Dr. Keith S. Taber
Tan, K. C. D., Taber, K. S, Liu, X., Coll, R. K.,
Lorenzo, M., Li, J., Goh, N.K. & Chia, L.S. (Accepted for publication).
Students’ conceptions of ionisation energy: A cross-cultural study.
International Journal of Science Education
Previous studies have indicated that A-level students in
the UK and Singapore have difficulty learning the topic of ionisation energy.
A two-tier multiple-choice instrument developed in Singapore in an earlier
study, the Ionisation Energy Diagnostic Instrument, was administered to A-level
students in the UK, advanced placement high school students in the USA, and
first-year university students in China, New Zealand and Spain to determine
if the students from different countries and educational systems had similar
conceptions and difficulties as the students in Singapore with the concepts
assessed in the instrument. The results showed that, in general, the students
in all six samples had similar alternative conceptions which were grouped
under the categories of octet rule framework, stable fully-filled and half-filled
sub-shells conceptions and conservation of force thinking. The students also
resorted to relation-based thinking when answering items involving the trend
of ionisation energies across Period 3. Implications for teaching and further
research are discussed.