Language difficulty among chemistry students in the use of non-technical words in chemistry textbooks

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Science Education Major in Chemistry

Subject Categories



Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


Science Education

Thesis Adviser

Adelaida L. Bago

Defense Panel Chair

Melecio C. Deauna

Defense Panel Member

Bee Ching U. Ong
Adora Pili
Martin C. Ilao
Gerardo C. Janairo


This study attempts to identify the non-technical words commonly used in high school and college chemistry textbooks and to determine their degrees of difficulty. The study has two parts: the development, try-out and validation of the Word Knowledge Test (WKT) and the investigation of students language competencies.The subjects of the study were 400 high school and 400 college students randomly selected and stratified into private, public and vocational-technical (voc-tech) schools.To validate the WKT, Item Analysis and Rasch Analysis were conducted. For the investigation, the following tests were employed: descriptive statistics like frequency, percentage, mean, standard deviation t-test one way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) Linear and Multiple Regression and the Newman Error Analysis.Statistical findings showed that Item Analysis and Rasch Analysis gave an alpha value of 0.927 and an item estimates value of 0.902 and 0.903 for Sets A and B, respectively. The t-test yielded -2.09 t value for high school and 0.081 for college. For high school the ANOVA produced a p value of 0.02 and 0.179 in college. Linear and Multiple Regression yielded a correlation coefficient r2 value of 0.014 and an R2 of 0.369 for high school 0.013 and 0.306 for college, respectively. Lastly, the Newman Error Analysis indicated a high proportion of 71.89 percent errors in Comprehension, 7.33 percent in Transformation, 0.61 percent in Reading and 18.33 percent in Carelessness.

The findings showed that the Word Knowledge Test is a valid and reliable instrument. High school students have greater difficulty in non-technical words inadequate knowledge of the meaning and lack precision in its usage than college students. College students on the other hand, have more facility and ease in the use of non-technical vocabulary than high school students.In terms of performance in WKT, gender was a factor and the type of school determined the performance of students in high school but not in college. Male students performed better than female and students from private schools performed better than those from public and voc-tech schools in high school. There was no significant difference in performance in college. Comprehension and Transformation problems affect performance.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

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

Physical Description

259 numb. leaves ; Computer print-out


Chemistry--Study and teaching; Language and Languages--Ability testing; Textbooks; Science--Language; Chemistry students; High school students

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