oa Interim : Interdisciplinary Journal - Problems first-year university students bring to science classes and implications for teaching and learning

Volume 7 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1684-498X



An exploratory study was conducted to investigate firstly, the contextual problems first-year university students experienced at their respective schools and secondly, the subject related-problems that they could be bringing to science classes and which could later affect their understanding of science concepts. The study is grounded in constructivism. A questionnaire was administered to all the 2007 First-year B.Ed (FET) Natural Science students at the Central University of Technology, Free State. The contextual problems identified by respondents included school, educator, examiner and student-related problems. Subject specific problem areas were identified in biology, chemistry and physics. The paper also reports on the preliminary results of some teaching interventions implemented in the three subjects. A Force Concept Inventory (FCI) test was administered to the physics students, and a concept test for chemistry group. Concept mapping as a teaching and learning strategy has been introduced in biology classes. Further research continues on the effectiveness of these interventions.

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