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The relationship among reasoning ability, gender and students' understanding of diffusion and osmosis

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2005
Korkmaz, Oğuz
This study investigated the 9th grade students' achievement regarding diffusion and osmosis in relation to reasoning ability, prior knowledge and gender. A total of 397 ninth grade students participated in the study. The Test of logical thinking (TOLT) and the Diffusion and Osmosis Diagnostic Test (DODT) were administered to determine students' reasoning ability and achievement in diffusion and osmosis, respectively. DODT results showed that the range of correct answers for the first tier was 41 % to 91%. When both tiers were combined, the correct responses were reduced to a range of 21% to 61%. This result reveals that students have enough content knowledge but they don̕t know the underlying reason of their choice in diffusion and osmosis concepts. Pearson Product Moment correlations showed a statistically significant positive correlation between achievement and students' prior knowledge & reasoning ability. MRC Analysis was conducted to determine the contribution of prior knowledge, reasoning ability and gender to the achievement. Prior knowledge and reasoning ability, but not gender, made a statistically significant contribution to the variation on achievement. Prior knowledge and reasoning ability together predicted 37 % of the variation on achievement. Stepwise multiple regression analysis was computed to determine the variables were best predicting students̕ achievement. While prior knowledge explains 33 % of the variation in achievement, reasoning ability explains only 4 % of the variation in achievement. Results indicate that prior knowledge is a better predictor than reasoning ability in students̕ achievement.