New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Alleviating Alternative Conceptions And Conceptual Difficulties Of Electric Circuits Among First Year University Students Using Contextual-Conceptual-Formal Understanding And A Model

Petrus Rankhumise Mmushetji, Central University of Technology (South Africa)


This study seeks to examine alleviating alternative conceptions and conceptual difficulties of electric circuits among first year university students using contextual-conceptual-formal understanding and a model. It is premised on the notion that most of the students who have enrolled for this module come from rural places and they may not have prior exposure to experimental work in electric circuits. The research population consisted of hundred (100) first-year science students enrolled at a South African university. The test that served as pre- and post-test probed into learners' alternative conceptions about electric circuits. In particular, the pre-test helped to identify alternative conceptions held by the students in the research sample.  This was then followed by contextual-conceptual-formal understanding and a model intervention within the view to alleviate the identified alternatives conceptions. These interventions were followed by a post-test in order to ascertain the effectiveness of the interventions in alleviating the identified alternative conceptions Changes in students’ knowledge and the reasons they attributed for conceptual change were investigated. A single pre-test/post-test comparison group design was followed. Data analysis was carried out by the use of the average normalised gain <g> scores as well as McNemar test. The findings showed highly statistically significant gains between the pre-test and post-test scores for both students (p < 0, 05).The average normalised gain was larger than 0, 3, thus indicating the effectiveness of the intervention. The results for the McNemar test at least, however show that the intervention was successful because the pre and post test results differed statistically (p < 0.05).

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