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Students’ Competence in Verbal Reasoning and Language Skills in Their Learning Throughout the BSc-Extended Course

Naledi H. Jele, Helen Drummond, and Mailoo Selvaratnam
Department of Chemistry, North West University (Mafikeng-Campus), South Africa
Abstract—This paper studied students’ competence in verbal reasoning, and language skills in their learning throughout a BSc-extended course. This included testing their information processing and verbal reasoning skills, and their understanding of the meanings of some important non-technical words and phrases used in the chemistry curriculum. Fourteen questions were used to test aspects of language and verbal reasoning difficulties associated with learning chemistry. The questions tested their understanding of words such as qualitative and quantitative, description and explanation, ability to convert statements into equations, ability to represent information as diagrams, direct and inverse proportion reasoning, relationships between words and applications of laws. Results indicated that many students had difficulties with both language and verbal reasoning. Many of these difficulties were due to their not understanding the words used in the phrases or sentences given. The results suggest that it is essential, while teaching, to ensure that students understand the words used and also that they must be trained in verbal reasoning and information processing (e.g. converting statements into equations and diagrams).

Index Terms—verbal reasoning, problem solving, nontechnical words, language skills

Cite: Naledi H. Jele, Helen Drummond, and Mailoo Selvaratnam, "Students’ Competence in Verbal Reasoning and Language Skills in Their Learning Throughout the BSc-Extended Course," International Journal of Learning and Teaching, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 7-15, June 2015. doi: 10.18178/ijlt.1.1.7-15
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