What are the knowledge gaps of students in chemistry and how are they affected by teacher’s prioritization of topics? - A comparison between Swedish upper secondary school and university

Examensarbete för masterexamen

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Type: Examensarbete för masterexamen
Title: What are the knowledge gaps of students in chemistry and how are they affected by teacher’s prioritization of topics? - A comparison between Swedish upper secondary school and university
Authors: Larsson, Karl
Palmgren, Adam
Abstract: The purpose of education in the Swedish upper secondary school is described in The Education Act and as such defines the foundation for the recruitment to higher education, which is the topic of this thesis. The curriculum in Swedish upper secondary school is regulated at a national level, meaning there is a standard for which topics are to be covered in each course. The “central content”, which is described by the Swedish National Agency for Education, lists what topics a course is required to cover. It is therefore of interest to investigate how teachers prioritize and interpret different topics in chemistry. Our goal is to answer the following questions: • Which are the knowledge gaps in chemistry between upper secondary school and universities, from the perspective of teachers at both levels? • How does prioritization and interpretation of topics taught within upper secondary school chemistry affect the student knowledge gaps that exist between upper secondary school and university, from the perspective of teachers at both levels? This project uses a mixed method, meaning both interviews and surveys were conducted. The results are grouped into four parts, Prioritization of topics in chemistry at both levels, What students find difficult in chemistry, according to teachers, University teachers’ opinions on undergraduates’ lack of knowledge and The opinion of teachers on the curriculum at upper secondary school. Findings in each part of the result is discussed and analysed separately. Several factors which influence the knowledge gaps of students and why teachers prioritize topics as they do were found to be the following. Knowledge gaps: • Upper secondary school teachers rarely teach chemical bonding using atomic orbitals • Differences in education between different upper secondary schools • How students use and understand mathematics in the context of chemistry. What influences topic prioritization and its effects on knowledge gaps: • The different approaches teachers use to create interest amongst students. • The effects of different chemistry textbooks. • The adaptation for differences in groups of students by teachers. Suggested measures to remove these knowledge gaps can be summarized into three points. Teachers should primarily teach chemical bonding using atomic orbitals instead of Bohr’s atom model to the extent possible. More distinct goals for Chemistry 1 and Chemistry 2 should be specified through a national obligatory test. Increase pedagogical discussion and collaborations between university and upper secondary school.
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Chalmers tekniska högskola / Institutionen för vetenskapens kommunikation och lärande (CLS)
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12380/302546
Collection:Examensarbeten för masterexamen // Master Theses



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