Asee peer logo

Work in Progress: Investigating Students’ Meta-cognitive Awareness of Their Misconceptions About Electric Circuits

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Improvements in ECE Circuit Analysis

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Kun Yao University of Georgia

visit author page

Kun Yao received the B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physical electronics from Peking University, Beijing, China, in 2002 and 2008, respectively. From 2008 to 2012, He worked at the University of New Orleans and the University of Georgia as a Postdoctoral Researcher. In 2013, he joined the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia as a lecturer, as well as the manager of the cleanroom core facility. He is also affiliated with the Engineering Education Transformational Institute and the New Materials Institute.

visit author page


Adel W. Al Weshah University of Georgia Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Al Weshah is a lecturer in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia. He has published in the area of computational electromagnetics. His engineering educational research interests include remote labs and developing innovative instructional materials and techniques.

visit author page


Nathaniel Hunsu University of Georgia

visit author page

Nathaniel Hunsu is an assistant professor of Engineering Education. He is affiliated with the Engineering Education Transformational Institute and the school of electrical and computer engineering at the university. His interest is at the nexus of the research of epistemologies, learning mechanics and assessment of learning in engineering education. His research focuses on learning for conceptual understanding, and the roles of learning strategies, epistemic cognition and student engagements in fostering conceptual understanding. His research also focuses on understanding how students interact with learning tasks and their learning environment. His expertise also includes systematic reviews and meta-analysis, quantitative research designs, measurement inventories development and validation.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Students are successful at learning complex engineering concepts when they accurately grasp foundational concepts. Research has shown that prior knowledge plays an important role in learning. Complex concepts become difficult to learn accurately when students have misconceptions about fundamental ones, and students’ problem solving skills are also affected. However, students are often unaware of their own misconceptions. Unfortunately, sometimes even instructors may not fully realize how students’ misconceptions and lack of metacognitive awareness undermine their own pedagogic efforts. In this work-in-progress study, we systematically examined students’ performance using a conceptual test in electric circuits course as a tool to uncover their electric circuit misconceptions and unawareness of their competence. Students participated in a circuit concept test that evaluated their content knowledge and judgement of learning. The test required very minimal mathematical calculations. For more insights into the nature of students’ conceptual understanding and self-awareness, after each question students were asked to rate how confident they felt about their answers. Preliminary analysis reveals four clusters of awareness: (1) competent and self-aware, (2) incompetent and self-aware, (3) competent and unaware, and (4) incompetent and unaware. We observed that students with medium-performance often overestimate or underestimate the level of their understanding, comparing to high-performance students and low-performance students. This may have implication for their self-efficacy to learn. The test was diagnostics in identifying students in conditions (3) and (4), who may have a different learning need than those of condition (2). Further, students in clusters (2), (3) and (4) were selectively interviewed to elaborate on their state of their mental models. The implications of these findings will be further used as a framework to analyze pedagogy, assessments and diagnostics in engineering education

Yao, K., & Al Weshah, A. W., & Hunsu, N. (2020, June), Work in Progress: Investigating Students’ Meta-cognitive Awareness of Their Misconceptions About Electric Circuits Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35661

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015