A Study on students’ misconceptions in learning high school electrochemistry concepts


1 (PhD), Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University, Tehran, Iran

2 (PhD), Zanjan University, Zanjan, Iran



The theory of constructivism recognizes that students bring to any new learning situation a set of preconceptions based on their previous knowledge and experiences. Those preconceptions which are inconsistent with or different from the commonly accepted scientific consensus and the students are unable to adequately explain the observable scientific phenomena using them are defined as misconceptions. Several researchers in different countries have documented students’ misconceptions in electrochemistry. The purpose of the present study was to identify Iranian students misconceptions in learning electrochemistry. For this purpose, 331 students were randomly selected from five municipal districts of Tehran (namely, districts 2, 5, 6, 9, and 16) in the educational year 1386-87 (comparable to 2007-2008), including 141 male and 190 female students. The test contained 7 multiple-choice questions, consisting of a set of alternative answers, and 1 open-ended question. Also, the questions covered subjects such as the concept of oxidation-reduction, electrodic potentials, concept of anode and cathode, completion of electrical circuit in galvanic cells, standard hydrogen electrode, and the role of salt bridge in electrochemical cells. The results identified students’ new electrochemical misconceptions as well as some of those previously reported. The identification of common misconceptions of students can improve teaching methods and educational content.