Investigating primary and secondary student's learning of physics concepts in Taiwan

Huey Por Chang, Jun Yi Chen, Chorng Jee Guo, Chung Chih Chen, Ching Yi Chang, Shean Huei Lin, Wei Jou Su, Kuen Der Lain, Shun Yi Hsu, Jang Long Lin, Chin Chang Chen, Yi Ting Cheng, Loung Shyi Wang, Yaw Teng Tseng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this 4-year research study was to develop paper-and-pencil tests that could be administered to a wide range of students in order to establish a database about students' physics conceptions from elementary school to high school levels in Taiwan. The students' misconceptions of mechanics, electricity and magnetism, heat, sound and wave, and optics were diagnosed. In the beginning of this study, we extensively reviewed the research literature on related conceptions. With the use of concept maps and related propositional statements, we also interviewed some students to find out their conceptual understanding of the selected key concepts. These data provided sufficient information about students' thoughts of several concepts. Through a process of developing two-tier test items, nine versions of physics questionnaires were obtained. More than 13,000 students were randomly sampled in a national survey. After data analysis, the results indicated that students' misconceptions in physics such as the image formed by lenses and mirrors and the torque and rotational motion were consistent with their ages. However, in some cases, such as the current in an electric circuit, students' understandings of concepts did not improve with age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-482
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Mar 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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