Session S40 (Tuesday, 9:30am, Thomas 215)

P387: First year and final year college chemistry students’ competence in some basic cognitive strategies - WITHDRAWN

Mailoo Selvaratnam (North West University, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa)

In order to test and compare the competence of first year and final year college chemistry students, data was collected in five widely applicable problem solving strategies. One hundred fifty six first year and 24 final year chemistry students were tested for competence in strategies and not subject-content knowledge. About 70% of first year students could not deduce qualitatively how the density of a gas changes when pressure is changed and thought incorrectly that mole fraction will change when pressure is changed. About a third of the students tested could not use the equation N = k/t to do a simple calculation and were unable to deduce that a substance will be a solid at -50 C if its melting point and boiling point are -40 C and 80 C. The final year chemistry students performed much better, but about 20% of them had difficulty demonstrating competence in problem solving strategies. We will show how students’ difficulties can be correlated with non–use of cognitive strategies. Since increased competence in cognitive strategies and skills can lead to more efficient learning and problem solving, it is important that students are trained in them. Such training should be integrated with the teaching of content knowledge.

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