Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Science Education Major in Chemistry

Subject Categories

Theory and Philosophy


Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


Science Education

Thesis Adviser

Adora S. Pili

Defense Panel Chair

Auxencia A. Limjap

Defense Panel Member

Bee Ching U. Ong
Fely L. Araneta
Maricar S. Prudente
Jaime Raul O. Janairo


This study aimed to determine and describe the problem solving strategies and conceptual understanding in chemical equilibrium among selected freshman students who were classified as surface and deep learners. It further investigated the misconceptions and errors of students in solving problems. Data were gathered utilizing study process questionnaire, conceptual understanding test and problem solving test. These were supported by think-aloud problem solving task and interviews. This study involved two intact classes of 58 engineering students enrolled in General Chemistry II in the second semester of SY 2006-2007 at the University of Eastern Philippines, Catarman, Northern Samar and was conducted for three weeks. Using the study process questionnaire, students were classified as either surface or deep learners. After the lesson on chemical equilibrium, conceptual understanding test and problem solving test were given to the students. Students were then grouped into six based on their learning approaches and level of conceptual understanding. One student from each group was purposely chosen for think aloud problem solving and interview. The data were subjected to qualitative and quantitative analysis. The findings of the study revealed that majority of the class (53%) are deep learners while 47% are surface learners. Using t-test analysis, surface and deep learners differ in the scores they obtained on concepts about factors affecting equilibrium. Chi square test of independence also showed that surface and deep learners significantly differ from each other in terms of their level of conceptual understanding on factors affecting equilibrium concepts. Students employing Correct Efficient, Correct Algorithmic and Incomplete strategies are mostly deep learners while those employing Correct Messy and Incorrect strategies are mostly surface learners. The poorest problem solving performance was seen in Problem 3 (equilibrium problem with 1 product unknown) and deep learners who employ correct efficient strategies mostly use such strategy in Problem 3. Chi square test also revealed a significant relationship between problem solving strategy and level of conceptual understanding in solving more complex problems but not in a simple problem that only requires direct substitution. However, problem solving strategy is not associated with learning approach of students. Multivariate tests revealed that students with different level of conceptual understanding and different problem solving strategies employed in solving each of the four problems does not vary in the scores they have in the four subscales of learning approach. Students also experienced several misconceptions in Chemical Equilibrium. Some of them are similar to those found in the literature. The errors in solving chemical equilibrium problems experienced by students are due to misconceptions in the basic concepts on chemical equilibrium, lack of knowledge and skills in stoichiometry, and lack of mathematical skills.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

xii, 228 leaves ; 28 cm.


Chemical equilibrium; Deep learning; Chemistry -- Study and teaching (Higher)

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