Special Presentation at CREATE for STEM: Katrin Weber


Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm


133F Erickson

Developing a Learning Progression for Chemical Reactions

A light lunch will be served. Please RSVP by Tuesday, 11/03 to Olga Lami-Schmizzi (olga1@msu.edu).

Katrin Weber

Visiting Scholar, Germany. 

The focus of this study is the development and validation of a learning progression for chemical reactions at the lower secondary level (grades 7-9). A validated learning progression will inform and help in the design of curricula and teaching units by describing potential ways in which abilities and knowledge can be developed over time. Initially, we developed a strand map for student abilities in two core concepts of chemistry (“Structure of Matter” and “Chemical Reaction”) that outlines such a progression. The strand map serves as a basis for outlining the progress variables “Structure of Matter” and “Chemical Reaction”. The following stages of progress are suggested for the progress variable “Structure of Matter”: level of “…phenomena”, “…Dalton’s atomic model” and “…Bohr’s atomic model”. For the progress variable “Chemical Reaction” the following stages of progress are assumed: chemical reaction as “…substance transformation”, “…rearrangement of atoms” and “…changes in electron shells”. For the validation of the learning progression, student abilities are assessed in a paper-and-pencil test in multiple-choice-single-select format. For the test instrument, 100 test items have been developed. In the main study the sample consists of 591 students, grades 7-9, from a German Gymnasium (academic track secondary school). Data are analyzed using IRT methodology and correlation analyses. First results show that data fit a two-dimensional Rasch model (p < .001). These two dimensions are the progress variables “Structure of Matter” and “Chemical Reaction”. The most difficult items refer to abilities at the top of the strand map whereas the easiest items refer to abilities at the bottom of the strand map. Correlation analyses are expected to yield insight into the assumed relations between the particular abilities of the strand map. 

About the Speaker:
Katrin Weber is a visiting scholar from Germany at CREATE for STEM Institute for two months. After passing the First (University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany) and the Second State Examination (teacher training in Gelsenkirchen and Bottrop, Germany), she became a research assistant and graduate student at the Institute of Chemistry Education at the University of Duisburg-Essen.