A study investigating a hierarchical model relating to the concept of conservation of mechanical energy

Pottle, John Edward (1982) A study investigating a hierarchical model relating to the concept of conservation of mechanical energy. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The major purpose of this study was to identify a learning hierarchy leading to the learning of the concept of conservation of mechanical energy, to the level normally found in high school physics courses. A secondary purpose was to determine students' misconceptions relating to the specific skills hypothesized to lead to the attainment of this concept. -- The main sample consisted of 156 grade-ten physics students in two senior high schools. A test instrument, which was designed to test for skills of the hypothesized hierarchy, was administered to these subjects soon after instruction of the topic was completed by the teacher involved. A similar test was administered one week after the initial test. An instructional booklet, which was intended to remediate for skills which subjects failed to learn during regular classroom instruction, was administered after the initial test. -- Two psychometric methods, namely the ordering-theoretic method and the Dayton and Macready method were used to analyze the data. The results of this analysis indicated that the hypothesized hierarchy was not supported in its entirety. However, an alternative hierarchy containing eight of the ten skills of the hypothesized hierarchy was considered valid. Most connections between component skills within this alternative hierarchy were also validated by both methods. However, further testing of the relationship between some skills was considered desirable. Consequently, these relationships were further tested with a supplementary sample of 123 grade-ten students. Analysis of these data resulted in agreement between the ordering-theoretic and Dayton and Macready methods, and a psychometrically validated hierarchy was presented. -- A further test was also applied to the data in order to determine if transfer of learning existed between subordinate and superordinate skills. Connections between three of the upper skills in the hierarchy were validated in terms of the learning transfer relationship. Learning transfer relationships for the other skills could not be determined because of a limitation in the test of transfer applied. -- The report concludes with a discussion of subjects' misconceptions of the skills involved, as revealed by analysis of the test items.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/11274
Item ID: 11274
Additional Information: Bibliography : leaves 97-100.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1982
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Learning, Psychology of; Physics--Study and teaching (Secondary)

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