Characteristics of successful and unsuccessful students in solving stoichiometric problems


Ozcan Gulacar,, Department of Biology & Chemistry, Purdue University North Central, 1401 South U.S. Highway 421, Westville, IN 46391 and Herb Fynewever,, Mallinson Institute of Science Education, Western Michigan University, 1903 West Michigan Avenue, Mail Stop 5443, Kalamazoo, MI 49008.
The purpose of this study was to determine if there is any difference between successful and unsuccessful students' organization of knowledge and ability to link relevant knowledge pieces. In other words, do difficulties stem from poor understanding of pieces required for successful problem solving or inability to link those pieces? Moreover, we studied the influence of students' cognitive development levels, proportional-reasoning abilities, working memory capacities, conceptual understanding of the particle nature of matter, and the mole concept on their ability to solve stoichiometric problems. Think-aloud problem-solving protocols were also used to understand the differences between successful and unsuccessful students' knowledge structures and behaviors during problem solving. Characteristics of successful and unsuccessful students were determined through tests, audio and video tapes analyses, and subjects' written works. In analyses of the materials, significant differences were found between both groups.

Research in Chemical Education
8:30 AM-11:35 AM, Sunday, March 25, 2007 McCormick Place North -- Room N227A, Level 2, Oral

Division of Chemical Education

The 233rd ACS National Meeting, Chicago, IL, March 25-29, 2007