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ERIC Number: EJ1117370
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Oct
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Investigating Students' Reasoning about Acid-Base Reactions
Cooper, Melanie M.; Kouyoumdjian, Hovig; Underwood, Sonia M.
Journal of Chemical Education, v93 n10 p1703-1712 Oct 2016
Acid-base chemistry is central to a wide range of reactions. If students are able to understand how and why acid-base reactions occur, it should provide a basis for reasoning about a host of other reactions. Here, we report the development of a method to characterize student reasoning about acid-base reactions based on their description of "what" happens during the reaction, "how" it happens, and "why" it happens. We show that we can reliably place student responses into categories that reflect the model of acid-base reactivity used and whether the students invoke an electrostatic causal argument. However, the quality of student responses is highly dependent on the structure of the task prompt, which must be structured to provide students with enough information for them to understand what is needed. In general, students who construct responses that invoke a causal mechanistic Lewis model are more likely to draw appropriate curved arrow reaction mechanisms.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: ACT Assessment
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE0816692; 1359818; DUE1043707; 1420005; DUE1122472; 1341987