ERIC Number: ED228094
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Students' Misconceptions Interfere with Learning: Case Studies of Fifth-Grade Students. Research Series No. 128.
Eaton, Janet F.; And Others
This study examines the relationship between student misconceptions and learning by focusing on six fifth-grade students as they attempt to make sense of classroom instruction on light and seeing. Pretests, posttests, and classroom observation narratives served as student data. Pretests indicate that students held the misconception that sight is possible because light illuminates things, not understanding the role of reflected light in vision. Posttests indicate that five of the six students still did not understand how light enables seeing by the end of the unit. Although good teachers (two were observed) used a popular text, instruction was not successful in that conceptual change did not occur; most students did not forsake their misconception in favor of the scientific conception. Furthermore, students' belief in the misconception prevented them from fully understanding other topics covered in the unit, such as the functioning of various eye parts. Conceptual change did not occur because the students' misconception was not addressed in either the text or classroom instruction. Instead, students were taught and learned facts about light and facts about seeing. Many of them had difficulty making sense of these facts and seeing how they are connected to each other, as their answers on the posttest show. (Author/JN)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Michigan State Univ., East Lansing. Inst. for Research on Teaching.
Identifiers: Misconceptions; Science Education Research