Spatial Thinking and Representational Competence in Chemistry

Monday, 16 February 2015: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Room LL21F (San Jose Convention Center)
Mike Stieff,University of Illinois, Chicago, IL
Poor spatial ability is assumed to be a barrier to success in science. This talk examines alternative factors to better explain the learning difficulties students experience in chemistry. Among these factors representational competence and strategy choice explain a significant amount of variance in student achievement. Both constructs are highly responsive to disciplinary instruction and present an opportune target to improve the retention of underrepresented students in this science.