Enhancement and assessment of students systems thinking skills by application of systemic synthesis questions in the organic chemistry course

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Tamara N. Hrin
Dušica D. Milenković
Mirjana D. Segedinac
Saša Horvat


Many studies in the field of science education have emphasized the fact that systems thinking is a very important higher-order thinking skill that should be fostered during classes. However, more attention has been dedicated to the different ways of the assessment of systems thinking skills, and less to their enhancement. Taking this into consideration, the goal of this study was not only to validate the systems thinking skills of secondary school students, but also to help students in the complex process of their development. With this goal, new instructional and assessment tools – systemic synthesis questions [SSynQs], were constructed, and an experiment with one experimental (E) and one control (C) group was conducted during organic chemistry classes. Namely, the instructional teaching/learning method for both E and C groups was the same in processing new contents, but different on classes for the revision of the selected organic chemistry contents. The results showed that students exposed to the new instructional method (E group) achieved higher performance scores on three different types of systems thinking than students from the C group, who were taught by the traditional method. The greatest difference between the groups was found in the most complex dimension of systems thinking construct – in the II level of procedural systems thinking. Along with this dimension, structural systems thinking and the I level of the procedural systems thinking were also observed. 


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T. N. Hrin, D. D. Milenković, M. D. Segedinac, and S. Horvat, “Enhancement and assessment of students systems thinking skills by application of systemic synthesis questions in the organic chemistry course”, J. Serb. Chem. Soc., vol. 81, no. 12, pp. 1455–1471, Dec. 2016.
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