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Students' achievement in relation to reasoning ability, prior knowledge and gender

This study investigated students' achievement regarding photosynthesis and respiration in plants in relation to reasoning ability, prior knowledge and gender. A total of 117 eighth‐grade students participated in the study. Test of logical thinking and the two‐tier multiple choice tests were administered to determine students' reasoning ability and achievement, respectively. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was conducted to assess the effect of reasoning ability on students' achievement. The independent variable was the reasoning ability (low, medium, high), the dependent variable was the scores on the two‐tier test. Students' grades in science in previous year were used as a covariate. Analysis revealed a statistically significant mean difference between students at high and low formal levels with respect to achievement. Stepwise multiple regression analysis revealed that reasoning ability, prior knowledge and gender were significant predictors of students' achievement in photosynthesis and respiration in plants, explaining 42% of the variance.