Development of Understanding in Chemistry

  • Hannah Sevian
  • Vicente Talanquer
  • Astrid M. W. Bulte
  • Angelica Stacy
  • Jennifer Claesgens
Part of the Contributions from Science Education Research book series (CFSE, volume 1)


Research in science education is concerned with studying and describing how student learning develops over time toward building understanding of core 'big ideas.' This paper offers perspectives on how the development of coherent conceptual understanding in chemistry may be approached. Following an overview of what 'learning progressions' are, the following three aspects of learning progressions research are highlighted: interpreting student reasoning in terms of cognitive constraints that influence learning, mapping student understanding in chemistry, and promoting the development of understanding through engagement in purposeful activity.


Student Learning Conceptual Change Conceptual Understanding Student Understanding Progress Variable 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors wish to acknowledge funding sources that provided support for their research: HS acknowledges US NSF award 0412390, AMWB acknowledges the Department of Chemistry of Utrecht University, and AS acknowledges US NSF award 0125651. Part of this work was conducted while one of the authors (HS) was under employment of the US National Science Foundation (NSF). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and/or of those whose work is drawn upon and do not necessarily reflect the views of any of the funding sources. The authors acknowledge their coauthors who significantly contributed to the work summarized in this chapter: Kathleen Scalise, John Gilbert, and Albert Pilot.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hannah Sevian
    • 1
  • Vicente Talanquer
    • 2
  • Astrid M. W. Bulte
    • 3
  • Angelica Stacy
    • 4
  • Jennifer Claesgens
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of Massachusetts-BostonBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  3. 3.Freudenthal Institute for Science and Mathematics EducationUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of ChemistryUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  5. 5.Center for Science Teaching and LearningNorthern Arizona UniversityFlagstaffUSA

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