Sex and Grade Issues in Influencing Misconceptions about Force and Laws of Motion: An Application of Cognitively Diagnostic Assessment


The force and laws of motion concept is a key concept for learning mechanics and comprehending other complex concepts in physics. If students possess misconceptions about this concept, learning mechanics will be meaningless, which could lead to failure in physics learning. Sexes and grades may influence students’ misconceptions. However, there are contradictory findings regarding their effects on students’ misconceptions. In this study, we diagnosed misconceptions about force and laws of motion in 522 Thai high schoolers using the cognitively diagnostic assessment. Misconceptions about force and laws of motion comprise six attributes, i.e., (1) resultant force, (2) Newton’s first law of motion, (3) Newton’s second law of motion, (4) Newton’s third law of motion, (5) frictional force, and (6) gravitational force. In addition, we compared the proportional differences among students of different sexes and grades who possessed misconceptions about each attribute of force and laws of motion. The results showed that the percentage of high schoolers who possessed misconceptions was high for all six attributes. There was a significant difference in the proportion of male and female students who possessed misconceptions about resultant force. Moreover, there were significant differences in the proportions of students of different grades who possessed misconceptions about resultant force and Newton’s second law of motion. The research findings suggested teachers should develop remedial programs to correct their high schoolers’ misconceptions about force and laws of motion for all six attributes

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International Journal of Instruction

Last time updated on 22/11/2023

This paper was published in International Journal of Instruction.

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