June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Educational Research and Methods
11.933.1 - 11.933.20
Misconceptions about Rate Processes: Preliminary Evidence for the Importance of Emergent Conceptual Schemas in Thermal and Transport Sciences Ronald L. Miller, Ruth A. Streveler, Barbara M. Olds Colorado School of Mines
Michelene T. H. Chi University of Pittsburgh
Mary A. Nelson, Monica R. Geist University of Colorado/University of Northern Colorado
This paper reports preliminary evidence that a significant number of engineering students possess robust misconceptions about rate processes such as transfer of heat even after years of study in thermal and transport sciences including fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and thermodynamics. Data from the Thermal and Transport Concept Inventory (TTCI) currently under development and additional questions specifically written for the present study are reported and analyzed. Results indicate the presence of a persistent misconception about the relationship between the rate of heat transfer and amount of energy transferred in processes of engineering interest. We use the emergent theory developed by Chi and colleagues to propose a possible explanation for these findings.
With funding from the National Science Foundation (DUE-0127806), our research team is completing development of a concept inventory instrument to measure engineering students’ understanding of difficult concepts in thermal and transport sciences (e.g. heat transfer, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics). [1-4] Version 2.21 of the instrument, known as the Thermal and Transport Concept Inventory (TTCI) has been beta-tested at six United States engineering institutions and psychometric results have been used to test instrument validity and reliability. Preliminary beta test results from this facet of the instrument development have been reported previously.  Nine of the original 32 questions did not perform at expected levels of reliability and have been replaced in version 3.0 of the TTCI. Additional beta testing is on-going and will be completed before wide-spread dissemination of the instrument via the web scheduled for mid-2006.
As part of our psychometric work, we use factor analysis and cross-tabulations to identify common misconceptions which are robust and which transfer across question contexts and disciplines (e.g. fundamental misconceptions which exist in, say, both fluid mechanics and heat transfer). The goal of this analysis is to identify student misconceptions which can be repaired in one context with the expectation of far transfer to other disciplinary contexts students might be expected to encounter. So far, this
Miller, R., & Streveler, R., & Olds, B., & Chi, M., & Nelson, M., & Geist, M. (2006, June), Misconceptions About Rate Processes: Preliminary Evidence For The Importance Of Emergent Conceptual Schemas In Thermal And Transport Sciences Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--596
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