A sustained multidimensional conceptual change intervention in grade 9 and 10 science classes

Felicity McLure, Mihye Won, David F. Treagust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although the benefits of addressing cognitive, social and affective aspects of learning in order to support conceptual change have been discussed in the literature, there are few studies of such interventions in the normal classroom. This study used a multidimensional conceptual change framework in order to teach five biology and physics topics over one year to two classes, one from Grade 9 and one in Grade 10. Pre- and post-tests were administered to determine the degree of conceptual change. Results were compared with those from teaching comparison classes using more traditional methods. Interviews were conducted with students at various points throughout the year to determine their perceptions of the learning framework. Significant positive changes in conceptual test results were observed for all topics. In most cases these changes were significantly greater than those of students in comparison classes. Students also reported increased interest in studying science, adoption of mastery goals for learning and confidence in being able to understand concepts and write scientific explanations. This study has presented research findings within a framework that can be adopted to effectively teach a variety of topics through a multidimensional conceptual change lens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-721
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


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