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Title: Problem-solving in the context of the General Certificate of Education Ordinary level chemistry examination
Author: Slimming, David
ISNI:       0000 0001 3417 1770
Awarding Body: Keele University
Current Institution: Keele University
Date of Award: 1984
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The work described in this thesis concerns the problem-solving behaviour of students towards short-answer, non-mathematical items in Ordinary level chemistry examinations. The literature of problem-solving is selectively reviewed and an information processing model is advanced to provide a theoretical framework for the study. In the first phase of the work a protocol approach was used to generate detailed descriptions of students' problem-solving strategies and errors. It was found that problem-solving performance did not depend on IQ and that the strategies and errors of high and lc .hievers showed few differences. It was hypothesised that problem-solving behaviour was largely a reflection of the organisation of knowledge in a student's semantic memory. In che second phase of the study an analysis-of-variance design was used to examine the influence, on students' problem-solving, of the level of information provided in examination items. It was found that performance tended to fall as levels of information rose, irrespective of whether the information was "relevant" or "irrelevant" to the problem to be solved. Limitations in the ways in which students appeared to perceive such information are discussed and the implications of these for problem-solving in realistic situations, where the information available may not be well matched to the demands of the task, are considered. The second phase of the study also examined the hypothesis that differences in problem-solving behaviour might be attributable to features in semantic memory. Following a selective review of work on cognitive mapping, a word association technique was used to investigate students' semantic networks in selected topic areas, namely electrochemistry, redox and atomic structure, which could be related to details of students' problem-solving behaviour, were found between the maps of high and low achievers. The educational implications of the findings and some suggestions for further research are discussed in the final chapter.
Supervisor: Kempa, Richard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L Education (General)