P315: Grounded theory as an analysis technique to capture student conceptions in chemistry

Author: Stephanie Ryan, American Institutes for Research, USA

Co-Author: Seth Anthony, Oregon Institute for Technology, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 2:45 PM3:05 PM

Room: LOH 164

Related Symposium: S25

Qualitative research is a great way to capture student ideas. However, applying predetermined codes to the data changes the focus of the data from “what the student thought” to “what the student thought in our view.” In this process, the student’s words can be lost and a true understanding of their knowledge with it. To truly capture the student’s conceptions about a topic, we can employ grounded theory coding methods. Using data from semi-structured interviews, this presentation will discuss coding of qualitative data using grounded theory and the information that can be gleaned this way.

P60: Why do they think they know? Exploring a conceptual/algorithmic divide in students’ judgments of confidence

Author: Seth Anthony, Oregon Institute of Technology, USA


Date: 8/3/14

Time: 3:40 PM4:00 PM

Room: MAN 107

Related Symposium: S9

Students’ metacognitive judgments concerning the correctness of their responses to questions (such as those on general chemistry exams) are often not merely overconfident, but poorly correlated with their actual performance. Past work has indicated that for “algorithmic” chemistry problems, requiring application of a formula or procedure to find an answer, students’ average confidence judgments were not correlated with question difficulty, whereas such a correlation does exist for “conceptual” chemistry questions. This suggests that students are better at distinguishing “difficult” conceptual questions from “easy” conceptual questions than they are in making similar distinctions for algorithmic questions. Many possible causes for this phenomenon can be posited, such as familiarity with surface features of the question or the perceived mental effort in activating a problem-solving heuristic or coordinating multiple pieces of information. This study investigates both the extent and possible reasons for this contrasting behavior on “conceptual” versus “algorithmic” questions, presenting data extending into second-semester general chemistry content. Of particular interest are the possible reasons for students’ judgments of confidence — as part of this study, students were asked, within written exams and during in-person interviews, to provide rationale or explanations of their confidence ratings; this study will present preliminary analysis of these justifications offered by students.