Evaluation of the students’ understanding of models in science (SUMS) for use in undergraduate chemistry
As chemistry education, and science education more broadly, have shifted to emphasize realistic scientific practices as an important component of education, a number of researchers have used the Students’ Understanding of Models in Science (SUMS) instrument to assess students’ knowledge about scientific models and modelling. SUMS has also been used in a number of studies to assess the efficacy of models- and modelling-focused curricular interventions on students’ epistemic knowledge of models and modelling in several contexts. In this study, we examine the functioning of the SUMS instrument in an introductory university-level chemistry context and present evidence regarding the validity of data produced using SUMS in this context. Data collected from university chemistry students were used to examine students’ response patterns. We also present results from factor analyses, which were used to investigate the internal structure of the SUMS. The results suggest that SUMS cannot be used to support claims about undergraduate chemistry students’ epistemic knowledge of scientific models and modelling.