Assessing prospective chemistry teachers' understanding of gases through qualitative and quantitative analyses of their concept maps
The use of concept mapping as a tool to measure the meaningful learning of students is the focus of this study. The study was carried out with 24 last year students (22 years old) from the Department of Chemistry Teaching at Fatih Faculty of Education, Karadeniz Technical University (KTU). Prospective Chemistry Teachers (PCT) were asked to create concept maps using a list of given concepts related to gases. An examination of the PCTs' maps revealed that the students could not form hierarchical maps even after being shown examples of the basic elements and meaningful propositions between the concepts. After being provided with feedback about their concept maps and trained to form non-hierarchical concept maps, the students were asked to create new maps. This time they were allowed to use either hierarchical or non-hierarchical maps. When their new maps were examined, we found that most of the PCTs formed non-hierarchical maps. However, they still could not form meaningful relationships between the given concepts. We also found that the PCTs had some misconceptions about gases and kinetic molecular theory that explains gas behavior. The study ended up with some suggestions and implications for educators and researchers related to pre-service teachers' training.