Alternative Conceptions of Organic Chemistry Topics among Fourth Year Chemistry Students


Chemistry and Biochemistry

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This study describes the conceptual understanding for a series of fundamental org. concepts by fourth year chem. students from a midsize, southeastern, state university. Student volunteers (n = 19) participated in semi-structured interviews using a think aloud protocol. The interview questions were eleven multiple choice questions selected from the Org. Chem. examn. developed by the Examns. Institute of the Division of Chem. Education, American Chem. Society. The questions were chosen to represent a range of concepts that are fundamental to the org. chem. course sequence. Anal. of the interview transcripts revealed trends in the students' knowledge and alternative conceptions. Of particular interest, it was found that some alternative conceptions mirrored those previously seen with students in introductory chem., indicating the persistence of such alternative conceptions. Implications for instructional approaches particular to org. chem. are discussed.