Alternative conceptions of organic chemistry topics among fourth year chemistry students
This study describes the conceptual understanding for a series of fundamental organic concepts by fourth year chemistry students from a midsize, southeastern, state university. Student volunteers (n =19) participated in semi-structured interviews using a think aloud protocol. The interview questions were eleven multiple choice questions selected from the Organic Chemistry examination developed by the Examinations Institute of the Division of Chemical Education, American Chemical Society. The questions were chosen to represent a range of concepts that are fundamental to the organic chemistry course sequence. Analysis of the interview transcripts revealed trends in the students’ knowledge and alternative conceptions. Of particular interest, it was found that some alternative conceptions mirrored those previously seen with students in introductory chemistry, indicating the persistence of such alternative conceptions. Implications for instructional approaches particular to organic chemistry are discussed.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Research and Practice in Chemical Education in Advanced Courses