Pre-Service teachers' mental models of electricity and magnetism

Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Teaching Major in Physics


Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


Science Education

Thesis Adviser

Lydia S. Roleda

Defense Panel Chair

Maria Cecilia D. Galvez

Defense Panel Member

Joseph L. Scheiter
Maricar S. Prudente


This study investigated the mental models on electricity and magnetism of pre-service teachers with specialization in physics at a government education university. The respondents consisted of 174 students divided into two groups: No E&M and With E&M. The No E&M group are the students who have not taken any college electricity and magnetism (E&M) course while the With E&M group are the students who have taken at least one college E&M course. The instrument used is the Conceptual Survey on Electricity and Magnetism (CSEM), a 32-item multiple-choice standardized test, and it consisted of 11 conceptual areas in E&M. The statistical treatments used for the data were factor analysis and model analysis. Factor analysis was used to determine the common conceptions of students in E&M while model analysis was used to determine the mental models employed by students when answering E&M problems. The mental models of the students were categorized as expert, student and null model. The expert model is the mental model that is accepted by the scientific community to be correct. The student model is an incorrect or partially correct mental model that students created based on experience or previous instruction. The null model is a mental model that is not describable by a well-understood mental model. The student model was based on the most common conceptions used by students in E&M. Using the model analysis, both groups showed that the respondents consistently made use of the student model in 5 out of 11 conceptual areas of the CSEM. These conceptual areas are the following: 5) work, electric potential, field and force, 6) induced charge and electric field, 7) magnetic force, 8) magnetic field caused by a current, and 10) Faradays v De La Salle University law. However, both groups possessed mixed model for the conceptual areas of Coulombs force law and Newtons third law. Factor analysis was also used in this study, where 14 factors were obtained. These 14 factors have explained 64.5% of the total variance and only about 35.43% is attributed to other variables. This was different from the 11 topics that were presented by Maloney et al. Each factor represents a robust conception for both groups in electricity and magnetism, which was derived from the correlation between the factors and the items of CSEM. To further probe the conceptions of students, an interview was done on high performing and low performing students. The answers of both the high performing and low performing students during the interview showed that they have the same conceptions on E&M. The high performing students showed that there was little change in their conceptions even if they have already studied college E&M. The results from the three methods used: model analysis, factor analysis and interviews, corroborated with each other.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

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

Physical Description

1 computer optical disc ; 4 3/4 in.

This document is currently not available here.