P456: “Round and round we go”: Lessons learned in the course of research in representational competence [WITHDRAWN]

Author: Gautam Bhattacharyya, Clemson University, USA

Co-Author: Heather Bruce and Ryan DeFever, Clemson University, USA

Date: 8/5/14

Time: 10:35 AM10:55 AM

Room: MAK A1151

Related Symposium: S38

Like many other sciences, concepts and problems in organic chemistry are most frequently expressed diagrammatically. As such students are required to develop fluency for external representational systems and the various applications and operations associated with them, i.e. representational competence. Because representational competence is complex and multi-dimensional, developing effective instruments often pose the challenge of preventing ancillary aspects of the construct from interfering with the focus of the research project. In the process of studying how students translate back-and-forth between verbal/linguistic and diagrammatic representations and the information they are able to infer from each of these systems, we faced and tackled many obstacles of the type described above. In this talk I will tell a story of the iterative process by which we posed our research questions, developed the appropriate instruments, and used that information to collect and analyze the data.

P86: “What we have here is a failure to communicate!”: Students’ use of multiple representations of organic reaction mechanisms [WITHDRAWN]

Author: Gautam Bhattacharyya, Clemson University, USA

Co-Author:

Date: 8/3/14

Time: 3:05 PM3:25 PM

Room: LTT 103

Related Symposium: S13

Multiple external representations, MERs, are staples of instruction in all the STEM disciplines. Paivio’s Dual Coding Theory proposes that MERs can be particularly effective when verbal/linguistic representations are presented alongside the corresponding diagrammatic or pictorial ones. This synergistic effect, however, is predicated on learners having a minimal fluency in at least one of the respective representational systems. Our interest in students’ use and understanding of MERs is in the context of the electron-pushing formalism (EPF) which is used to propose reaction mechanisms in organic chemistry. Prior qualitative research with sophomore-level organic chemistry students on transfer between verbal/linguistic and diagrammatic representations of electron-pushing mechanisms indicated that the participants had significant difficulty in verbally describing electron-pushing diagrams or producing them from verbal descriptions of electron-pushing mechanisms. Based on those results, we performed a quasi-experimental study of Organic Chemistry II students who were randomly assigned to one of three learning conditions: verbal description of a mechanism only; diagram of a mechanism only; or verbal description and diagram. Subsequently, students were asked to complete a set of electron-pushing tasks in which starting material, reagents, and products were provided. The independent variable was the format of the learning material and dependent variable was the score on the mechanism tasks, which was obtained from ratings by multiple individuals. In this talk, I present the results of the non-parametric analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) on a model that included overall GPA as the covariate.