CAN FINAL EXAMINATIONS AMPLIFY STUDENTS' MISCONCEPTIONS IN CHEMISTRY?
Many researches have been conducted in order to examine students' misconceptions in chemistry. The present study focuses on students' difficulties regarding the concepts chemical structure and bonding, which are essential for understanding many concepts and topics in chemistry. Research conducted around the world has clearly shown that the concepts associated with chemical structure and bonding, such as molecules, ions, hydrogen bonds, and giant lattices are abstract and are highly based on the
... sub-microscopic nature of chemistry. In Israel, the central developed Matriculation Examination in chemistry is one of the main sources for information on misconceptions of students. The analyses of the Matriculation Examinations in chemistry, over a period of more than 12 years, revealed each year that students have a fundamental misunderstanding and difficulties regarding these concepts. No doubt, the teaching and learning of these concepts is a serious and continuous problem. In this study we present several factors leading to these misconceptions. More specifically, we focus on how the structure and content of the National Matriculation Examinations conducted in Israel influence chemistry teaching and learning. We think that this type of assessment can be a major factor in the development of students' learning difficulties and alternative conceptions. [Chem. Educ. Res. Pract.: 2004, 5, 301-325] KEY WORDS: chemical structure, chemical bonds, misconceptions, learning impediments, misleading factors, models, declarative knowledge, generative knowledge, scientific explanations and assessment tool.