The study concerns foundation year students' understanding of chemistry concepts in a Qatari POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) context. The ongoing study involved the use of a pre-test and delayed post-test design involving two - tier chemistry diagnostic tests (Acids-bases chemistry achievement, chemical and covalent bonding tests) to ascertain the extent to which students' understanding of chemistry concepts changed when using an active learning pedagogy like POGIL (Moog et al., 2009). Two-tier multiple choice tests have been developed and used by several science education researchers for the purpose of identifying students' alternative conceptions (Treagust, 1988). These two-tier diagnostic tests are considered easy to administer. The first tier of the each item consists of a content question with two or four choices. The second tier of each item contains a set of four possible reasons for the chosen answer in the first part. Students' selection of response-reason combination is analysed to explore their alternative conceptions. The theoretical framework for the research study was based on social constructivism (Vygotsky, 1978) and the learning cycle approach (Farrell, Moog, & Spencer, 1999). The quantitative research design consisted of quasi-experimental – one group – pre and post-test design with no comparison group (Creswell, 2005). Results of t-test analyses indicated that each students' understanding in the post test improved statistically significantly over their individual scores. The effect sizes ranging from 0.44 to 1.75 indicate positive impacts of POGIL on students' understanding of chemistry concepts. Findings from this study support the view in the literature (Brown, 2010; Brown, Pond, & Creekmore, 2011) that student-centred pedagogical practices like POGIL help students to understand chemical concepts more effectively as self-learning groups from carefully structured learning materials. Table 1: Comparing students' (n = 8) conceptual understanding of chemical bonding (Paired samples t-test): Test Pre Test Post Test Mean Difference t df Sig. (2-tailed) Effect Size (Cohen»s d) Mean Std. Dev. Mean Std. Dev. Covalent Bonding 5.13 1.43 7.38 1.06 2.25 4.03 7 .005 1.75 Chemical Bonding 1.38 1.06 3.25 1.04 1.88 3.23 7 .014 1.23 p < 0.01 Table 2: Comparing Acids-Bases Chemistry Achievement Test - ABCAT scores (n = 8) Section Pre Test Post Test Mean Difference t df Sig. (2-tailed) Effect Size (Cohen»s d) Mean Std. Dev. Mean Std. Dev. Section A 6.63 1.51 7.25 1.28 0.63 0.89 14 .386 0.44 Section B 4.50 1.31 5.88 0.99 1.38 2.37 14 0.03 1.18 p < 0.05 References Brown, S. D. (2010). A process-oriented guided inquiry approach to teaching medicinal chemistry. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 74(7), 121. Brown, S. D., Pond, B. B., & Creekmore, K. A. (2011). A case-based toxicology elective course to enhance student learning in pharmacotherapy. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 75(6), 1-118. Creswell, J. W. (2005). Educational research. planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Farrell, J. J., Moog, R. S., & Spencer, J. N. (1999). A guided-inquiry general chemistry course. Journal of Chemical Education, 76(4), 570. doi: 10.1021/ed076p570 Moog, R. S., Creegan, J. F., Hanson, M. D., Spencer, N. J., Straumanis, A., & Bunce, M. D. (2009). POGIL: Process-oriented guided-inquiry learning. In N. Pienta, M. M. Cooper & T. J. Greenbowe (Eds.), Chemists» Guide To Effective Teaching (Vol. 2, pp. 90-101). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Treagust, D. F. (1988). Development and use of diagnostic tests to evaluate students' misconceptions in science. International Journal of Science Education, 10(2), 159-169. doi: 10.1080/0950069880100204 Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


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