Identification of Misconceptions through Multiple Choice Tasks at Municipal Chemistry Competition Test

Dušica D Milenković, Tamara N Hrin, Mirjana D Segedinac, Saša Horvat


In this paper, the level of conceptual understanding of chemical contents among seventh grade students who participated in the municipal Chemistry competition in Novi Sad, Serbia, in 2013 have been examined. Tests for the municipal chemistry competition were used as a measuring instrument, wherein only multiple choice tasks were considered and analyzed. Determination of the level of conceptual understanding of the tested chemical contents was based on the calculation of the frequency of choosing the correct answers. Thereby, identification of areas of satisfactory conceptual understanding, areas of roughly adequate performance, areas of inadequate performance, and areas of quite inadequate performance have been conducted. On the other hand, the analysis of misconceptions was based on the analysis of distractors. The results showed that satisfactory level of conceptual understanding and roughly adequate performance characterize majority of contents, which was expected since only the best students who took part in the contest were surveyed. However, this analysis identified a large number of misunderstandings, as well. In most of the cases, these misconceptions were related to the inability to distinguish elements, compounds, homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures. Besides, it is shown that students are not familiar with crystal structure of the diamond, and with metric prefixes. The obtained results indicate insufficient visualization of the submicroscopic level in school textbooks, the imprecise use of chemical language by teachers and imprecise use of language in chemistry textbooks.

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