Küçüközer and Kocakülah (2008)

This Turkish study investigated conceptual change in secondary school students’ understanding of voltages in simple series and parallel circuits, identifying some prominent misconceptions. They explore how some of these are reduced while others are actually reinforced by a short teaching and learning programme.

Evidence-based suggestions

  • Ammeters should be used to demonstrate the conservation of current throughout circuit loops.

Learners’ ideas

  • Batteries are constant current sources, regardless of the circuit they are used in.
  • A significant number of students (38.4%) have the misconception of "consumption of current" but this was reduced by the teaching programme.
  • Almost half (43.4%) of the students in the pre-test used the concepts of voltage, current and energy interchangeably with each other but this was reduced to only 13% by teaching.
  • A third (30.4%) of students thought that when the number of batteries increases the bulb gives more light, regardless of other changes in the circuit. This could be reduced significantly through appropriate teaching.

Study Structure


The study examines the effect of teaching designed to consider students' misconceptions about simple electric circuits on conceptual change.

Evidence collection

Data was collected before a teaching programme, including a conceptual understanding test created with input from physics education experts and literature analysis. After teaching, the test was retaken immediately and six months later. Test responses were categorised as scientifically correct, partially correct, incorrect, un-codable and no explanation provided, and this data was used to evaluate the teaching program.

Details of the sample

108 students aged approximately 14 years; nine were randomly selected for the interviews.

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