. Spectator ions are of no interest.ions disappear. not be easy to identify the proton transfer reaction that is mentioned in excerpt 1. ”Reaction with carbonate CaCO3(s) + 2H3O+(aq) + 2Cl-(aq) → Ca2+(aq) + CO2(g) + 3H2O(l) + 2Cl-(aq) After simplification CaCO3(s) + 2H+(aq) → Ca2+(aq) + CO2(g) + H2O(l) Reaction with non-precious metal Mg(s) + 2H3O+(aq) + 2Cl-(aq) → Mg2+(aq) + H2(g) + 2H2O(l) + 2Cl-(aq) After simplification Mg(s) + 2H+(aq) → Mg2+(aq) + H2(g)” The problems that arise when introducing the acid-base concept are manifold. Andersson et al. Borén et al. hydrochloric acid and calcium carbonate (13) or hydrochloric acid and magnesium (14) react with each other. The texts are not always clear about the model that is being used in a certain situation. the books Andersson et al. No hints are given in the books that models are used to characterize acids and bases and to understand their properties. Excerpt 1. (13) CaCO3(s) + 2HCl(aq) → CaCl2 (aq) + CO2(g) + H2O(l) (14) Mg(s) + 2HCl(aq) → MgCl2(aq) + H2(g) Ionic equations name the particles that are involved in a reaction. ”Na+ + OH. 2005. the terms bases as well as basic substances. (2000) describe the neutralization reaction as a way to produce salts. (2000) and Henriksson (2000) use both. 6 (1).Michal Drechsler and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt 26 listed as substances. too. (15) CO32-(aq) + 2H3O+(aq) → CO2(g) + 3H2O(l) or (15a) CO32-(aq) + 2H+(aq) → CO2(g) + H2O(l) (16) Mg(s) + 2 H3O+(aq) → Mg2+(aq) + H2(g) + 2H2O(l) or (16a) Mg(s) + 2H+(aq) → Mg2+(aq) + H2(g) Equation (15) illustrates how a proton transfer reaction between hydrogen ions and carbonate ions according to Brønsted takes place.+ H3O+ + Cl-→ 2H2O + Na+ + ClH+ Chemistry Education Research and Practice. The authors mention. for example. Reaction between sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid (Andersson et al. There is a difference between formula and ionic equations. Henriksson (2000) informs the reader that this is a reaction in which H3O+ and OH. 161). Equation (15a) is a simplified version of (15). Excerpt 1 refers to these reactions. Excerpt 2. 2000 p. Another misgiving arises from the formulation of the reaction equations. 2000. The readership is not informed that different models are used in parallel and why. (2000) describe the neutralization as a water producing reaction. (2000) and Pilström et al. the formation of a salt.

Thus only the following reaction takes place. (18) HCl(aq) + NaOH(aq) → NaCl(aq) + H2O(l) All textbooks analyzed state that in a neutralization reaction an acid and a base consume each other.Michal Drechsler and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt 27 We can see that the ions Na+ and Cl. but we found no discussion of that in the textbooks. The book by Pilström et al. really explain how these models can be used. How textbooks use chemistry models in general One of the books only describes the term model in the introduction. (2000) the term model is mentioned in this context. How textbooks use models in the context of acids and bases The book by Pilström is the only one describing the history of the acid-base models (Pilström et al. (17) H3O+(aq) + OH-(aq) ⇄ H2O(l) + H2O(l) A formula equation like (18) is. namely Pilström et al. a potassium sulfate solution is obtained. OH.. (2000) informs the reader that models are required to explain phenomena at the particle level.” Excerpt 3.g. Excerpt 4. They are called counter ions or ’spectator ions‘. 2000). 204). 2000. They are tools needed to “work with what one cannot see”. In three books the term model is mentioned in connection with atomic models. some of the ammonia molecules will react as follows: NH3 + H2O → NH4+ + OH-” (p. The ionic equation (17) describes this aspect of the reaction not participate in the reaction. however. by inventing and testing a hypothesis. 55). 6 (1). 2005. In the book by Andersson et al. However. For Brønsted the neutralization reaction is a proton transfer between an acid and a base forming water (if water is used as solvent). Only two of the books.. but describes how. H+ Chemistry Education Research and Practice. in Brønsted reactions acids and bases never disappear. but not explained.. needed to illustrate that in a neutralization reaction a salt is formed. too. chemists produce new knowledge. however. This is what the formula equation (18) tells us. (2000) and Henriksson (2000). The other books do not mention the different models. All textbooks present pictures of ball-and-stick molecular models. 19-35 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . A salt is formed. Neutralization reaction (Borén et al. Henriksson (2000) does not mention the term model in the introduction. p.” All textbooks claim that they use Brønsted’s model to explain acid-base reactions. ”When gaseous ammonia is dissolved in water.+ H3O+ → H2O + H2O” base acid ”The reaction between an acid and a base is called neutralization. 90) ” In a neutralization reaction a salt solution is produced… If you neutralize e. Two distinct models are needed to describe the different aspects of the reaction. 2000. In this context the term model is named. sulfuric acid with a solution of potassium hydroxide. Acid-base reactions (Pilström et al. An acid reacts with a base forming another acid and another base – see equations (3) and (17). p. but not discussed.

T2 . organic chemistry. 2005. It’s because I know it so well. The acid-base part has become superficial. biochemistry. During my chemistry studies I concentrated on analytical and physical chemistry so I guess that’s why I especially like physical chemistry.. organic chemistry (one teacher) and acid-base chemistry (one teacher). T1. Students don’t see this as knowledge. logarithms (pH) and buffer solutions. physical chemistry.Michal Drechsler and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt 28 ”If you mix hydrochloric acid with a solution of sodium hydroxide. or redox chemistry. The parts of the curriculum the teachers liked and disliked The teachers named various parts of the curriculum as their favorites: stoichiometry. students would not profit from them. biochemistry (two teachers). only what’s happening and no explanations why. You don’t get much out of it. T6. general chemistry. and you don’t get any further or deeper. Although in the book by Pilström et al. 56). T4. describe the Brønsted model as if no previous models existed. T5. However. the hydrogen ions react with the hydroxide ions in the hydroxide solution according to the equation H+ + OH. In the excerpts the interviewer is indexed ‘I’ while the teachers are indexed T1. They also tend to confuse galvanic cells and electrolysis. the authors are not clear about which model they refer to at a certain moment in the text. Teachers’ attitudes and expectations towards teaching acid-base chemistry Five teachers enjoyed teaching acid-base chemistry and felt that students would understand this part of the curriculum easily. All the books analyzed. The parts of the curriculum the teachers did not like to teach were: electrochemistry (two teachers). One teacher said that teaching acids and bases at upper secondary level would repeat what has already been taught at lower secondary level. or (2) they could easily connect that part of the curriculum to situations in everyday life. 6 (1). The strategies teachers used were the same for all parts of the curriculum and did not depend on their preferences.. they had two reasons only for their preferences: teachers felt (1) they were knowledgeable in the particular field. T4. Students think it’s very difficult and abstract.→ H2O…” (p. This part is very theoretical and the demonstrations are difficult for students to understand. (2000) several acid-base models are mentioned. just as a lot of facts. Teachers had two reasons for their misgivings: they felt these parts of the curriculum were (1) too abstract and difficult. It’s what you have already done at the lower secondary school. 19-35 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . Chemistry Education Research and Practice. The teachers expected their students to have problems only with understanding stoichiometric calculations. or (2) too easy. followed by excerpts from the interviews and discussions of the results. I usually ask the students what they think about my teaching and they say that everyday applications are very important. There are a couple of pages with properties of some acids and what will dissolve in them. Electrochemistry. Interviews with chemistry teachers The following ‘stories’ resulting from the interviews consist of short summaries from the transcripts.

None of the teachers were aware that students could have difficulties in applying formula and ionic equations to acid-base reactions and to understand the related acid-base models. You think that the students’ problems are mostly mathematical? T2. feel and taste. All teachers defined acids and bases as particles taking part in proton transfer reactions. is pH a concentration? I. Then you have to explain it.Michal Drechsler and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt 29 T6.g. 6 (1). Later. Strong acids were titrated with strong bases as a laboratory experiment. what’s log. Discussing the neutralization reaction. T3. but it’s 10-pH. Acids were then defined as substances that when dissolved in water produced hydrogen ions. All teachers emphasized that in this reaction water and salt were formed. What is an acid and what is a base? We show them. 2005. so the students can smell. How do you compare the results? Do you draw titration curves? T3. not in the introduction course. This part is easy to teach. We just look at the formation of salt … and water of course. …Then you can go on and apply this to the human body. I always start from everyday life. they referred to reaction equation (12). They want to know more…e. Yes. How teachers presented the neutralization reaction All teachers discussed with their students the neutralization reaction. Two teachers introduced the acid-base concept measuring the pH of various acidic solutions. what’s p. No. How teachers used chemistry models in general All teachers agreed that it was important for students to know that chemistry deals with models.. because they don’t know enough math yet. 19-35 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . All teachers claimed that they used in class the Brønsted model to interpret acid-base reactions. acids or bases? That’s how I introduce it. However. I. Writing chemical formulae students were expected to see that all acids contained hydrogen. However. What will happen if this gets into our body? Which are more dangerous. What do you think are the main difficulties for students in this part? T2. students already know a lot. It’s logarithms. and since I’m also a math teacher I know some ways to explain it 2-3 ways. The students perform the titrations with strong acids and bases themselves. the focus was still on the formation of salt. They admitted they had not discussed this aspect satisfactorily with their students. I. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. Three teachers demonstrated in comparison titrations with weak acids or bases. calculate the pH of weak acids. they showed students substances as examples for acids and bases. Then I demonstrate a titration of a weak acid. Students were told the pH to be a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration. and then we have concentrations. however. pH values of acidic solutions were determined and related to the concentrations of hydrogen ions. too. Students must distinguish between HCl and H2SO4 and also mole proportions. How teachers introduced acid-base reactions Four teachers introduced the acid-base concept listing acids and bases that students know from everyday life. T4. Similar experiments were conducted with basic solutions.

that’s protolysis in water. I. we can move on to other models. It’s a good thing it has summaries in the margin. I chose the acid-base chapter since it’s relatively easy and the students at that point have been through a major part of the chemistry course. This may be the reason why they did not recognize previous models. No … I haven’t thought about it that way. T3. I try to explain the use of models right from the start. Water can’t be formed if it participates in the reaction as an acid or base. they can easily read it themselves. Two teachers used in addition examples from other textbooks. I. This about a proton. and an oxonium ion. This is the model we use right now since we can understand it. when we know more physics and mathematics. Bohr’s atomic model. Later on. If the students miss a lesson. That they learn quickly that water is formed in a neutralization reaction … and a salt. How teachers used models in the context of acid-base chemistry Teachers had difficulties applying their general view of models to acid-base reactions. It’s a queer element that it only dissolves as compared with ammonia. I. Teachers felt that the textbook was simple and accessible. Two teachers did not like how redox reactions of acids are presented and excluded these parts of the book from their lessons. 19-35 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . T3. Teachers’ comments on the chemistry textbook All teachers used Andersson’s textbook (Andersson et al. It’s difficult to make the student understand that we deal with models. They said that their students appreciated the book highly because of the summaries in the margin. I try to discuss models and why we use models with the students. These are the ones they will have met in their teacher training at University. I. but the book by Andersson et al. (2000) was the main source for the students. Can you give me examples of models you use? T2. Yes …We use ball-and-stick molecule models sometimes. 6 (1). 2005. What do the students think about writing acid-base reaction equations? T5. T2. Water is the acid and isn’t formed. Students like the book. T5. Not all students understand that it’s the same. Chemistry Education Research and Practice.Michal Drechsler and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt 30 T1. The teachers were aware that the Brønsted and Lewis definitions of acids and bases are related to different models. teachers had difficulties to see the differences between the models. Do you use models in the acid-base part as well? T2. I. They are inclined to believe we deal with the truth. They have problems realizing that there’s no reaction with sodium hydroxide in water. T2. I think the book explains it well. But if you dissolve ammonia in water. One teacher thought the textbook was so clear presenting acids and bases that he had used it as a self-study material for the students.. In their view the Arrhenius and the Brønsted acid-base definitions did not count as models. Yes. a hydrogen ion. Do you see this as a different model for explaining an acid-base reaction? T5. Last year I asked them to read a chapter on their own. 2000). In addition. you don’t get water and salt. T5. No.

too. however. Research has shown that teachers were aware that different models exist but did not use them in their classes (Justi and Gilbert. It makes sense. You teach that in the beginning of the course but then you forget about it. Maybe you shouldn’t emphasize that acids and bases are dangerous substances T3. and Gallard (1994) reported that when “planning science programs. In order to minimize this tension. You forget about the counter ions. teachers partitioned the year’s work into topics to be covered each term and subsequently planned the content to be covered each week and in each lesson” (p. T1. Teachers thus realized that other students had the same problems in this field. T5. This interpretation of a neutralization reaction is properly described by formula equations. 51). The students should know that water is an ampholyte. The discussion with teachers showed: they realized that students could have difficulties to understand what was taught in class. 2005. The Brønsted model. not on what really happens. It is reasonable to introduce acids and bases at the phenomenological level as substances that consume each other. General discussion Research has shown that textbooks play an important role for teachers planning a lesson. defines acids and bases as particles exchanging protons. You focus on what’s formed. The same was observed in the present study. I’ll have to check the book more closely. 19-35 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . I’ve never thought of it this way.Michal Drechsler and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt 31 Since the teachers were not aware of the different acid-base models. The discussion about the multiple choice items continued in the debriefing phase. The discussion of the results of the examination tests offered an opportunity to discuss students’ problems understanding acid-base chemistry in general. Tippins. The teachers were well aware of the importance of models but had difficulties to make use of Chemistry Education Research and Practice. Two statements occurred repeatedly: Item 1 T5. Teachers may have felt uncomfortable during the interview when their teaching was questioned (Kvale. Tobin. In our study the analysis of the textbooks and the interviews revealed that the acid-base concepts presented by the books and by the teachers were the same. Two of the teachers noticed that the book discussed acid-base reactions and redox reactions of acids simultaneously. 1996. the interviewer explained that the research questions were developed from examination questions. 6 (1). Teachers’ comments on the multiple choice tests Teachers were surprised about students’ answers to the multiple choice questions. Most textbooks and all teachers mentioned the formation of salt when talking about the neutralization reaction. Later the Brønsted model was used. they had not noticed that the textbook did not clearly distinguish between them. 128). It seems that for the teachers participating in the present study the chemistry textbook was an important source of information. Item 2 T4. This is properly interpreted by ionic equations. Acids and bases were introduced as substances. 2002). p. They perceived the book to be quite clear in this respect.

p. Brønsted defines acids and bases as particles. 1968. 19-35 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . The following observations may illustrate our expectations. One important goal of Nuffield Chemistry. p. With respect to acid-base chemistry the Handbook for Teachers states: “… when pupils … know how to represent what is going on at a molecular level … (they) are then ready for a simple form of Lowry-Brönsted approach” (Nuffield Foundation. If these teachers did not think about the use of models this may apply even more to ordinary teachers. 2005. but not discussed in detail. The formation of salt (and water) is not a prerequisite of a Brønsted acid-base reaction. Under the heading Models used in relation to chemical reactions. They may not have recognized older models because they only met the Brønsted and other modern acid-base models at university. the famous British curriculum development of the 1960s. (2) Teachers selected for the interviews were known to have an interest in reflecting on their teaching. a more detailed analysis of this aspect is missing. 1969. Formula equation (18) describes the reaction between hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide properly at the phenomenological level. The ionic equation (17) illustrates what ’really‘ Chemistry Education Research and Practice. the Brønsted concept is mentioned (p. This can easily be explained assuming that the textbook they relied upon had influenced the teachers. In this context a distinction between formula and ionic equations has to be made. 7). was helping students to develop relationships between experimental results and “explanations in terms of a model” (Nuffield Foundation. In an acid-base reaction an acid reacts with a base forming a new acid and a new base. Perhaps the situation observed in Swedish schools can also be seen in other countries. but they also used previous models simultaneously. the observation that the textbooks failed to discuss the different models used to describe acid-base reactions is not intended to imply that the textbook authors are unaware of these models. We expect other researchers to arrive at similar results interviewing teachers in Sweden. Most teachers claimed they taught the Brønsted model. In 1977 Keller. Implications for teaching and research The results of the present study emphasize the need for teachers and textbook authors to provide students with clear descriptions of the models that are used to explain the properties of acids and bases. To identify some key points: Acids and bases are introduced as substances referring to students’ experience from everyday life. a well-known chemistry educator from Germany. 31). The present study shows that even these teachers were not clear about the use of acid-base models. However. The interviews showed that teachers did not realize that their textbook did not clearly distinguish between Brønsted’s and previous models. Some teachers had not even commented on the differences between them. published a book about models in chemistry teaching (Keller. reasonable to expect that the books will influence other teachers in the same way. Finally. In an acid-base reaction acids and bases consume each other forming salt and water. 33). 1977). There are two reasons for it: (1) What teachers told us during the interviews was similar to what was described in their textbook. 6 (1). Our textbook analysis was based on books that are commonly used in Sweden. They should help students to understand why at a certain point of the course the Brønsted model is introduced and how this model differs from the one that had been used before. Textbooks and teachers neither described the differences between the models nor clarified why the Brønsted model was introduced. It is.Michal Drechsler and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt 32 them to explain the properties of acids and bases. therefore. In discussions the textbook authors gave a simple and valid argument for the chosen presentation of the acid-base concept: to simplify it and thereby facilitate learning.

Arrhenius confuses students. http://www.. de Vos W. and (18) as a proton transfer reaction using the ionic equation (17). (2000). however.. and Treagust D..K. Liber. M. Acids and bases in layers: The stratal structure of an ancient topic. 122-131. Gymnasiekemi A. Kousathana M. not noticed that their textbooks did not clearly distinguish between the different acid-base models used in school. Carr M.F. Developing models in science education (pp. They had. (1992). (17) does not tell us which substances react with each other. Model confusion in chemistry. act as a base (7). (2000).G. References Andersson S. 98. During the interviews teachers described how they taught acid-base chemistry. 78.. Boulter (Eds. The recommendations mentioned here could be used in chemistry lessons helping students to “gain an understanding … of what it means to approach a problem scientifically“. The Chemical Educator.. 542-543. In J.. 1). December 11. Journal of Chemical Education. (2001). therefore. 9. (2000). however. Development of the theory of electrolytic dissociation. This phenomenon is often presented to students when introducing the concepts acid and base.. Modelling in science lessons: Are there better ways to learn with models?. We also do not know how Swedish students apply their general view of models to other concepts in chemistry...Michal Drechsler and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt 33 happens in a neutralization reaction. Malmö. Lilleborg S. In the reaction between ammonia and water. Water molecules donate protons and act as an acid. 420-429. Stockholm.. However. 343-362). and Tsaparlis G. but also with (certain) metals. (1984). and Tullberg A. Dordrecht. Teachers should also expect their students to have difficulties classifying water as an acid or a base. Another interesting question to be answered is how students understand acid-base concepts and models and in what way they are influenced by chemistry textbooks. From the results. Teachers should be more critical when reviewing textbooks. (2000).J. More research is needed for a better understanding of the role of acid-base models in teaching and learning. Journal of Chemical Education.. Boulter C. 494-499.. In this Brønsted acid-base reaction neither a salt nor water is formed. Hawkes S. (Nuffield Foundation. and Pilot A. (1998). Kemiboken A 100p.. The teachers interviewed used their chemistry textbooks to prepare their lessons. School Science and Mathematics. 14. Arrhenius S.). Kluwer Academic Publishers. Nobel Lecture. Borén H. Challenges and opportunities of developing models in science education. 69. A study that clarified whether the results of the present study are applicable to students in other countries is needed too. 1968. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. and Gilbert J. Research in Science Education.. The present study revealed that textbooks (and teachers) should clearly describe the differences between acidbase and redox reactions. Part 1: Upper secondary students’ misconceptions and difficulties. Sonesson A. Formula equation (14) refers to the reaction between hydrochloric acid and magnesium. The same is true for equation (18) illustrating the reaction between hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide. Acid-base equilibria. Gleerups Förlag. naming all reactants and products.. p. Acids do not only react with bases.. Demerouti. (2004). ammonia molecules accept protons from water molecules and.. An investigation of this type is under way. It may be reasonable for upper secondary school courses to describe (14) as an electron-transfer reaction using the ionic equation (16). B.pdf. Gilbert and Stålhandske B.. Lif T. Larsson M. we do not know what really happened in the classroom. (1903).nobel. 97-103. Henriksson A. 19-35 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . and Lindh.K. Liber. 6 (1).. Kemi kurs A. 2005. Stockholm. Harrison A.

Dordrecht. Developing models in science education. (2000). (1999).J. Frankfurt. Über das Denken in Modellen. and Volke D. Modell och Verklighet A. Justi R. London. Boulter (Eds. Gilbert and C.K. and Gilbert J. (1997). J. Stockholm. Thousand Oaks. 369387. Kluwer Academic Publishers..). Teachers' knowledge of models and modelling in science. and implications for the education of modellers. Lüning B.. Gilbert and C. Science Education. (1999).J. Research on instructional strategies for teaching science. InterViews.. Sage Publications. (2000). (1994). 2005. and Gallard. 209-226). In J. and Gilbert J. (1963). 24.T. A. 70... Schmidt H. Tobin K. Longmans. International Journal of Science Education. 83. Natur och Kultur. 163-177. Boulter (Eds. 6 (1).. Wahlström E. Handbook of research on science teaching and learning (pp. Diesterweg.K. Handbook for Teachers. History and philosophy of science through models: Some challenges in the case of ’The atom‘. 583604...Michal Drechsler and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt 34 Hägg G. K. 1141-1153. (2002).-J. Kvale S. Modelling. International Journal of Science Education.. (2003).S. Schmidt H.. Science Education. Rayner-Canham G.J... Sage Publications. International Journal of Science Education. Shift of meaning and students' alternative concepts.D. Science Education. 227-251).). (1996). Students' misconceptions – Looking for a pattern. Nuffield Foundation (1968). Falköping. Thousand Oaks. Gabel (Ed. Justi R.. (pp.K. 81..M. and Verloop N.K. (1994). Allmän och oorganisk kemi. 246-247. In J. 4570). 123135.H.S. (pp. Models in explanations of chemistry: the case of acidity.). Nuffield Foundation (1969).H. 13. Developing Models in Science Education. and West L. 22. Introduction and Guide. G. 25.). 21. Kluwer Academic Publishers. Keller. 1409-1424. Concepts of acids and bases. and Gilbert. Van Driel J. and Viklund G. (1986). Pines L.-J. Qualitative data analysis (2nd ed. Teaching with historical models. Longmans. 993-1009. (1977). Nuffield Chemistry. Almqvist & Wiksell förlag AB. teachers’ views on the nature of modelling. Conceptual understanding and science learning: An interpretation of research within a sources-of-knowledge framework.. Pilström H. Justi.S. London.. (2000). Miles M. Nuffield Chemistry. R.A. 19-35 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . (1994). Dordrecht. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. and Huberman A. Tippins D. 459-471. New York... Macmillan. 23.. Schmidt H. International Journal of Science Education. A label as a hidden persuader – Chemists’ neutralization concept.S. A cause of ahistorical science teaching: Use of hybrid models.-J. Journal of College Science Teaching.B. (2000). In L.J. Justi R. (1991)... International Journal of Science Education. Oversby J.

discuss some points of the interview. acid1 + base2 ⇄ base1 + acid2) o o o o o o ! Do you see them as several models? Do you discuss the use of models in chemistry in general? Do you discuss the differences between acid-base reactions and redox reactions of acids? Which textbook do you use? Do you find it clear with respect to acids and bases? Do you have any experience from the previous chemistry courses and previous books? What is better now and has anything become worse? How does the book use and explain the use of models in chemistry? Presentation of multiple choice questions ! Explain the research project in detail.Michal Drechsler and Hans-Jürgen Schmidt 35 Appendix 1 Interview guide • Introduction o Presentation: About the interviewer and the research project o Permission to use tape recorder o Questions from interviewee. and schools? o Favourite domain in chemistry ! Why is it your favourite? ! How do you introduce / teach it? ! What do students think about it? o Are there other domains you do not like to teach? ! Why do you dislike them? ! Are there any differences in the way you teach them compared to the one above? ! How do you introduce / teach them? ! Do you think the book is clear in this domain? ! What do students think about this domain? Main Phase o I would now want to talk about acids and bases. regarding the interview procedure Briefing o Teaching experience. permission to use the recording. Discuss the different models related to acid-base chemistry. • • • Debriefing o I have no further questions. Our conclusions from the multiple choice questions. 2005. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. what problems do students have in understanding acids and bases? o How do you introduce acids and bases? ! Do you use Brønsted’s definition? ! How do you move on? ! How do you explain acid-base reactions? ! How do you write equations? (acid + base → salt + water. 6 (1). Questions from the interviewee. 19-35 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . years. What is your opinion about this part? o Do you think it is easy to teach? o In your opinion.

Schmidt et al. Throughout this 1994... Department of Secondary Science Education. mismatches between teacher and student knowledge of science (Hodge. prior to formal science persistent. In the conventional curriculum development. 6 (1). showed significantly greater achievement in the unit than did the students in the control group. the misconceptions learners may hold generally hinder their subsequent learning (Ben-Zvi et al. 1987. 36-51] Keywords: new teaching material. 2001). There are a variety of sources of misconceptions. Also. but their theories are frequently contrary to those of scientists (Osborne et al.. These are: experiences encountered in daily life (Head. accepted 14 January 2005 Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects on students’ achievement and misconceptions of new teaching material developed for the unit ’acids and bases‘. de Vos et al.. 36-51 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . The students’ misconceptions in experimental group were less than the control group. learners’ misconceptions should be taken into consideration in the developing of science curricula.. e-mail: gdemir@ktu. Alipaşa Ayas and Hülya Demircioğlu KTU Fatih Education Faculty. Söğütlü Mevkii. teachers. the experimental group had a significantly higher score than the control group with regard to their attitudes toward chemistry. many of the current science curricula and textbooks have not addressed the persistence of any misconceptions. Received 26 May 2004. 2005. conceptual conflict. 1997). The results from the post-tests indicated that the students in the experimental group. alternative conceptions. [Chem. 1990). Res. 1982). 2003) and textbooks (Stake et al.. the term ’misconceptions‘ has been used to refer to these ideas that are not in agreement with accepted scientific ideas. The research was carried out with an experimental/control group design. and difficult to extinguish even with instruction designed to address them. chemistry education. Students’ self-constructed conceptions have been referred to in the literature as misconceptions. curricula have been generally taken up as a whole and prepared by Chemistry Education Research and Practice. Demircioğlu et al. 2005. 61335. traditional instructional language (Bergquist et al. taught with the new teaching material. conceptual change and misconceptions. 1991. Pract.. Turkey. Unfortunately. preconceptions. Akçaabat/TRABZON. Also. naive conceptions etc (Driver et al. 1999. and lasted for four weeks. Misconceptions are resistant to change. 1986.. This shows that the implementation of the new material produced better results both in terms of achievement and attitudes.. The sample consisted of eighty-eight students. 1993). 1978. Two instruments ’The Concept Achievement Test‘ and ’Chemistry Attitude Scale‘ were used to collect data before and after the study as pre-tests and post-tests. 6 (1). Educ.Educational research Conceptual change achieved through a new teaching program on acids and bases Gökhan Demircioğlu*. the students’ attitudes towards chemistry were explored. chemical terms that have changed their meaning (Schmidt. Haidar et al. In addition. So. 1978). Krishnan et al. de Posada. 1985). Introduction Research has indicated that students often construct their own theories about how the natural world works. The new material included worksheets based on the conceptual conflict strategy.

. 2002)..... students can experience conceptual change. 2000).. It is important to create a learning environment in the classroom where students can make sense of science and use science to make sense of the world. This shows that each individual’s learning style is different. The concepts examined include equilibrium (Banerjee. A cognitive conflict can be produced by a situation consisting of disequilibria – that is. Osborne et al. Students’ conceptions of acids and bases It is known that chemistry is one of the most difficult subjects in secondary schools. 1992. 1999). 1995). atoms and molecules (Griffiths et al. Ebenezer et al. Ünal et al. there are four steps: (1) learners must become dissatisfied with their existing conceptions.. 1981). 1993. 1996). 1991).. and covalent bonding (Peterson et al. cognitive conflict is known as an important factor in conceptual change (Posner et al. 1989.. 1991). 1983). 1991. 1993). 6 (1)... This type of studies has been phrased as ’conceptual change models‘ (Posner et al. Demircioğlu et al. Hewson et al.. Hand et al. 2005. Many of the Chemistry Education Research and Practice. 1971).. the expected achievement level hasn’t been reached. 1974.. Guzzetti et al. many strategies have been suggested for facilitating conceptual change in the literature (Driver. with this approach. 36-51 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . 1993). Smith et al. Therefore. chemical reaction (Barker et al. 1984. stoichiometry (BouJaoude et al. 1985).. (3) the new conception must be plausible. questions of felt lacunae that arise when the student attempts to apply existing schemas to a new situation (Mischel. conceptual change has been described as part of a learning mechanism that requires the learners to change their conceptions about a phenomenon or principle either through restructuring or integrating new information into their existing schemata (Hewson. In this model.. 1991. Strike. Hewson and Hewson (1983) employed a conceptual change approach to promote conceptual change in students regarding density. The methods and strategies used in such an environment should guide students toward science. Basili and Sandford (1991). 1992). Niaz. it is suggested that learners construct their knowledge and concepts in the direction of their abilities and experiences (Osborne et al. 1989. 1982. Based on conceptual change theory. engaging students in a process of knowledge restructuring. acids and bases (Ross et al. Kelly and Monger (1973) explored that. various teaching models have been developed to change learners’ misconceptions into scientific conceptions.. After these conditions have been met. For this reason. learners’ existing ideas are important to make sense of new experiences and new information (Wittrock. Research on students’ understanding of chemistry concepts has revealed that students have many misconceptions. have found that most students retain their misconceptions. Roth (1985) also prepared specific curriculum materials. 1982. (2) the new conception must be intelligible. and Gertzog (1982). In this model. Over the last three decades or so.. et al. 1986. Dykstra et al. This study showed that the use of instructional strategies taking students' misconceptions into account results in better acquisition of scientific conceptions. curriculum development has begun to be conducted for individual topics or concepts during the last three decades or so (Osborne et al. gases (Benson. and teachers may have difficulty teaching for conceptual change.. even though there are still questions about its positive and negative effects on science. 1991. Moreover. Alipaşa Ayas and Hülya Demircioğlu 37 central commissions. Hewson et al.. and (4) the new conception must be fruitful. and teachers’ ideas have often been ignored. 1995). which describes the conditions of conceptual change. In general. phase changes (Bar et al.Gökhan Demircioğlu. Several researchers have shown that instruction based on conceptual change can be effective at changing students’ chemistry conceptions (Basili et al. which is a relatively new approach in curriculum development in science.. Hewson.. many of the students have difficulties in understanding fundamental concepts (Kavanaugh et al. however.. The best-known conceptual change model has been that of Posner. 1991). According to the constructivist view of learning. mass and volume concepts. 1982). Duffy et al. 2000).

The results were depicted in concept maps and compared to the model concept map. The concepts are related to many of the other chemistry concepts. Cros et al. 1986. The study was started with a multiple-choice test. 2003. 1988. the most frequently mentioned being hydrochloric (93%). such as heat being released during an acidbase reaction. In a follow-up study done by Cros (1988). they developed and implemented a curriculum about ’Acids and Bases‘ based on the conceptual change approach. such as the nature of matter. (1986). 1994. Hand et al. This test was used to gain additional information for the interviews and to select the participants. and solutions. (1994) suggested that pupils’ ideas about acids are Chemistry Education Research and Practice. Nakhleh et al. The second interviews were conducted four weeks after the first interviews.. or picture. The results of the test showed that only students studying chemistry could answer basic recall questions correctly.Gökhan Demircioğlu. 2004).. Almost all these misconceptions relate specifically to acids. an acid can burn you. Two of these fundamental concepts in chemistry are acids and bases. it was found that some of the students in the second year had modified their concepts. In addition. Alipaşa Ayas and Hülya Demircioğlu 38 topics about which students hold misconceptions are basic to chemistry knowledge and are interrelated. In the second interviews. investigating 400 first-year university students’ conceptions of the constituents of matter and conceptions of acids and bases. Some students had been taught more sophisticated ideas in a pure chemistry course. The author concluded that the biologists did better because they were not having any interference from new definitions. 36-51 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . each student was asked to write five words or phrase he or she associated with acids and bases.. However. Botton. Demircioğlu et al. (4) A base is something which makes up an acid. The first interviews conducted three days after the administration of the multiple-choice test included tasks written on a card that contained a stimulus in the form of a drawing. found that the students knew more about acids than bases and had a good knowledge of formal descriptive aspects. 43% couldn’t name more than two. Demircioğlu. Driver et al. 2001. while others had studied a broader based science course or biology. Cros et al. They noted that students found it easy to give examples of acids. other concepts had hardly changed. A test based on the five original misconceptions was administered to the group. (3) To neutralize is to break down an acid or to change from an acid. Then. sulphuric (61%). there have been a number of studies that address various aspects of students’ understanding about acids and bases (Cros et al. and ethanoic acids (56%). diagram. (2) Testing of an acid can only be done by trying to eat something away. 1995. Demircioğlu et al. and (5) A strong acid can eat material away faster than a weak acid. These studies involved students at different stages in their school or university training. Hand and Treagust (1991) identified five key misconceptions about acids and bases among sixty 16-year-old students. chemical reaction. which aimed to remedy the student misconceptions. stoichiometry. Ross and Munby (1991) reported this misconception in their study too. 6 (1). Hand (1989) followed up twenty-four of the students reported in Hand and Treagust (1991). the former descriptive definition for acids (pH less than 7) replaced a scientific definition (an acid releases or can release H+). Nakhleh et al. but when asked to list three bases. Ross and Munby (1991) conducted two audio taped interviews with each participant. but they had inadequate conceptions of concrete phenomena. 17% answered that pH was a measurement of the degree of acidity. The results showed that students taught by using the new curriculum about ’Acid and Bases‘ topic have had a higher achievement than those taught by using conventional methods. 2005. chemical equilibrium. The interviews were grounded on a model concept constructed from the curriculum. for example. Ross and Munby (1991) found that students understand more about acids than bases and had particular problems with the ionic nature of acids and bases. 2000.. Some of these studies are reviewed below. Sisovic et al.. These were: (1) An acid is something which eats material away. In the literature.. while those studying biology did best overall. 1993. 1991. In order to investigate students’ understanding of acids and bases.

pH meters. compulsory. disembedding ability was involved in situations that required conceptual understanding alone. pH is a compound called phenolphthalein. but less so with situations involving complex conceptual situations and/or chemical calculations. and even different pH solutions have different colors). When students came to the Chemistry Education Research and Practice. Science was a compulsory subject in Turkish schools until recently. a chemical reaction and a number related to intensity. presented by various technologies. 1. pH. and from advertisements for antacid remedies and crime stories about acid baths and news about the effects of acid rain. Kousathana. 3. Schmidt (1991) has stressed the example of a common misconception about neutralisation: that the neutralisation of acid and base always gives a neutral product. ionic equilibria. 6 (1). and microcomputer-based (MBL). they also established that some of students who participated in the study had the following misconceptions. was designed to change students’ misconceptions about acid and bases to scientific conceptions. students were divided into three groups. Alipaşa Ayas and Hülya Demircioğlu 39 derived from sensory experiences such as tasting sour foods. The results indicated that the order of the influence of technology on understanding is: MBL>chemical indicator>pH meter. and phenolphthalein helps with neutralization. 36-51 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . After the initial interviews. definition of Brønsted-Lowry acids and bases. On the other hand. Developmental level was connected to most cases of concept understanding and application. In order to investigate students’ understanding of acids and bases. students individually performed the same set of titrations using different technologies: chemical indicators. 2005. Within each group. 2. The pH is inversely related to harm and bases are not harmful. In addition to this. Disembedding ability clearly had a larger effect. Since Nakhleh and Krajcik (1994) investigated how different levels of information. and in combination with chemical calculations. They found that both variables played an important role in the performance of the sample (N = 119). Kousathana and Tsaparlis (2004b) investigated the effect of two psychometric variables: developmental level and disembedding ability or cognitive style on twelfth-grade uppersecondary students’ ability to deal with conceptual understanding and chemical calculations. 5. base. Acids melt metals. 6. acids are colored pink. and Tsaparlis (2004a) constructed and utilized a questionnaire consisting of ten multiple-choice and eight open-type questions. Demerouti. especially in demanding cases. Some of the misconceptions identified in the above studies were used to develop the test in the study reported here. Demerouti. and free of charge in public schools. acids are strong and bases are not strong. Only one of the studies above.Gökhan Demircioğlu. not compulsory and free of charge in public schools. they used concept maps constructed from the propositions that the students used in interviews conducted before and after a series of acid-base titration. He refers to the ‘neutralisation’ label as ‘a hidden persuader’: after all pupils are usually introduced to neutralisation reactions through examples where strong acids react with strong bases to give a neutral solution. conducted by Hand and Treagust (1991). Some of the misconceptions are similar to those reported elsewhere in the literature. Acids and bases have their own particular color or color intensity (bases are colored blue. The test was given to 119 Greek students in the twelfth grade. Bubbles or bubbling is a sign of chemical reaction or strength. b) Secondary Education which is three years. buffer solutions. and degree of ionization. The Science Curriculum in Turkey The current Turkish Education System consists of these components: a) Basic Education which is eight years. They found that the students had misconceptions and difficulties on the following topics: dissociation and ionization. and pH concepts. The molecules fight and combine. influenced secondary students’ understanding of acid. neutralization. 4.

Chemistry Education Research and Practice. assessment tools and methods (Ayas.. lycee II chemistry curriculum. Moreover. and poor teacher preparation are commonly faced in the study context as well (Ayas et al. assessment tools and methods left to teachers. with the remainder resting on the shoulders of teachers. teaching and learning activities. and buffers. the properties of acids and bases. 1976). Thus. The purpose of the present study Students’ interests in science were another important factor in learning science (Hofstein et al. Does the new teaching material promote conceptual change concerning acids and bases? The Development of the New Teaching Material The new teaching material related to the unit ’acids and bases‘ was taught to grade 10 students. the concepts are studied in more detail again. in Turkey. Different and new materials developed for teaching any science topics were thought to play an important role on students’ attitudes toward science. teaching and learning activities. learning results. Alipaşa Ayas and Hülya Demircioğlu 40 secondary schools (Lycees) they had to take chemistry. In recent curriculum development studies. strength of acids and bases. 6 (1). 36-51 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of the NTM about the unit ’acids and bases‘ on students’ chemistry achievement.. aims and behavioral objectives of related topic have been determined.. Then. determining special aims of topics. base and salt are taught initially in the eighth grade (age 13-14) of the basic education. special aims of topics. 2005. There are no accompanied teacher guides. the worldwide problems of education such as overcrowding. That is. To develop the NTM. and annual plans prepared by chemistry teachers to determine the depth. lack of materials. In the second year of secondary (tenth grade) school. it only contains general purposes. could not describe behavioral objectives at the expected level for each of the topics. 1993). In addition. Karamustafaoğlu and Keser. For this study. Akdeniz. It is the last unit in the curriculum. The NTM was designed to help students: a) correlate scientific knowledge with their existing conceptions and b) use their new knowledge when they describe and explain new phenomena. topics of subject area and subtitles of each topic. (2000) found that teachers. 1. as in the ‘Chemistry Draft Program’ developed and piloted by the National Ministry of Education in 1998. behavioral objectives. However. misconceptions and attitudes toward chemistry in the tenth grade. hydrolysis of salts. Ayas et al. our hypothesis is that the developed teaching material in this study increases students’ achievement and attitudes regarding chemistry. 1993. we developed new teaching material (NTM) designed to encourage conceptual conflict for those students holding misconceptions about acids and bases. inadequate laboratories. The unit contains the theories of acids and bases. physics and biology as compulsory subjects. 2001). even experienced ones. The curricula for these three subjects comprise only textbook based syllabuses. The curriculum should normally include general purposes. neutralization (titration). laboratory manuals or computer programs for simulations etc. Would the new teaching material or traditional introduction be more effective in improving students’ achievement and attitudes? 2. However. size and time devoted for teaching the unit. but it has not been pursued since then. several chemistry textbooks are prepared according to the national curricula prepared by the National Ministry of Education. All textbooks are sequenced in the same order of topics. teaching tools. learning results. topics of domain.Gökhan Demircioğlu. The following research questions were specifically addressed. The time devoted to the unit is 17 hours. teaching tools. The concepts of acid. we examined a number of related resources such as the Turkish chemistry textbooks. and behavioral objectives.

The experimental group teacher (teacher A). From this. Alipaşa Ayas and Hülya Demircioğlu 41 we developed nine worksheets. each of which consisted of 22-24 students. it includes three lectures and two laboratory sessions. we prepared material that consists of eighteen lesson plans (each lesson lasts 45 minutes) and requires the students’ active participation. informal students and teachers interviews and classroom observations were carried out. Informal interviews with the teachers showed that their main goals for the chemistry course were to help students pass the University Entrance Examination. There are eight classes at grade 10. but with a different teaching approach. These were: (1) the student misconceptions identified from interviews and pretests. it was revised. 2005. Each teacher had two tenth grade classes that participated in the study. The NTM was first piloted in a tenth grade class consisting of forty students. the teachers encouraged their students to solve many multiple-choice questions to prepare themselves for University Entrance Examination in the chemistry courses. five demonstrations and three analogies aiming at remedying the misconceptions identified from the interviews and the concept achievement test implemented prior to the study. Two of the four chemistry teachers in the school volunteered to participate in the study. the other teacher and her two classes became the control group. In a typical instructional sequence. The implementation procedure of one of the worksheets used in this study is shown in Figure 1. However. In this strategy. Students' ages ranged from 16 to 17 years old. Both experimental and control groups were observed during the implementation of the unit. Once one of the teachers and her two classes were randomly chosen as the experimental group. So.Gökhan Demircioğlu. parents. In addition. using the traditional approach. As can be seen from this. each worksheet consists of three sections. During the pilot study. The chemistry course in the school consists of five 45-minute periods per week. (2) the practical activity (3) questions. although she only transferred to the present school five years ago. Method Subjects The subjects for this study were eighty-eight tenth grade students from a secondary school on the north coast of Black Sea Region in Turkey. paper-andpencil tests. While preparing the NTM. the researchers held meetings as often as necessary to correct any misuse of the NTM as well as the teaching strategy. Thus. Procedure The teacher of the experimental group was introduced to the NTM and to the teaching strategy (conceptual conflict) for two weeks and underwent training on the appropriate use of the NTM before implementation in order to be sure that the NTM was used as we planned. while the experimental teacher tried to help their students recognize and resolve the conflict between Chemistry Education Research and Practice. The school has nearly 900 students in total. The control group teacher (teacher B). 6 (1). The NTM covered the entire content of the current curriculum about the unit ‘acids and bases’. there was a need to determine the students’ preconceptions and the existence of any misconceptions before any teaching plan was prepared. had 13 years of experience teaching chemistry. 36-51 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . the same number of lessons. students. we could say that the teachers had similar experience in teaching chemistry. had 12 years of experience and has only ever taught in this school. In total. Based on the results. using the new material. and school principals value success on this examination. the chemistry teachers in the school generally conduct lectures in the classroom setting and rarely use the laboratory. an important part of the courses was used for this aim. we benefited from the ideas of ten experienced chemistry teachers and two chemistry educators. According to them. The NTM was developed and implemented with a conceptual conflict strategy.

NaOH solution 3. vinegar. the teacher made use of the pre-designed analogies for some concepts. the students have changed their misconceptions. You are going to test the unknown solution after finishing the other tests. 36-51 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . Follow the sequence in the chart below. As an example. Tools and materials needed for the activity: test tubes. Then place 2-3 drops of the indicator into each of the test tubes. the students encountered the misconceptions without any indication that they were misconceptions. plastic. Figure 1: Example of a worksheet used in the study The purpose of the following activity is to remedy the following student misconceptions. An unknown solution Litmus Phenolphthalein Methyl orange Red cabbage Questions: Which solutions used in the activity are acidic? Why? Can you use red-cabbage juice to test a liquid whether it is an acid or a base? What do you have to know about an indicator before you use it? Why? Instruments Chemistry Education Research and Practice. and us. such as lemon juice. soapy water. Lemon juice 4. such as theories of acid and base. etc. After these discussions. The only way to test a sample whether it is an acid or a base is to see if it eats something away. experiments that could be harmful to the students were demonstrated by the teacher. as well as the misconceptions presented at the top of each worksheet. If the students have different misconceptions. Soapy water 6. red cabbage. to scientifically sound concepts. Then the practical activity on the worksheet was carried out to create a clear sign of the concept under investigation in the students’ mind. animal. we generally preferred to use substances often used in daily life. the control group teacher used a teacher-centered approach mainly involving talk and chalk sessions without practical sessions. coke. At the end of each practical activity. 2005. small group (four or five students per group) and whole class discussions took place under the guidance of the class teacher to encourage students to think about their misconceptions and the outcome of the activity.Gökhan Demircioğlu. These were usually done before the second stage. In addition. Carefully record the color in the test tubes. methyl orange. place about 4 cm3 of each solution in different test tubes. the lessons in the experimental group generally focused on the prepared worksheets. i. Solution 1. relative strengths of acids and bases and equilibria of weak acid and base. Carrying out the activity: In this test you will be using three known indicators and red-cabbage juice. Vinegar 5. NaOH solution. In each of the activities. 6 (1). At this stage. baking soda. vinegar. phenolphthalein. HCl solution 2. the implementation procedure of one of the worksheets is described below: The first stage of each worksheet was focused on the misconceptions described at the top of each worksheet (Figure 1). Alipaşa Ayas and Hülya Demircioğlu 42 personal knowledge and scientific knowledge with the NTM. for example metal. lemon juice. red cabbage. In each test. whether a liquid is an acid or a base can just be determined by using litmus paper. This was used at the start of the lesson to create a cognitive conflict. Also. dropper. During this process. The two groups spent equal time studying the unit. However. designed to encourage conceptual conflict for those students holding misconceptions about acids and bases. ii. The students indicated that these phrases were generally true. litmus. HCl solution. the misconceptions were checked up in our sample. analogies and demonstrations from the NTM. other than the ones on the worksheet they were discussed before going forward to the actual activity.

students were categorized by the grades they received on the teacher-made exams in chemistry as high achievers. *D. Some weak acids can be tasted.92. These experts checked the correspondence between the items in the CAT and the identified misconceptions. Acids burn and melt everything Beverages with soda contain weak bases. The interviews were conducted approximately three months before teaching the acids and bases topic. The items in CAT were multiple-choice and constructed based on a methodology used by Peterson. Alipaşa Ayas and Hülya Demircioğlu 43 The Concept Achievement Test (CAT) A twenty-item test related to the concepts of acids and bases unit was constructed for the purpose of identifying the students’ understanding and misconceptions in chemistry. B. For the interviews. All acids have bubbles. The interviews were analyzed to obtain a list of students’ misconceptions about acids and bases. The teachers were asked to select ten volunteers from middle achievers in chemistry. the literature related to students' misconceptions about the acids and bases concepts was examined. and three reasonable and plausible distracters. For the reliability of the CAT. 2005. a review of research on students’ misconceptions about these concepts was conducted to gather more information and validate the findings of interviews (Hesse. The identified misconceptions were used to develop the multiple-choice items of CAT. All the interviews were audio taped and transcribed verbatim by the researchers. 6 (1). one common misconception revealed in the previous studies and found out during the interview sessions. Students completed CAT in a 45 minutes period. The correct answer of this item was option ’D‘. the final form of CAT has included the elected 20 items. Each item in the CAT included one scientifically acceptable answer. an item analysis was made. Third. the CAT was examined by a group of experts consisting of three chemistry educators in the Chemistry Department in the Faculty of Education and five high school chemistry teachers who had taught chemistry for over ten years at the central lycees in the city of Trabzon. the following steps were taken into consideration. First. and low achievers. Interviews with students The grade 10 students were individually interviewed for 30 to 40 minutes to obtain their preconceptions about the concepts of the acids and bases. The t-test was used to compare the pre-test and posttest scores of the groups. Interview results were used to construct the items of the CAT. For purposes of content validation and reduction of errors. The alpha reliability coefficient (KR20) was found 0.Gökhan Demircioğlu. and Garnett (1986) and Treagust (1988). In addition. And then. 1988). 36-51 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . During the development of the CAT. E. CAT was piloted with forty students from grade 10. and they determined that there was an acceptable correct choice for each item of CAT. based on the current curriculum. Strong acids melt and destroy metals. as marked by an asterisk (*). The common misconception in this item was that “Acids burn and melt everything”. middle (average) achievers. instructional objectives related to the acids and bases topic were determined. Second. Appendix A shows the questions used in the interviews. Treagust. After conducting the item analysis. An example of items in CAT was: Item 8: Which one of following is a correct statement about the effects of the acids and bases? A. Six students were male and four female. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. C. interviews were conducted with ten high school students who were randomly selected from the sample to investigate in depth their misconceptions. A semi-structured approach was used in the interviews.

05) and chemistry attitude scale (t = 0. Alipaşa Ayas and Hülya Demircioğlu 44 Chemistry Attitude Scale (CAS) We also developed the CAS. 6 (1). While the ratings ranged from Strongly Agree (5) to Strongly Disagree (1) for the 11 positive statements. Design The study utilized ‘a nonequivalent pretest-posttest control group design’ (Campbell and Stanley.001 (Table 1). df = 86.Gökhan Demircioğlu.05). Items in the CAS were designed to measure students’ attitudes toward the learning of chemistry. The mean scores of the groups were compared by using t test for both the pre-tests and post-tests. items in the CAS needed to measure this. T2 the CAS. T2 T1. “I am looking forward to taking more chemistry courses”.9 raw score seemed to be quite high. After an item analysis based on a pilot. The reliability coefficient was 0. A reason for this was that the topic Chemistry Education Research and Practice. EG CG Pre-test T1.0. the post-tests scores of the groups could be compared using an independent t-test. p < 0. agree.9. This factor explained 44% of variance. Because a goal of the NTM was for the students to hold more positive attitudes toward the learning of chemistry after they were taught with the NTM. 36-51 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . were used for the 14 negative statements. This finding showed that students in the experimental group exhibited significantly higher science achievement scores than did students in the control group. we selected 25 items from 42 items. p > 0. T2 T1. SD= 12. T2 EG represents Experimental Group. Results and Discussion The CAT and CAS were administered to both the experimental and control group students before the instruction. As there were no significant differences between the pre-test scores of the experimental and the control groups. the mean of the experimental group was lower than it was expected.9) t= 4. T1 represents CAT. Sample attitude items crafted for instrument included: “I like chemistry”. SD= 15.7) and the control group (M= 60. the total score of each student on the CAS and then mean score of each group were computed. The data showed that there was a significant difference in chemistry achievement between the experimental group (M= 73.439. In the analysis of the CAS. The CAS contains items in a 5point Likert-scale (strongly agree. No statistically significant mean difference was found between the two groups with respect to chemistry achievement (t = 0. p. 43). the reverse ratings. and “I enjoy learning how to use chemistry in daily life”. Strongly Agree (1) to Strongly Disagree (5). The first research question asked whether the new teaching material or traditional introduction would be more effective in improving the students’ achievement and attitudes. p > 0.84 and validated by three professors in the field of education. 2005. indicating that students in the experimental and control groups were similar in respect of these two variables. T2 Instruction X1 X2 Post-test T1. df = 86. The score from the CAS can range from the lowest (25) to the highest (100). firstly. using the NTM (X1) while CG represents the control group. 1963.406. Although the mean difference of 13.496. this study was quasi-experimental in nature. undecided. partially disagree. using the traditional approach (X2). One factor was identified by factor analysis: attitude towards chemistry. Because we were unable to assign the students randomly to the groups due to constrains of the context. which contains 25 attitude statements (11 positive and 14 negative). strongly disagree).

as shown in Table 2.. Tsai.013 t p The results of the t-test (Table 1) also denoted that significant differences found between groups in favor of experimental group (t = 2. Ayas et al. 2002. 1991. 2001. and us”. with regard to their attitudes toward chemistry. from 2 % to 41 % in the control group (Table 2). 1993.4 SD 15. and CAS Groups Measures CAT CAS Experimental group N 44 44 Mean 73. This misconception is also widespread among the student teachers (Demircioğlu et al. The data indicate that it contributed significantly to a better understanding of the topic ’acids and bases‘ as the experimental group reached a higher level on post-tests. The second research question asked whether the use of the teaching material based on the cognitive conflict strategy promoted conceptual change concerning acids and bases.528. 1994. As can be seen from Table 2. “As the number of hydrogens increases in the formula of an acid.7 SD 12. 2005.013).9 13 4. 2002). Prior to the instruction. drawing conclusions. the most common misconception among students in both groups was that "All salts are neutral" (Table 2). but the experimental group did better than the control group. Comparison of the Experimental and Control Groups for Overall Differences in CAT. a few students maintained their misconceptions. In both groups the percentages of student misconceptions decreased on the post-tests. The experimental group students spent longer time than the control group in the laboratory. Before the treatment.9 79. such as the particulate nature of matter. the percentages of the misconceptions held by the students in the experimental group ranged from 18 % to 84 %.496 2.9 N 44 44 Control group Mean 60. they had a lot of experience in measuring. p = 0. This shows that the subjects have a great number of misconceptions related to the concepts under investigation. and those of the students in the control group ranged from 20 % to 95 %. Table 1.. plastic. Thus.. These findings support previous research studies on the effectiveness of the teaching for conceptual change (Guzzetti et al. After the instruction. acids becomes harmless and bases are not harmful”. “The only way to test a sample whether it is an acid or a base is to see if it eats something away. “pH solutions have different colors”. animal. interpreting. for example metal. Alipaşa Ayas and Hülya Demircioğlu 45 ’Acids and Bases‘ was related to many other chemistry topics.7 10. The percentages of the students’ misconceptions in both groups on the pre-test and the post-test are given in Table 2. 36-51 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . and chemical equilibrium. the percentages of the misconceptions held ranged from 0 % to 10 % in the experimental group. 2003.).528 0. and making generalizations.0 74. This may generate more positive attitudes towards chemistry. Although these results are encouraging. Ayas et al. The students were more active in the laboratory approach in the NTM than in the traditional laboratory.. the students in both groups held almost the same misconceptions on the pre-tests. 6 (1).. 1999) However. they are still below the expected level. The students in the experimental group had completely corrected the following misconceptions: “as pH increases.000 0. its acidity becomes stronger”. which are depicted in the Table 2.Gökhan Demircioğlu. oxidation and reduction.. Hand et al. 1991. The misconceptions obtained from the subject of this study support previous findings in the literature (Ross et al. “Bubbles or bubbling is a sign of chemical reaction or strength of an acid or a base”. The misconceptions reflected by the distracters in multiplechoice items in the test are the common misconceptions in a certain conceptual area. Demircioğlu. Nakhleh et al. The Chemistry Education Research and Practice.

acids turns red litmus paper into blue. acidity increases While bases turn blue litmus paper into red. because its intra-molecular bonds are very strong. there are neither H+ nor OH. it can be seen that many students explained the testing of an acid based on sensory perceptions. for example Chemistry Education Research and Practice. Songer et al. are extremely hard to remove (Novak. As the number of hydrogen atoms increases in the formula of an acid. The percentages of students’ misconceptions determined in the pre-tests and posttests in the experimental and control groups Experimental Group Student Misconceptions Acids burn and melt everything All acids and bases are harmful and poisonous As pH increases. acids become harmless and bases are not harmful Different pH solutions have different colors. 6 (1). In addition. Alipaşa Ayas and Hülya Demircioğlu 46 reason for this could be the lack of active participation in acquiring of knowledge. 2005.ions in the resulting solutions A strong acid is always a concentrated acid Bubbles or bubbling is a sign of chemical reaction or strength of an acid or a base Indicators help with neutralization As the value of pH increases. misconceptions. pH is a measure of acidity A strong acid doesn’t dissociate in water solution.. animal. 1994). 36-51 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . and us All salts are neutral Salts don’t have a pH value In all neutralization reactions. 1988.Gökhan Demircioğlu. The only way to test a sample whether it is an acid or a base is to see if it eats something away. Table 2. acid and base consume each other completely At the end of all neutralization reactions. for example metal. plastic. its acidity becomes stronger Species having formulas with hydrogen are acids and those having formulas with hydroxyl are bases Pre-test f 21 16 11 11 22 20 % 48 36 25 25 50 45 Post-test f 6 3 0 0 2 8 % 14 7 0 0 5 18 f 25 12 9 10 25 21 Control Group Pre-test % 57 27 20 23 57 48 Post-test f 13 4 3 5 12 10 % 30 9 7 11 27 23 20 37 26 32 26 8 13 15 8 12 24 18 45 84 59 73 59 18 30 34 18 27 55 41 0 8 3 5 10 2 0 6 3 1 0 1 0 18 7 11 23 5 0 14 7 2 0 2 24 42 29 35 22 10 16 15 11 9 26 21 55 95 66 80 50 23 36 34 25 20 59 48 11 18 9 13 19 1 6 10 1 1 12 5 25 41 20 30 43 2 14 23 2 2 27 11 If the results are examined in detail. often with statements such as “The only way to test a sample whether it is an acid or a base is to see if it eats something away. once embedded in a learner’s conceptual schemes.

in addition to simple titration activities that we used in this study. this conclusion may be Chemistry Education Research and Practice. This misconception was held by 18% of the experimental group students and 41% of the control group students on the post tests. Therefore. The concentration of H3O+ and OH. with 23% of the experimental group and 43% of the control group holding it.. especially microcomputer-based activities could be suggested as better teaching tools (Nakhleh et al. This conclusion was not surprising because the experimental group students spent longer time than the control group ones in the laboratory. their retention in the learner’s mind was greater. to some extent. However. none of the students in the experimental group did so. In the literature. This result supported the notion that it is not easy to eliminate misconceptions just by employing traditional instructional methods. Another major misconception was that “All salts are neutral”. especially in the control group.ions in the resulting solutions”. plastic. We have concluded that the students’ misunderstandings of the concepts of the acids and bases generally originated from their experiences in everyday life. the students in both groups had more difficulty in understanding the neutralization (titration process) and related concepts than the others in the unit. So. because of the complex structure of the neutralization concept. while 25% of the students in the control group maintained the misconception. In the teaching of this concept. That is. The students’ participation in the practical activities has caused not only greater understanding but also greater interest in the study of chemistry. neutral doesn’t mean that the two are not present in the medium. This result showed that when chemistry concepts were related to everyday life during teaching. failed to realize the central role of water in neutralization reactions. This result indicated that the NTM achieved success in moving the students’ attitudes in the desired direction. After the instruction.Gökhan Demircioğlu. using different technologies. and us”. They found that the students retain everyday concepts more than are scientific concepts. Additionally. The misconception indicated that most of the students. be effective in other cultures. Therefore methods used to remedy them may. Conclusions and Implications The results indicate that training with the NTM based on the conceptual change strategy was more successful in remedying students’ misconceptions on acids and bases than conventional instruction. 36-51 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . there are neither H+ nor OH. 45 % of the students in the experimental group and 55 % of the students in the control group held this misconception prior to instruction. instructional strategy should focus on: first. After the instruction. and also provide them with opportunities to apply the newly acquired concepts in a variety of situations. animal. The misconception indicated that the students had the idea that ‘acid and base consume each other completely in all neutralizations’. So. Alipaşa Ayas and Hülya Demircioğlu 47 metal. teachers should organize activities that encourage students to use their prior knowledge and experience.ions in the neutral aqueous solution is about 10-7 mol/l. 2005. and then the new knowledge should be constructed upon existing knowledge. what is known or unknown about the concepts of acids and bases. Another important conclusion was that the students in the experimental group attained more positive attitudes toward chemistry than did those in the control group. 1995) suggestion for the reason of this misconception was that students misunderstood the concepts of neutralization and neutrality. it is very important to include everyday substances in the activities. the most common misconception was that "At the end of all neutralization reactions. while teaching acids and bases. This finding was similar to that of Ross and Munby (1991). This discussion shows that there are a number of misconceptions that are not confined to students of one nationality only. Schmidt’s (1991. 1993). when preparing a teaching program and student-activities on the concepts. 6 (1).

E. Ulusal Eðitim Bilimleri Kongresi. Banerjee A. (2002). 64-66. Gazimagusa. Bar V. 293-304. 1993. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. Project Number: 21.. P. A. we have thought that the present study would be an important source for the chemistry teachers in Turkey as well as that in other countries. and Demircioğlu G. This study is important in emphasizing that the NTM and laboratory activities are quite influential on students’ achievement and attitudes. Eylon B. Ben-Zvi R.1. and Millar R. J.Gökhan Demircioğlu. Relevant research results about student conceptions should be communicated to teachers. Karamustafaoðlu O. England. May 8-10... 549-563.. (1993). they are more likely to cause a significantly better removal of misconceptions and acquisition of scientifically sound concepts. F. when suitable strategies are used in the teaching of the unit ’acids and bases‘. Is an atom of copper malleable? Journal of Chemical Education.(1991). and Sanford J. Pre-service and practising science teachers should be introduced to constructivist ideas of teaching and learning so that they become aware that the teacher’s role is not simply to transmit knowledge but to facilitate student learning. 363-382. Changing Needs.. 21. Atatürk Üniversitesi Kazým Karabekir Eðitim Fakültesi. 36-51 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry .001. because they are strong predictors of student achievement. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. Student teachers’ understanding and misconceptions of acids. International Journal of Science Education.. Ayas. In short. 587 – 597. Students’ reasoning about chemical reactions: what changes occur during a context-based post-16 chemistry course? International Journal of Science Education. (1999). Chemistry Education Research and Practice.. In this process. Benson D. curriculum developers to inform improvement in the practice. References Akdeniz A. Science Education. Misconceptions of students and teachers in chemical equilibrium. and Baur M. 28. 70. Pupils’ explanations of some aspects of chemical reactions. North Cyprus. (1986). First International Education Conference. Erzurum. Also. Acknowledgements This work was supported by the Research Fund of Karadeniz Technical University. (1991). Eastern Mediterranean University. (2000). 28. Basili. 645-665. 355-362. 30.. Ayas. 13.R.P. University of Southampton.. and Silberstein. 6 (1)..C. Ph. Students' preconceptions of the nature of gases. and Keser Ö. Journal of Research in Science Teaching.116. Öðrenme etkinliklerinin uygulanmasýnda hedef davranýþ tasarlamanýn rolü. Anderson B. Alipaşa Ayas and Hülya Demircioğlu 48 surprising for many science teachers in Turkey because they tend not to use labs and do not believe that the practical activities can influence their students’ attitudes towards science. 63.R. and Travis A. Barker V. current chemistry textbooks should be revised to include the elements of conceptual change. (1986). Wittrock M. bases and salts in chemistry.S. A. D. 2005. (1991). chemistry teachers should be encouraged to prepare teaching materials related to the other chemistry topics in the light of the models of conceptual change. Conceptual change strategies and cooperative group work in chemistry. Children’s views concerning phase changes.A. A study of teachers’ and students’ views of the upper secondary chemistry curriculum and students’ understanding of introductory chemistry concepts in the Black Sea Region of Turkey. Changing times. Thesis.L. IX. They should be informed about the usage and importance of worksheets based on conceptual change approach.. Teachers should be aware of students' prior knowledge and misconceptions on acids and bases.. 2002. In addition.

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Demircioğlu G. 6-8 Eylül 2000. lemon. Learning as a generative process. Ankara. The student was first shown four labeled cans of vinegar. The student observed the changes that occurred when the dilute acid and base were mixed. pH 7 and pH 12. Appendix A. 2005. Each example was then discussed as to whether the formula indicated an acid or base. Ulusal Fen Bilimleri ve Matematik Eğitimi Kongresi. (2000). and Ayas A. NaOH. Educational Psychologist.. 1187-95. ODTU Eğitim Fakültesi. Wittrock M. Ü. 5. and soapy water. The student was shown a beaker marked ’dilute acid‘. The student was then asked to describe what had happened to the acid and base.. The student was first shown four bottles labeled HCl. The student was shown an unlabelled beaker of liquid and was asked the question “How would you test this liquid without litmus paper whether it is acidic or basic?” 3. Kimyasal Denge Konusunun Öğrenciler Tarafõndan Anlaşõlma Düzeyi ve Karşõlaşõlan Yanõlgõlar. The student was shown three beakers marked pH 4. Ankara. Fen Bilimleri Eğitimi Kongresi. 2.. 427 – 432. Yõldõrõm A. 6 (1). Alipaşa Ayas and Hülya Demircioğlu 51 Ünal S. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. and was asked to describe the solutions. Özmen H. (2002). Özmen H. Interview questions 1.C. and Ayas. A.. 16-18 Eylül 2000. 36-51 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . (1974). Demircioğlu G.. NH3 and NaCl. 4. Lise Öğrencilerinin Kimyasal Bağlarla İlgili Anlama Düzeylerinin ve Yanõlgõlarõnõn Belirlenmesine Yönelik Bir Çalõşma. Each example was then discussed as to whether it might contain an acid or a base. V. dishwashing detergent. 6.Gökhan Demircioğlu. Eğitim Fakültesi. H. Bildiriler Kitabõ.. and was asked to describe the solution. IV.

the students were tested again with the same twenty questions. as they are provided with a variety of knowledge. However. Introduction Computer-aided instruction It is possible to acquire information through using computers and the Internet in science. They help to fill the gap between theory and practice through putting the previously learnt concepts and principles into computational attitudes.. Özge Özyalçin Oskay and Seçil Arda Hacettepe University. 1986). Received 3 September 2003. spatial visualization ability. computer-assisted education. One of the common teaching methods that chemistry teachers prefer today is the lecture method. The independent two-sample t-test was applied for the evaluation of the results of the study and there was a significant difference favoring the experimental group. 2005. 52-63 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . it is expected that computer-assisted applications affect the students’ achievement. 6 (1). which was developed in order to avoid the boredom caused by lectures and to provide a more efficient learning environment. students could learn the subject matter in a better way. Turkey. After this test. By using such teaching tools. [Chem. 6 (1).Educational research Traditional and computer-assisted learning in teaching acids and bases Inci Morgil*. 52-63] Keywords: acid-base chemistry. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. especially by chemistry classes of primary. learning styles. secondary and higher education. a 52% improvement was observed in the post-instruction test results of the students of the experimental group whereas the control group only improved by 31%. As a result. computational attitudes and learning styles of the students were not found to influence their test scores. In this the teacher transmits knowledge to the students who sit passively in the classroom and listen. the three-dimensional spatial visualization abilities. the experimental group received computer-assisted teaching and the control group was taught by traditional teaching methods for two days on the related subject. Pract. After two days of teaching. case studies allow the students to face the problems that occur in real life. acids and bases. The teaching tools prepared by institutions specializing in such applications could also be used in virtual media. Soner Yavuz. and a medium where they can observe the virtual experiments and repeat the same experiments many times if they request. Educ. On the other hand. Another common method is the question-and-answer approach. Res. computational attitudes and learning styles of the students on their acquisition of knowledge were investigated. Parallel to this. The three dimensional spatial visualization abilities. computational attitudes and learning styles of the students from both groups were assessed. The students were randomly distributed into control and experimental groups and their knowledge about acids and bases was assessed by a test comprising twenty questions. 2005. The best part of this method is that it enables the students to apply what they have learnt to what they are living through (Sönmez. Faculty of Education. e-mail: inci@hacettepe. were compared and the influences of the three dimensional spatial visualization abilities. accepted 6 December 2004 Abstract: The traditional and the computer-assisted teaching methods for teaching a fundamental topic within chemistry education.

The results of the evaluations showed that the experimental group was more successful at answering the questions of the Chemistry Achievement Test than the control group. there is a form of one-to-one instruction (or two students together at each computer). repeating parts of the exercise as they wish. electrical transmission. For understanding to occur. computers lack the human dimension and the ability to provoke thought by spontaneous questions and answers. 1990). to think through ideas and to revisit difficult areas. the achievement rate increased when the general chemistry applications were made through the CAI (Jackman. Computer programs can be used for practice. The students of the control group were taught through problem solving. The statistical evaluations displayed a higher achievement rate for the experimental group that received a computer-assisted test. 6 (1). the role of the teacher is to guide and help them where necessary. CAI has been shown to have some benefits. In another study.Inci Morgil. revision. plus the opportunity for the students to proceed at their own pace. In addition. one-to-one instruction. This study compared the effectiveness for learning of the technology-assisted and the traditional method. and the available software and hardware. In many studies. the teacher can use computers at different times and places according to the characteristics of the subject matter. & Brabson. 52-63 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . The students of the experimental group were taught with CAI in addition to the traditional teaching method. In a study that was conducted to find out the effects of the computer on attitudes. not all computer programs have these features. in which case. or simulations during the applications (Demirel. and other features to be viewed more realistically. This can be done by demonstrations when the teacher actively carries out the experiments in front of the class or demonstrates some materials (Bayramlõ. 2005. The effects of the CAI were assessed by Gerardo (1986). A good teacher can respond to the way a class is reacting to a lesson by the skillful use of such spontaneous questions and answers. secondary school students were distributed into control and experimental groups. 2000) or by the students who learn about a subject by carrying out experiments in the laboratory or classroom. In another study. Applications and the assessment were administered after the students were distributed into control and experimental groups. there is added variety and. problem solving. In contrast to the previously described methods. Levine and Donitsa-Schmidt (1996) compared the traditional learning strategies with computer-based activities. electrical wires and Ohm’s laws. students need to have the time to be able to handle new information. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. The science achievement rates of the two groups were compared through a t-test and the group that was taught through CAI was found to be more successful. The students were shown to be more successful in the technology-assisted applications. enabling threedimensional aspects. and the possible advantages of computer-assisted test programs (Jackson. This flexibility is not easy to develop in a computer program and the style of presentation will depend on the ingenuity of the program developer and his/her own understandings of the subject matter. Soner Yavuz. With CAI. novelty in CAI. although there are also cases where none were observed. Of course. None of these features are easily available in a didactic classroom situation. 1988). perhaps. motivation or learning. Özge Özyalçin Oskay and Seçil Arda 53 A useful part of instruction in chemistry is the performing of experiments. 1996). but the potential is certainly there. along with the potential to use vivid and animated graphics. Lord (1999) in a study of 90 high school students observed that they had difficulty in understanding the “nitrogen cycle” and experienced misconception problems when they were taught through traditional methods. in Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI). whereas that of the control group was done through a written test. the students. The assessment of the experimental group was done using computers. Demircioğlu and Geban (1996) compared CAI with the traditional teaching method on 6th grade students in science classes. Moellenberg. All of this may reflect features of many computer programs. The topics were static electricity. However.

Acids and bases Since Liebig defined acids as substances that form hydrogen when they react with metals in 1838. 52-63 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . Yõldõrõm. According to the results. However. The results of the post-test did not display a significant difference between the control and experimental groups about acquiring knowledge. Ertepõnar (1995) conducted a study on the effects of the two different teaching methods involving logical thinking skills. Multiplechoice and open–ended exam questions were used for the assessment of both groups. the retention tests showed that the experimental group retained knowledge better than the control group. The students were more interested in the computer-assisted applications. post-tests and retention tests were administered to both groups. The results showed that the application with two methods and the logical thinking skills of the students had a significant contribution to the achievement of the students in chemistry. Similarly to the study done by Denton (1972). scientific and critical thinking tests. Forty-nine 9th grade biology students were distributed into subject (hypermedia learning environment) and control (traditional) groups. OHP and the students were not allowed to ask any questions. The students who were guided through simulations could achieve better in the post-tests. The comparisons were evaluated through t-tests. Ybarrondo (1984) attempted to find out whether computerassisted teaching could increase the level of learning in high school biology classes. No significant difference was found between the post-test results of the groups who were taught through the learning cycle and the traditional method. The CAI applications were computer simulations. It was reported that the achievement rate of the treatment group was higher. computer-assisted education and students’ portfolios on the achievements of 119 high school chemistry students. the group that received computer-assisted teaching was found to be more successful than the other group. In a study by Durbin (2002). slides. Simulations were administered to the experimental group of students with and without guidance. Saul and Steinberg (2000) in the introduction to calculus by distributing the students into two groups and comparing the laboratory class method based on microcomputers and the traditional problem solving method. While Chemistry Education Research and Practice. Rivers and Vockell (1987) studied how to develop the problem solving skills of high school biology students by way of using computer simulations. many studies have been conducted about ways of teaching acids and bases. A similar study was conducted by Redish. The treatment group received CAI in addition to the traditional method. Pre-tests. The post-test results of both groups were evaluated through a ttest but no significant difference could be observed. In order to study the effects of simulations on the development of the problem solving skills of the students. Özge Özyalçin Oskay and Seçil Arda 54 The students were then distributed into a control and experimental group. 6 (1). where computers and the Internet were used as teaching tools in a geography class. The experimental group was taught in groups using the question and answer method in an active way. the effects of the traditional learning cycles and computer simulations on the achievement of freshmen university students in the laboratory applications on a spectrophotometer were compared.Inci Morgil. their performance was assessed through pretests. In another study by Jackman and Moellenberg (1987). scientific thinking tests and critical thinking tests. the students who used simulations could understand the main subjects as well as the control group students. Özden and Aksu (2001) compared the traditional and hypermedia learning environments on the chosen subjects in a control-treatment group and pre. an increase in the students’ achievement rates and knowledge acquisition was observed. The results of the group that received CAI were found to be higher than that of the group that was taught through the other two methods. whereas they were not administered to the control group.and posttest design in their study on acquiring and retaining knowledge. The control group was taught through the traditional method with teacher-centered education using models. Soner Yavuz. In a similar study. 2005.

The test instruments The data of the study were collected through the following tests. 1995. When computer-assisted applications started. The aim of this study is to identify any possible difference in student achievement when the subject of acid-base is taught using CAI or the traditional methods in chemistry education at the university. Method The subjects The participants of the study were 84 students who were attending the chemistry education and chemistry education seminar classes at Hacettepe University. Instead of theoretical learning. 2003). 1978. Legall. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. 1987. acids and bases have a special importance. But. While teaching acids and bases.Inci Morgil. 1991).. Markle. as in daily life. Soner Yavuz. In chemistry education. Meyer et al. 52-63 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . attitudes towards computers. 1996). Thompson. the factors such as developmental level and disembedding ability that affect learning were investigated by Demerouti et al. 1984. The students were asked to answer the twenty questions of the test in ten minutes. learning by doing improves students’ performance (Sumfleth. learning styles and socio-economic status on the students’ achievement were investigated. Häusler and Lutz (1992) used student reflections in education. 1998. Faculty of Education. 1973. 1977. Moreover. demonstrations (Radford et al. 2000). In the applications. Kopyciok et al. scales and applications. the comparison of the educational techniques used in teaching of acids and bases has not been investigated. acids and bases are taught by football analogy (Todd. 2000) and learningcycle (Beisenherz and Dantonio. Weißenhorn (1994) and Hilbing and Barke (2000) used thinking and visual models. there are many studies in which traditional education techniques are used in order to improve student performance (Bühler. moving the shapes (spatial structure intact visualization) and maintaining while the changes in the orientation occurred (spatial orientation). Özge Özyalçin Oskay and Seçil Arda 55 defining acids and bases systematically. Department of Chemistry Education. The misconceptions and difficulties associated with acids and bases. the effects of the factors such as the students’ three-dimensional spatial ability. 1997). Sumfleth (1989) used concept maps. Weskamp. Bukatsch. 1998) play an important role. 2004b) and their effects on achievement was determined. Pfeifer.. The results of the evaluation pointed out the relationship between the psychometric structure known as the spatial ability of the students and their achievement in the chemistry classes. In the analogy applications. Schmidkunz (1985) used curriculum spirals. The aim of the applied test was to determine the abilities of the students in visualizing the structure in their minds when the pieces of a figure (shape) or picture moved. 1997). in the studies done up to this time. 2000. problem based learning (Radford et al. 6 (1). Sumfleth. acidbase titrations were taken into the visual medium (Gipps. 2001). and carrying out experiments (Stairs. 1993. 2005. Reiners. Also. 1995) inductive approach (Boeck. 1979. (2004a. Purdue Rotation-Orientation Test The spatial (three-dimensional) visualization skills of the students were evaluated by the Purdue Rotation-Orientation Test (Bodner and Guay. there are techniques that use constructivism (Hand and Treagust. 1994).

However. Baker. Özge Özyalçin Oskay and Seçil Arda 56 The Scale of Attitude “The Scale of Computational Attitude” developed by N. 1985. which are ‘Accommodator’. The questions are shown in Table 1. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. 52-63 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . which can be viewed on Real Player. was used in order to assess the attitudes of the students towards computerassisted chemistry education (Selwyn.Inci Morgil. The Inventory of Learning Style The Inventory of Learning Style. disagree. The learning ways that symbolize each learning style are different from each other. their computer related behaviors. these were the computational perception of the students. The opinions of specialists were asked in order to determine which concepts were to be asked on the test. The software includes some experiments on the subject of concepts.ethz. ‘Assimilator’. ‘Diverger’ and ‘Converger’ (Aşkar. The Inventory of Learning Style applications consists of twelve statements. the inner validity of the chemistry achievement test was achieved. The computer software The software that was used in the computer-assisted applications is the CCI Project Software program (Creative Chemistry on the Web) prepared by ETH (Eidgenossiche Technische Hochschule Zurich/Switzerland). ‘Thinking’ for the Abstract Conceptualization and ‘Doing’ for the Active Experience. there are explanations and parts where the students can watch the detailed information and reactions during the experiment show. in turn. The learning style of each individual is a composition of these four basic styles. and Dixon. Reflective Observation. The chemistry achievement test consists of 20 open-ended questions on concepts related to the subject of acid-base. after the experts’ views were taken into consideration. Soner Yavuz. 1985). that require the four learning styles to be ordered as to which describes them best. and whether they had any difficulties in using computers or learning by. ‘Observing’ for the Reflective Observation. 2005. attitudes towards problems and objectives. 1984. Selwyn. the learning styles are cyclical and The Inventory of Learning Style locates the individual in that cycle. developed by Kolb in 1985. The software is available through the Internet (CCI-Project (Creative Chemistry on the Internet) by ETH (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. and strongly disagree). and Akkoyunlu. 1997). indecisive. There are four learning cycles. there is no single style that identifies the learning style of the individual. 6 (1). agree. The identification of the learning style for individuals indicates their choices of profession. which are. The scale consisted of eleven positive and ten negative statements. Abstract Conceptualization and Active Experience. Moreover. Chemistry achievement test The chemistry achievement test was prepared by the researchers according to the CCI_Project (creative chemistry on the web) applications. it is a scale that identifies the strong and weak parts of the individuals. each with four choices.cci. 1993). Kolb. In Kolb’s learning model. The five-point likert-type scale was used for the evaluation of the statements (strongly agree. Moreover. which are Concrete Experience. http://www. determines the learning style of the individuals (Kolb. The scale focused on four main structures expressed under the four main titles. consisting of twentyone questions. Kolb defined four learning styles depending on the experimental learning theory. their previous knowledge of computers. ‘Feeling’ for the Concrete Experience. Zurich.

The chemistry achievement test on acids and bases. What is an amphiprotic property of a substance? Explain with an example. Write boric acid (H3BO3) in the Lewis acid form. Identify the oxidizing agent and the reducing agent in the following reaction. the pH decreased to 1. Özge Özyalçin Oskay and Seçil Arda 57 Table 1. The students all took the same test after the teaching period of two days and the changes in the students’ performance were observed.1M NaOH. c) 0. K2CO3 + N2 + CO + CO2 3C + 2KNO3 → 5. 10.5. Write the reaction between HCl/H2O and Na2S2O3 in aqueous solution. when the HCI solution was added. Soner Yavuz. What is a masking reagent? How does it mask in a given chemical reaction? 8. The Chemistry Education Research and Practice. What is the name of the solid substance formed? 18.6 Write the chemical reactions of the processes. The post-test was administered one week after the application of the pre-test. 17. 6 (1). What is the proportion of the volumes of the gases that evolve at the anode and the cathode during the electrolysis of the water? 13. Explain the identification reaction of ammonia. Describe the dependence of the equilibrium between the CrO4–2 and Cr2O7-2 ions on the pH of the solution? 19. What kind of reagent can be used in the masking of [Al (H2O)6]]+3 ion. The Chemistry Achievement Test 1. Which gases evolve at the anode and at the cathode during the electrolysis of the water? 12. 2.0. Complete the following chemical reactions. 52-63 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . Write the equation. Explain the electron-pair donor property of the Lewis base with an example. the first step was to assess the knowledge of the students about acids and bases through the above test. Explain the reasons for the effect of an acid on copper and aluminum Cu +HCl → Cu +HNO3 → Al +HCl → Al + HNO3 → 7. Complete the following chemical reactions Al +H2O → Al +HCl → Al +HNO3 → Al + NaOH → 4. 11. This topic had been taught to all the students three semesters earlier. Complete the following chemical reaction. and b) 6M NaOH are added separately to acetic acid-sodium acetate buffer solution. What colour solution results if phenolphthalein is added to the following? a) Concentrated H2SO4. 15. 20. NH4Cl + H2SO4 → What happens when NaOH is added to the solution at the end? 6. b) 1M H2SO4. Test-administration procedure In our study of computer-assisted learning in chemistry education. 2005. 14.Inci Morgil. d) 1M NaOH. Later. and the subject matter of acids and bases was taught to the experimental group through the computer assisted teaching method and to the control group through the traditional learning method. Explain the reactions that take place when a) 12M HCl. 9. The second step was the formation of the control and the experimental groups. 16. 3. the pH of the solution increased to 12. How does the oxidizing power of KMnO4 vary according to the pH? Explain. When a NaOH solution was added to an AlCI3 solution that had a pH of 3. Explain the electron-pair acceptor property of a Lewis acid with an example. Write the chemical reaction between gaseous NH3 and HCl.

Inci Morgil. Chemistry Education and Chemistry Education Seminar classes were randomly chosen and distributed into the experimental and control groups of forty-two each. Eighty-four students of Hacettepe University. When the results of the Rotation-Orientation test were examined. students in the experimental group were observed to have adequate knowledge and skills to use computers. As a result. However. Two students from the treatment group and three from the control group displayed the converger learning style. Similar results were observed with students of Science and Technology Education (Aşkar and Akkoyunlu. was found to be 32%. the average increase scores of the experimental group students was found to be 52%. the students commonly possessed the assimilator and diverger learning styles. In other words. and four students from the treatment group and three from the control group displayed the accommodator learning style. Results When the effects of the traditional and the computer-assisted methods of teaching on students’ achievement in acid-base in chemistry education were compared. Soner Yavuz. the average values of the control and treatment groups were found to be similar.and post-test results were compared for the control and the experimental groups (b). The results are displayed in Table 2. Özge Özyalçin Oskay and Seçil Arda 58 attitudes of the students towards computers. when the post-test results were examined the average grade of the control group was 68%.and post-test results of the control and experimental groups were statistically evaluated (a). the students in the experimental group were found to have a better understanding in computer-assisted teaching than the students in the control group and it was observed that they could use computers. make abstract conceptualizations and create active experiences. Department of Chemistry Education. and socio-economic profiles were also studied as the factors that may affect learning. first the pre. The pre. concerning the computers. whereas that of the experimental group was 80%. 2005. then the pre. 52-63 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . their spatial visualization abilities. 6 (1). however. The average increase with the control group. 1993). who were attending the Internet. the students were observed to display all four different learning styles. After the Kolb Learning Style Inventory was administered. learning styles. the students did not have much experience related to technology. In the study. The average score of the control group students at the pretest was found to be 36%. whereas that of the experimental group was found to be 28%.and post-test results of the control and treatment groups that consisted of eighty-four students were statistically evaluated and independent two-sample ttests were administered. in which more than 50% of the students were found to have adequate three-dimensional spatial visualization abilities in the RotationOrientation tests. However. Faculty of Education. When the attitudes of the students towards computers were assessed and the attitude statements were evaluated. Twenty-six students from each group belonged to the assimilator learning group that could make reflective observations and abstract conceptualizations and ten students from each group belonged to the diverger learning group that could think. Chemistry Education Research and Practice.

000 42 36.2 Pretest s t p N 42 x 80.0 Significant difference was observed favoring the post-test. the students’ Rotation-Orientation Test scores and their computational attitude scores.2 7. attitudes towards computers. 14.and post-test that was administered on 84 students.22 0. the achievement increases of the students from all four learning style groups were observed to be somewhat higher with computer-assisted teaching. s: standard deviation.13 5. in which chemistry education Internet class students were evaluated altogether. Discussion When all the instruments on learning styles.and post-test results of the experimental and the control groups (a) Control Group Experimental Group Pre test Post test N x s t p 42 36.07 -47. and increases in the achievement rates between the pre. 2005.and post.2 Significant difference was observed favoring the post-test. rotationorientation abilities. N: number of students. t: significance factor.2 Significant difference was observed favoring the Control Group the pretest results.000 42 68.000 42 68. N x s t p 42 28.63 0. The statistical evaluation of the pre. p: significance. x: average. Correlation of learning styles with improvement between the two tests. 6 (1). Soner Yavuz.7 Significant difference was observed favoring the Experimental Group in the post-test in the results.tests 32% 33% 30% 32% Kolb classification Assimilator Converger Accommodator Diverger N 26 3 3 10 The rotationorientation test 64% 86% 68% 51% Attitude 70 73 74 74 Kolb classification Assimilator Converger Accommodator Diverger N 26 2 4 10 Experimental Group The increase in the success rates of the pre and post tests 51% 49% 58% 51% The rotationorientation test 58% 40% 76% 56% Attitude 71 69 71 77 As Table 3 illustrates.62 -21.05 -4. Özge Özyalçin Oskay and Seçil Arda 59 Table 2.000 42 80.41 0. the following results could be acquired. 52-63 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . (b) Experimental Group Control Group N 42 x 28.1 Post-test s t p 11.Inci Morgil.72 0. Table 3 demonstrates the learning styles of the students.3 9. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. Control Group The increase in the success rates of the pre. Table 3.

CH3CH2OH. HCl. The solutions in different colors could be observed and the experiment was followed by explanations of the characteristics of each solvent calculating the number of acceptors. it was observed that the other factors shown above do not have a great effect on achievement. the students were asked to explain the reactions of aluminum with H2O. The increase in the test scores of the experimental group was higher despite their slightly lower three-dimensional spatial visualization ability results. The traditional application consisted of the explanations of the teacher using the OHP transparencies. the results of the Rotation-Orientation Test or the Attitude Scale did not display any difference between the students of the control and experimental groups according to the t-test results. Table 4. because of the small number of participants. 2005. In the computer-assisted application. However. Some questions on the chemistry achievement test on acid-base could be considered. The Increase In The Success Rates Of The PreAnd Post. The control group learnt the same subject directly from the teacher using transparencies at the OHP. Similar results were found in the researches done with students who participated in science lessons (Aşkar and Akkoyunlu. Another example could be question number 19. 6 (1). Table 4 displays the combined above stated results for the experimental and the control groups. although the results of the three-dimensional spatial visualization abilities of the control group were higher. this study could be repeated with more participants and the results can be subsequently compared. If the teacher had done the same experiments in test tubes in the class in the traditional way. The point being. The presentations were repeated as many times as the students wished. CH3COOH and concentrated H2SO4 were dropped in turns into the experiment tubes in which there was [Fe (phen)2 (CN)2] complex. that would also not helped because the students would not have the chance to Chemistry Education Research and Practice. The superiority of the computerassisted teaching method over the traditional one stems from the students’ learning the subjects as a whole on the computer. 52-63 This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry . 1993). Soner Yavuz. in order to explain the acceptor characteristic of the Lewis acid. This finding proves the superiority of the computer-assisted teaching method over the traditional one in this exercise. CH2Cl2. concentrated HNO3 and NaOH. the increase in the success rates of the experimental group students is higher than that of the control group students. their achievement increase at the end of the traditional applications was not high at all. However. This shows that the attitudes towards computers and the ROT Test results were not a significant factor in the students’ achievement concerning computer-assisted education. a virtual experiment was done and DMF. Comparison in the improvement in the test scores. the averages of the Rotation-Orientation test in the control group and the averages of the items for students’ attitudes towards computers in the experimental group were found to be higher.Tests Control Experimental 31% 52% The RotationOrientation Test 62% 58% Attitude 71 73 As Table 4 illustrates. the Rotation-Orientation Test and Attitude test scores between the two groups. When students’ learning styles were not taken into consideration. For example. on question number 3.Inci Morgil. Özge Özyalçin Oskay and Seçil Arda 60 Moreover. The students of the experimental group with the computer-assisted teaching watched the above-mentioned reactions in the virtual media as dynamic experiments followed by the equations that explained the reactions. There was not a live presentation and the revision could only be done through questions and answers.

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