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Assessment of Problem Solving Ability and Creativity in Chemistry Teaching at Secondary Schools in Binh Dinh, Vietnam

Le Thi Dang Chi, Tran Trung Ninh
American Journal of Educational Research. 2018, 6(6), 757-762. DOI: 10.12691/education-6-6-26
Received April 25, 2018; Revised May 23, 2018; Accepted May 28, 2018

Abstract

Chemistry plays an important role at the secondary school in developing common abilities and professional abilities, including problem solving competency and creativity. This is one of the core competencies that need to be set up and developed for students to meet the requirements of general education’s renovation. The assessment of the learner's ability to solve problems and creativity has many meanings in the educational process. This article presents a process for assessing problem solving competency and creativity in teaching chemistry at secondary schools in Binh Dinh Province, Vietnam.

1. Introduction

Problem-solving competency and creativity is one of the important abilities that needs forming and developing for secondary students. This is one of the abilities that helps students succeed in learning and in real life. Assessing learner’s abilities is a complex activity because they are hidden variables, the sum of many factors. There have been a number of studies on problem-solving competency and creativity in chemistry teaching published by Cao Thi Thang, Pham Thi Bich Dao 1, 2, 3, 4, Wüstenberg, Greiff 5, & Funke 6, Novick, L. R., & Bassok 7, Jonassen 8… In these studies problem-solving competency and creativity competency were studied separately in the direction to look for measures to develop it. The author Nguyen Thi Lan Huong 2, 9, Ronny Scherer, Rüdiger Tienmann 10, 11 has also done many studies on the assessment of the learner’s competencies, proposed structures and standards for assessing problem-solving competency in the general education curriculum. However, there have been no studies presenting the process of evaluating problem-solving competency and creativity in teaching chemistry in secondary schools. The research and development of problem-solving and creativity assessment process bears significant theoretical and practical implications. The scale can assist in measuring and evaluating problem-solving competency and creativity, while also providing the right orientations in fostering and developing this competency for secondary students.

2. Content

2.1. Theoretical bases of ability assessment

The ability assessment is based on the following three basic theories 9:

- Lev Vygotsky's Zone of proximal Development Theory (1896-1934);

- Robert Glaser's Theory of Development Path (1921-2012);

- Rasch’s Item Response Theory (1901-1980).

From these theories emerged the idea of "building an ability framework for use in both the assessment and the process of education and training". This idea can be implemented by two approaches:

- Performance Based Competency Standards are often used where the national training framework has been enacted, for example, in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa...

- Competency Moderation Approach. The main function of the competency moderation is to ensure that different applications of the standard are maintained within an acceptable limit.

The course based competency standards should take advantage of both approaches. The competency standards are described in detail through course competency structure and competency development path. To do so, it is necessary to carry out the following five major activities:

- Define the concept of competency

- Build competency structure including component competencies & behavioral indices

- Describe the scope of each component through the quality criteria

- Set up the competency development path

- Inspecting the development path through student samples and tools; modify and improve the competency development path and competency standards.

Moderation will be used in all the above activities.

2.2. Process of Assessing Problem Solving Competency and Creativity

Using the above-mentioned theoretical basis, we propose a 7-step assessment process for problem solving competency and creativity as presented in Table 1.


2.2.1. The Concept of Problem Solving Competency and Creativity

There are two approaches to of problem solving competency and creativity, a traditional approach to the problem solving competency and creativity with the process of problem solving competency, and a modern approach with information processing 9, 10, 11. The 2015 Program of International Student Assessment (PISA) combined problem solving competency and collaborative competency 12, 13. The 2017 global General Education Program of Vietnam has combined problem solving competency and creativity competency into creative problem solving.

For students, creative problem solving in learning is applying learning problem solving to find new ones at a certain level. In order to have problem solving competency and creativity, the subject must be in a problematic situation, seeking to resolve a cognitive or behavioral conflict and, as a result, develop a new resolution.


2.2.2. The Structure of Problem Solving Competency and Creativity

From their researches with reference to experiences of developed countries, in comparison with the education requirements and conditions in the country in the coming years, Vietnamese education scientists have proposed the orientation of the output quality and competency standards of the general education program, in which the specific manifestations of problem solving competency and creativity in secondary schools 14 (Table 2).


2.2.3. Establishing Quality Criteria for Behaviors of Problem Solving Competency And Creativity

From experts’ reviews and modifications, we propose to describe the quality criteria for behavior of problem solving competency and creativity as showed in Table 3.


2.2.4. Building the Development Path and Problem Solving and Creativity Standards

The purpose of developing ability standards is to determine the competency levels needed at the end of each education stage. These levels are often described as a competency development path 9.


2.2.4.1. Development path of problem solving ability and creativity

Based on the structure (including 6 components and 10 behaviors) and the quality criteria of problem solving competency and creativity, we have developed a development path of problem solving competency and creativity for secondary schools. Accordingly, problem solving competency and creativity of secondary school students can develop through 6 levels from low to high as described in Figure 1.


2.2.4.2. Standard capacity for problem solving and creativity

Based on the developmental approach to problem solving competency and creativity and the results of the small sample of students, we outlined the problem solving and creative competence standard in teaching chemistry in secondary school as described in Table 4.


2.2.5. Methods and Tools for Assessing Problem Solving Competency and Creativity

The assessment of competency in general, and problem solving competency and creativity in particular, is conducted both in the learning process and at the end of the study topic 9. The assessment should be conducted with a variety of methods such as tests, essay writing, practice, situational exercises, observation... In addition, it is necessary to create opportunities for all students to actively evaluate themselves and their peers.

Checklists were used to observe behaviors and situational assessment methods to design a toolkit for assessing students' problem solving competency and creativity in Chemistry teaching in secondary schools:


2.2.5.1. Use the checklist to examine the behaviors

The specific behaviors of each component of the problem solving competency and creativity are presented in a list, which can help teachers to observe student's learning and students to assert to what extent they have performed the behaviors.


2.2.5.2. Evaluate situations

Situation assessment is the assessment of the student's performance in a situation involving actual work experience. The following sample form can be used for the article "Acetic acid" - grade 9 at secondary school.


2.2.6. Verify the Competency Development Path through Student Representative Samples and Tools

We conducted the pedagogic experiment on 39 students of class 9A1 of Ngo May secondary school in Binh Dinh province, school year 2017-2018, to assess their problem solving competency and creativity through the Observatory checklists, self-evaluation tests, situational evaluation tests, experimental classes taught with the hands-on method. Here are some sample result reports:


2.2.6.1. Explain, report the problem solving competency and creativity of individuals

2.2.6.2. Explain, report on the problem solving competency and creativity development of the class

2.3. Discussion

The information obtained from the assessment will help the manager to adjust the school's educational plan, adjust the school curriculum to improve the level of competency development for each target group.

The interpretation of the students’ individual assessment (Table 7) will be used to determine the current development area and the surrounding development areas of each student. It also helps teachers to consider and make a reasonable pedagogic intervention plan, compatible with each student. In addition, students and teachers can work together or independently to look at progress and set goals for further learning.

In a classroom, there may be many students at the same level of component competency development. For example, the form explaining and reporting the problem solving competency and creativity development of the class (Table 8) shows that 10% of the students attained level 2, 30% of the students reached level 3, 30% of the students achieved level 4, and 30% reached levels 5 and 6. Based on the position of each group, the students at the same level 3 have different surrounding development areas, so the plans to support the children are different.

3. Conclusion

Problem solving competency and creativity is one of the important competencies that need to be set up and developed among high school students. Studying methodology of competency approach and assessment, we have identified the development pathway and the problem solving competency and creativity standards include 6 levels and 10 behaviors with specific quality criteria; identified methods, tools for evaluating problem solving competency and creativity, used methods of checklists on behaviors and situational assessment; performed pedagogical experiments at Ngo May Secondary school, Quy Nhon City, Binh Dinh Province. The obtained experimental results and feedback from teachers and students show that the competency evaluation process is feasible, which allows us to place our trust in our research. The assessment toolkit for problem solving competency and creativity is under research for improvement and put in experiment.

References

[1]  Pham Thi Bich Dao, Cao Thi Thuy (1/2015), Designing and Using Toolkit for Assessing Student's Creativity in Teaching Organic Chemistry in High Schools. Vietnam Journal of Educational Sciences, Issue 112, p. 31.
In article      
 
[2]  Nguyen Thi Lan Phuong, (2014), Proposal of structure and standards for assessing problem solving competencies in the new general education curriculum. Vietnam Journal of Educational Science, Issue 111, December 2014, pp. 1-6; p. 40.
In article      
 
[3]  Cao Thi Thang - Le Ngoc Vinh, (2014), Designing tools for evaluating teaching results by hands-on method in Chemistry. Vietnam Journal of Education, Issue 341, Section 1 of September, pp. 51-53.
In article      
 
[4]  Cao Thi Thang, Pham Thi Bich Dao (9/2014). The first steps of applying the hands-on method in the direction of developing creativity for high school students in teaching Chemistry. Vietnam Journal of Educational Sciences, Issue 108, p. 11.
In article      
 
[5]  Wüstenberg, S., Greiff, S., & Funke, J. (2012). Complex problem solving: More than reasoning? Intelligence, 40, 1-14.
In article      View Article
 
[6]  Funke, J. (2010). Complex problem solving: a case for complex cognition? Cognitive Processing, 11, 133-142.
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[7]  Novick, L. R., & Bassok, M. (2005). Problem solving. In K. J. Holyoak, & R. G. Morrison (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of thinking and reasoning (pp. 321-349). Cambridge, NY: University Press.
In article      PubMed
 
[8]  Jonassen, D. H. (2011). Learning to solve problems. New York, NY: Routledge.
In article      
 
[9]  Nguyen Thi Lan Phuong (chief editor), Truong Xuan Canh, Bach Ngoc Diep, Pham Thi Bich Dao, Do Tien Dat, Nguyen Thi Hanh, Dang Thi Thu Hue, Nguyen Hong Lien, Nguyen Tuyet Nga, Do Ngoc Thong, Nguyen Thi Hong Van, (2016), Program of Approaching and Assessing Learner’s Competence, Educational Publishing House, pp. 148-149.
In article      
 
[10]  Ronny Scherer, Rüdiger Tienmann. Factor of problem-solving competency in a virtual chemistry environment: The role of metacognitive knowledge about strategies. Germany Computers & Education.Volume 59,Issue 4, December 2012, Pages 1199-1214.
In article      View Article
 
[11]  Ronny Scherer, Rudiger Tienmann. Measuring student’ progressions in scientific problem solving: a psychometric approach. Germany Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Volume 112, 7 February 2014, Pages 87=96.
In article      View Article
 
[12]  The Organisation for Economic and Development (OECD) (2009), PISA 2006 Technical Report, OECD Publishing.
In article      
 
[13]  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131512001418.
In article      View Article
 
[14]  Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training (7/2017). General education curriculum, Hanoi.
In article      
 

Published with license by Science and Education Publishing, Copyright © 2018 Le Thi Dang Chi and Tran Trung Ninh

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Cite this article:

Normal Style
Le Thi Dang Chi, Tran Trung Ninh. Assessment of Problem Solving Ability and Creativity in Chemistry Teaching at Secondary Schools in Binh Dinh, Vietnam. American Journal of Educational Research. Vol. 6, No. 6, 2018, pp 757-762. http://pubs.sciepub.com/education/6/6/26
MLA Style
Chi, Le Thi Dang, and Tran Trung Ninh. "Assessment of Problem Solving Ability and Creativity in Chemistry Teaching at Secondary Schools in Binh Dinh, Vietnam." American Journal of Educational Research 6.6 (2018): 757-762.
APA Style
Chi, L. T. D. , & Ninh, T. T. (2018). Assessment of Problem Solving Ability and Creativity in Chemistry Teaching at Secondary Schools in Binh Dinh, Vietnam. American Journal of Educational Research, 6(6), 757-762.
Chicago Style
Chi, Le Thi Dang, and Tran Trung Ninh. "Assessment of Problem Solving Ability and Creativity in Chemistry Teaching at Secondary Schools in Binh Dinh, Vietnam." American Journal of Educational Research 6, no. 6 (2018): 757-762.
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[1]  Pham Thi Bich Dao, Cao Thi Thuy (1/2015), Designing and Using Toolkit for Assessing Student's Creativity in Teaching Organic Chemistry in High Schools. Vietnam Journal of Educational Sciences, Issue 112, p. 31.
In article      
 
[2]  Nguyen Thi Lan Phuong, (2014), Proposal of structure and standards for assessing problem solving competencies in the new general education curriculum. Vietnam Journal of Educational Science, Issue 111, December 2014, pp. 1-6; p. 40.
In article      
 
[3]  Cao Thi Thang - Le Ngoc Vinh, (2014), Designing tools for evaluating teaching results by hands-on method in Chemistry. Vietnam Journal of Education, Issue 341, Section 1 of September, pp. 51-53.
In article      
 
[4]  Cao Thi Thang, Pham Thi Bich Dao (9/2014). The first steps of applying the hands-on method in the direction of developing creativity for high school students in teaching Chemistry. Vietnam Journal of Educational Sciences, Issue 108, p. 11.
In article      
 
[5]  Wüstenberg, S., Greiff, S., & Funke, J. (2012). Complex problem solving: More than reasoning? Intelligence, 40, 1-14.
In article      View Article
 
[6]  Funke, J. (2010). Complex problem solving: a case for complex cognition? Cognitive Processing, 11, 133-142.
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[7]  Novick, L. R., & Bassok, M. (2005). Problem solving. In K. J. Holyoak, & R. G. Morrison (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of thinking and reasoning (pp. 321-349). Cambridge, NY: University Press.
In article      PubMed
 
[8]  Jonassen, D. H. (2011). Learning to solve problems. New York, NY: Routledge.
In article      
 
[9]  Nguyen Thi Lan Phuong (chief editor), Truong Xuan Canh, Bach Ngoc Diep, Pham Thi Bich Dao, Do Tien Dat, Nguyen Thi Hanh, Dang Thi Thu Hue, Nguyen Hong Lien, Nguyen Tuyet Nga, Do Ngoc Thong, Nguyen Thi Hong Van, (2016), Program of Approaching and Assessing Learner’s Competence, Educational Publishing House, pp. 148-149.
In article      
 
[10]  Ronny Scherer, Rüdiger Tienmann. Factor of problem-solving competency in a virtual chemistry environment: The role of metacognitive knowledge about strategies. Germany Computers & Education.Volume 59,Issue 4, December 2012, Pages 1199-1214.
In article      View Article
 
[11]  Ronny Scherer, Rudiger Tienmann. Measuring student’ progressions in scientific problem solving: a psychometric approach. Germany Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Volume 112, 7 February 2014, Pages 87=96.
In article      View Article
 
[12]  The Organisation for Economic and Development (OECD) (2009), PISA 2006 Technical Report, OECD Publishing.
In article      
 
[13]  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131512001418.
In article      View Article
 
[14]  Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training (7/2017). General education curriculum, Hanoi.
In article