Ozcan Gulacar (Texas State University-San Marcos, USA), Debra A. Feakes (Texas State University-San Marcos, USA), Walter Burrough (Texas State University-San Marcos, USA)
Students appear to be relatively successful in solving everyday problems. However, these same students in general chemistry courses complain about learning abstract concepts which they believe to be irrelevant to their lives. It appears that students develop a compartmentalized knowledge system where the components are isolated from each other. Thus, students have a difficult time reasoning through unfamiliar problems faced in general chemistry. In order to investigate the ability of the students to identify the type of problem and solve the problem, we undertook this study involving 137 students. After every test, four in total, we administered a survey regarding the exam questions. We analysed students’ answers to test questions and their corresponding survey responses to determine students’ success with identification of the basic concepts of each question as well as to discover the correlations between the characteristics of the questions and students’ performances, self-confidence, and familiarity with questions.