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Issue 3, 2007
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The development of a two-tier multiple-choice diagnostic instrument for evaluating secondary school students’ ability to describe and explain chemical reactions using multiple levels of representation

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Abstract

A 15-item two-tier multiple-choice diagnostic instrument was developed to evaluate secondary students’ ability to describe and explain seven types of chemical reactions using macroscopic, submicroscopic and symbolic representations. A mixed qualitative and quantitative case study was conducted over four years involving 787 Years 9 and 10 students (15 to 16 years old). The instrument was administered to sixty-five Year 9 students after nine months of instruction to evaluate their use of multiple levels of representation. Analysis of the students’ responses demonstrated acceptable reliability of the instrument, a wide range of difficulty indices and acceptable discrimination indices for 12 of the items. The teaching program proved to be successful in that in most instances students were able to describe and explain the observed changes in terms of the atoms, molecules and ions that were involved in the chemical reactions using appropriate symbols, formulas, and chemical and ionic equations. Nevertheless, despite the emphasis on multiple levels of representation during instruction, 14 conceptions were identified that indicated confusion between macroscopic and submicroscopic representations, a tendency to extrapolate bulk macroscopic properties of substances to the submicroscopic level, and limited understanding of the symbolic representational system. [Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2007, 8 (3), 293-307.]

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Publication details

The article was received on 29 May 2007 and accepted on 14 Jun 2007


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B7RP90006F
Citation: Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2007,8, 293-307
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    The development of a two-tier multiple-choice diagnostic instrument for evaluating secondary school students’ ability to describe and explain chemical reactions using multiple levels of representation

    A. L. Chandrasegaran, D. F. Treagust and M. Mocerino, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2007, 8, 293
    DOI: 10.1039/B7RP90006F

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