Learning Chemistry: Self-Efficacy, Chemical Understanding, and Graphing Skills

Shirly Avargil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Chemistry curriculum should account for learning in context and understanding chemistry at the macroscopic and microscopic levels: the symbol level and the process level. The Taste of Chemistry learning module, developed for high school chemistry majors (students who choose to study the advanced chemistry program in high school), focuses on food-related chemistry, emphasizes learning in context and chemical understanding, and promotes the use of graphing skills. While learning, students are exposed to metacognitive prompts related to the four chemistry-understanding levels and to graphing skills. The objectives were to investigate (a) learning chemistry in context with metacognitive and graphing prompts as it relates to three students learning outcomes: self-efficacy, chemical understanding, and graphing skills and (b) the teachers’ role in promoting these learning outcomes. Research participants included two experimental groups and one comparison group (N = 370). The first experimental group studied the module, while being exposed to the metacognitive prompts via the module and explicit metacognitive instruction from their teachers. The second experimental group studied the module with the prompts embedded in it, but without explicit metacognitive instruction from their teachers. In the comparison group, students learned topics of organic chemistry and biochemistry, which was part of the traditional syllabus. The experimental students’ self-efficacy, chemical understanding, and graphing skills improved; the net-gains were significantly higher than that of the comparison group. These gains were due to learning in context with the metacognitive prompts. Teachers were instrumental in promoting students’ application of metacognition. This research contributes to the body of knowledge of metacognition and chemical understanding as it bridges the two domains using metacognitive prompts related to the four chemistry-understanding levels and to graphing skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-298
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Science Education and Technology
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Nature B.V.

Keywords

  • Assessment
  • Chemical education research
  • Curriculum
  • Food science
  • High school
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Quantitative analysis

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