Students’ Misconceptions in Psychology: Review

1. Research: Question or problem

The motive of this study was to examine and explore if the true or false format that is commonly used to evaluate misconception amplifies students’ level of misconceptions (Taylor & Kowalski, 2012, p. 62).

2. Introduction

The introduction pointed out the importance of using prior knowledge to make sense of new knowledge, however a study revealed that when previous knowledge refutes new information it notably makes learning new information difficult and complicated (Lipson, 1982, as citied in Taylor & Kowalski, 2012, p. 62). The authors argued that student will finish the introductory psychology course with their false beliefs unchanged unless some powerful intervention help to challenge the false beliefs (2012, p.62.). Also, the authors argued that to change a misconception, students must be presented with useful and credible alternatives, which they will understand (Taylor & Kowalski, 2012, p.63).

The true or false format has been attacked for using outdated or unrelated items and items with no content validity to introductory text (Griggs & Ransdell, 1987; Lamal, 1979, as cited in Taylor & Kowalski, 2012, p, 63). Another testing format used by some researchers called two-item forced choice aid to examine whether students both receive the accurate claim and reject the inaccurate claim when simultaneously showed two alternatives (Taylor & Kowalski, 2012, p. 64). The authors decided to compare true/false format with the forced choice format; the result will determine if different testing method intensify students’ misconceptions.

3. Methodology

The participants of this study were 155 female students from a class total of 164; the participants were primary Caucasian, traditional college age freshmen, and introductory psychology students (Taylor & Kowalski, 2012, p. 65). The student had to complete 39 items that was made by Bensley et al; the questionnaire consisted of true/false and forced choice version that was made from previous true and false questionnaires (Taylor & Kowalski, 2012, p, 65). The student completed the questionnaire online in less than an hour (Taylor & Kowalski, 2012, p. 65).

4. Results

The result clearly stated that almost all the items correctness was greater when the participants were tested with forced choice version instead of the True and false version (Taylor & Kowalski, 2012, p. 66). This result further agreed with the authors’ assumption that true and false testing format tend to lead to an overestimation of the preponderance of misconceptions among students (Taylor & Kowalski, 2012, p. 66). Overall, the result revealed that out of

39 items questioned, twenty five of them seemed to be common misconception, nine of them counted on how they were asked, and five remaining seemed to not be misconception no matter how the students were asked (Taylor & Kowalski, 2012, p. 66).

5. Discussion

The authors concluded that how students are asked, such as true and false method could increase the level of students’ misconceptions (Taylor & Kowalski, 2012, p. 68). Due to further studies, researchers revealed that think- aloud procedure might aid in determine the processes of this study by analyzing if students encounter contrast understanding of the question or misconception (Taylor & Kowalski, 2012, p. 68). In addition, the authors urged researchers to pretest their instruments and recommended the continued attention towards ways of assessing misconceptions, as researchers delicately chase factors that might lower misconceptions in the classrooms (Taylor & Kowalski, 2012, pp. 68-69).

6. Reference

The reference format used in this article was consistent and cited correctly. Exactly 36 references were noted to be from different sources while being relatable to the issue within the article (Taylor & Kowalski, 2012, pp. 75-77). Majority of the reference were outdated with around 15 references dated between 2000-2009 (Taylor & Kowalski, 2012, pp. 75-77).

7. Personal Reaction

I found this article to be interesting and informative, however I believe a better-designed research is compulsory to further analyze this study. For example, I believe that another way to study the issue noted in this article could be adding the option of “ none of these options are correct” in which students would be allow to support their answers with evidence; this might aid in better solving the issue within this study