The effect of some cognitive factors on primary school pupils’ understanding of materials properties and their changes (Doctoral thesis)

Τσικαλάς, Θεμιστοκλής/ Tsikalas, Themistoclis


The purpose of this research was to investigate the effect of four cognitive variables operationalizing Neo-Piagetian constructs, such as formal reasoning, field dependence / independence, convergent and divergent thinking on students’ understanding the properties and the physical and chemical changes of states. The research involved 418 sixth grade primary school pupils. The instruments implemented for the data collection were the corresponding psychometric tests and a questionnaire/diagnostic test specially designed for the purpose of the present research. In this investigation, the above individual differences were the independent variables, while as the dependent variables, besides the overall performance, students’ partial scores in each item or group of items separately, e.g. chemistry, physics, interpretation etc were used. Data analysis was based on two marking schemes: The first, considers the dependent measures at the nominal level (e.g. true/false; marked as 1 or 0 respectively). The second considers the dependent measures as scale variables, and a score was calculated for a group of items as the sum of the partial marks (1 or 0). The statistical analysis involved descriptive statistics, logistic regression, analysis of variance, correlation analysis, multiple regression and path analysis. The data analysis showed that primary school pupils carry on a lot of misconceptions concerning the substances’ properties and the change of their physical states, most of which have been reported in the literature. Moreover, it was shown that there is a positive correlation between students' performance and independent variables: formal reasoning, field dependence / independence, convergent thinking and divergent thinking. Specifically, it was showed that formal reasoning was the main predictor of students’ understanding of the substances’ properties and their changes. The results supported the neo-Piagetian theories regarding the effect of the above individual differences; that is, the operation of corresponding mental resources when students are involved in the related mental tasks. A considerable effect on students’ representations was assigned to the two cognitive styles, convergent and divergent thinking. Field dependence/independence did not appear as a predictor in the multivariate analysis, although it had a positive correlation coefficient with the dependent variables. However, in some demanding questions, e.g. asking for 14 interpretation of the water accumulated above the burning candle, field dependence/independence was proved to be a significant predictor. The findings of the present study are useful for teachers, text-book authors and those who are involved in curricula design. They should be aware that the limitations in learning outcomes might be originated from the above cognitive characteristics of primary school pupils.
Institution and School/Department of submitter: Δημοκρίτειο Πανεπιστήμιο Θράκης. Σχολή Επιστημών Αγωγής. Παιδαγωγικό Τμήμα Δημοτικής Εκπαίδευσης
Subject classification: Science--Study and teaching (Elementary))
Keywords: Νεο-Πιαζετιανές θεωρίες,Τυπική συλλογιστική,Συγκλίνουσα σκέψη,Αποκλίνουσα σκέψη,Neo-Piagetian theories,Formal reasoning,Convergent thinking,Divergent thinking
URI: http://83.212.168.214/jspui/handle/123456789/10553
Appears in Collections:ΠΑΙΔΑΓΩΓΙΚΟ ΤΜΗΜΑ ΔΗΜΟΤΙΚΗΣ ΕΚΠΑΙΔΕΥΣΗΣ

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