ERIC Number: ED369656
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Mar
Chemistry Problem-Solving Abilities: Gender, Reasoning Level and Computer-Simulated Experiments.
Suits, Jerry P.; Lagowski, J. J.
Two studies were conducted to determine the effects of gender, reasoning level, and inductive and deductive computer-simulated experiments (CSE) on problem-solving abilities in introductory general chemistry. In the pilot study, 254 subjects were randomly assigned to control (computer-assisted-instruction tutorials), inductive or deductive CSE treatments for the entire semester. On the comprehensive final examination consisting of 78% problem-solving items, formal reasoners outperformed transitional reasoners who, in turn, outperformed concrete reasoners, ANOVA, p<.0001, and males outscored females, p=.0452. On gain in reasoning ability among the concrete reasoners, those in the inductive group tended to outgain those in the other two groups. For the main study using 187 subjects and no control group, the CSE's were revised to make the structure more explicit. No significant differences were found among the types of reasoners on three cognitive levels of the final examination. In a reversal of the expected gender differences, males tended to score higher on lower cognitive items, whereas females tended to score higher on higher cognitive items with no gender differences on middle cognitive items. A subsequent analysis revealed that this reversal was due to significant gender-reasoning level interactions for both middle- and higher-cognitive problem-solving measures. A discussion of the relationships among problem-solving abilities, cognitive styles, and the use of guided discovery within an interactive CSE instructional environment is provided. (Author/ZWH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (Anaheim, CA, March 26-29, 1994).