Learners’ issues in the preparation and qualitative analysis of salts topics in chemistry: Teachers’ perspectives

Muhamad Furkan Mat Salleh 1 2, Rose Amnah Abd. Rauf 1 * , Rohaida Mohd Saat 1, Mohamad Hisyam Ismail 1
More Detail
1 Department of Mathematics and Science Education, Faculty of Education, Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
2 Department of Science Education, Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Puncak Alam, Selangor, MALAYSIA
* Corresponding Author
EUR J SCI MATH ED, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp. 392-409. https://doi.org/10.30935/scimath/12789
Published Online: 02 January 2023, Published: 01 July 2023
OPEN ACCESS   232 Views   144 Downloads
Download Full Text (PDF)


This study examines learners’ issues in learning the preparation and qualitative analysis of salts topic from Malaysian chemistry teachers’ perspectives. The researchers adopted a qualitative design and conducted semi-structured interviews with sixteen informants who have experience of teaching chemistry for more than five years. They were selected via purposive sampling. Document analysis was conducted to verify and supplement findings obtained from the interviews. The study reports five issues that emerged from the data analysis: negative perceptions, dealing with the number of information, imagining abstract concepts, mastery of basic knowledge and solving problems, and fulfilling the grading criteria. The study results confirm the unanimity of past studies on students’ unfavorable views on these topics and their struggle in learning abstract concepts involved in the salts formation and analysis. Besides, students’ issues are also significantly rooted in having weak prior knowledge of salts, affecting their ability to solve related problems. The study suggested that teachers must practice various approaches and strategies deemed effective in aiding learners in learning and be more selective in choosing approaches tailored to the individual students’ issues in learning these topics in class.


Salleh, M. F. M., Rauf, R. A. A., Saat, R. M., & Ismail, M. H. (2023). Learners’ issues in the preparation and qualitative analysis of salts topics in chemistry: Teachers’ perspectives. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 11(3), 392-409. https://doi.org/10.30935/scimath/12789


  • Álvarez-Herrero, J.-F., & Valls-Bautista, C. (2021). The game as a strategy of learning chemistry among high school students. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 9(3), 80-91. https://doi.org/10.30935/scimath/10947
  • Anim-Eduful, B., & Adu-Gyamfi, K. (2022). Chemistry students’ conceptual understanding of organic qualitative analysis. Pedagogical Research, 7(4), em0132. https://doi.org/10.29333/pr/12307
  • Araujo, M. C., Carneiro, P., Cruz-Aguayo, Y., & Schady, N. (2016). Teacher quality and learning outcomes in kindergarten. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 131(3), 1415-1453. https://doi.org/10.1093/qje/qjw016
  • Bouabdallah, I. (2021). Utilizing concept maps to remediate prospective physics and chemistry teachers’ difficulties in inorganic qualitative analysis. African Journal of Chemical Education-AJCE, 11(2), 11.
  • Cardellini, L. (2012). Chemistry: Why the subject is difficult? Educación Química [Chemistry Education], 23, 305-310. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0187-893x(17)30158-1
  • Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. SAGE. https://doi.org/10.2307/1523157
  • Damanhuri, M. I. M., Treagust, D. F., Won, M., & Chandrasegaran, A. L. (2016). High school students’ understanding of acid-base concepts: An ongoing challenge for teachers. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 11(1), 9-27. https://doi.org/10.12973/ijese.2015.284a
  • Darling-Hammond, L., Flook, L., Cook-Harvey, C., Barron, B., & Osher, D. (2019). Implications for educational practice of the science of learning and development. Applied Developmental Science, 24(2), 97-140. https://doi.org/10.1080/10888691.2018.1537791
  • Demircioglu, G., Ayas, A., & Demircioglu, H. (2005). Conceptual change achieved through a new teaching program on acids and bases. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 6(1), 36-51. https://doi.org/10.1039/B4RP90003K
  • Doraiseriyan, E., & Damanhuri, M. I. (2021). Tinjauan keperluan terhadap pembinaan permainan dalam pembelajaran tajuk garam bagi pelajar tingkatan 4 [A survey of the needs of the construction of games in the learning of salt for form 4 students]. Jurnal Pendidikan Sains Dan Matematik Malaysia [Malaysian Journal of Science and Mathematics Education], 11, 21-28. https://doi.org/10.37134/jpsmm.vol11.sp.2.2021
  • Eisen, L., Marano, N., & Glazier, S. (2014). Activity-based approach for teaching aqueous solubility, energy, and entropy. Journal of Chemical Education, 91(4), 484-491. https://doi.org/10.1021/ed4005563
  • Elham, H., & Dilmaghani, K. A. (2019). Students’ misconceptions on acid-base chemistry. Iraqi Academic Scientific Journals change to Basic Education College Magazine for Educational and Humanities Sciences, 43, 743-753.
  • Farida, I., Helsy, I., Fitriani, I., & Ramdhani, M. A. (2018). Learning material of chemistry in high school using multiple representations. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, 288, 012078. https://doi.org/10.1088/1757-899X/288/1/012078
  • Gkitzia, V., Salta, K., & Tzougraki, C. (2020). Students’ competence in translating between different types of chemical representations. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 21(1), 307-330. https://doi.org/10.1039/c8rp00301g
  • Hartman, J. A. R., & Nelson, E. A. (2015). “Do we need to memorize that?” or cognitive science for chemists. Foundations of Chemistry, 17(3), 263-274. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10698-015-9226-z
  • Izzati, S., & Rochmah, N. (2020). Analysis of students’ comprehension and misconception towards the topic of salt solubility. Jurnal Penelitian Dan Pembelajaran IPA [Journal of Science Research and Learning], 6(1), 152. https://doi.org/10.30870/jppi.v6i1.7324
  • Kuit, V. K., & Osman, K. (2021). Chembond3d e-module effectiveness in enhancing students’ knowledge of chemical bonding concept and visual-spatial skills. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 9(4), 252-264. https://doi.org/10.30935/SCIMATH/11263
  • Kulasegaram, K., & Rangachari, P. K. (2018). Beyond “formative”: Assessments to enrich student learning. Advances in Physiology Education, 42(1), 5-14. https://doi.org/10.1152/advan.00122.2017
  • Mahdi, J. G. (2014). Student attitudes towards chemistry: An examination of choices and preferences. American Journal of Educational Research, 2(6), 351-356. https://doi.org/10.12691/education-2-6-3
  • Majid, N., & Rohaeti, A. (2018). The effect of context-based chemistry learning on student achievement and attitude. American Journal of Educational Research, 6(6), 836-839. https://doi.org/10.12691/education-6-6-37
  • Malkoc, U. (2017). Students’ understanding of salts dissolution: Visualizing animation in chemistry classroom [PhD thesis, Texas Christian University].
  • Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. Jossey-Bass.
  • Miles, M. B., Huberman, A. M., & Saldana, J. (2014). Qualitative data analysis: A methods sourcebook. SAGE.
  • Miranda, M. L. D., & Smaka, L. (2021). On teaching chemistry in Brazilian and American high schools: A brief approach. In R. da Silva Sales (Ed.), Química: Ensino, conceitos e fundamentos [Chemistry: Teaching, concepts and fundamentals] (pp. 102-113). https://doi.org/10.37885/210504739
  • Napes, M. M., & Sharif, A. M. (2022). A needs analysis for the game-based learning tools development for form four. Journal of Science and Mathematics Letters, 10(224), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.37134/jsml.vol10.sp.1.2022
  • Nowell, L. S., Norris, J. M., White, D. E., & Moules, N. J. (2017). Thematic analysis: Striving to meet the trustworthiness criteria. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 16(1), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1177/1609406917733847
  • Osman, K., & Lay, A. N. (2020). MyKimDG module: An interactive platform towards development of twenty-first century skills and improvement of students’ knowledge in chemistry. Interactive Learning Environments, 30(8), 1461-1474. https://doi.org/10.1080/10494820.2020.1729208
  • Pramesthi, H. N., Ashadi, A., & Saputro, S. (2019). Analyzing scientific approach and problem solving in salt hydrolysis topic. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1156, 012024. https://doi.org/10.1088/17426596/1156/1/012024
  • Prianti, T., Elfi Susanti, V. H., & Indriyanti, N. Y. (2020). Misconceptions of high school students in salt hydrolysis topic using a three-tier diagnostic test (TTDT). JKPK (Jurnal Kimia Dan Pendidikan Kimia) [JKPK (Journal of Chemistry and Chemistry Education)], 5(1), 32. https://doi.org/10.20961/jkpk.v5i1.34502
  • Reif, F., & Larkin, J. H. (1991). Cognition in scientific and everyday domains: Comparison and learning implications. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28(9), 733-760. https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.3660280904
  • Salame, I. I., & Nikolic, D. (2021). Examining some of the challenges students face in learning about solubility and the dissolution process. Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 17(3), e2237. https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/9333
  • Salleh, M. F. M., Rauf, R. A. R., Saat, R. M., & Ismail, M. H. (2022a). Malaysian chemistry teachers’ challenges to practice differentiated instruction in classroom. Malaysian Online Journal of Educational Sciences, 10(2), 58-69.
  • Salleh, M. F. M., Rauf, R. A. R., Saat, R. M., & Ismail, M. H. (2022b). Novice chemistry teachers’ instructional strategies in teaching mixed-ability classrooms. Asian Journal of University Education, 18(2), 510-525. https://doi.org/10.24191/ajue.v18i2.18066
  • Sana, S., & Adhikary, C. (2017). Micro and macro level phenomena in chemistry learning difficulties, deficiencies and remedial measures. International Journal of Current Research and Modern Education, 2(1), 197-201. https://doi.org/10.5281/ZENODO.810129
  • Shamsulbahri, M. M., & Zulkiply, N. (2021). Examining the effect of directed activity related to texts (DARTs) and gender on students achievement in qualitative analysis in chemistry. Malaysian Journal of Learning and Instruction, 18(1), 157-181. https://doi.org/10.32890/mjli2021.18.1.7
  • Shidiq, A. S., Yamtinah, S., & Masykuri, M. (2019). Identifying and addressing students’ learning difficulties in hydrolysis using testlet instrument. AIP Conference Proceedings, 2194, 020117. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5139849
  • Stojanovska, M., Petruševski, V. M., & Šoptrajanov, B. (2017). Study of the use of the three levels of thinking and representation. Contributions, Section of Natural, Mathematical and Biotechnical Sciences, 35(1), 37-46. https://doi.org/10.20903/csnmbs.masa.2014.35.1.52
  • Taber, K. S. (2013). Three levels of chemistry educational research. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 14(2), 151-155. https://doi.org/10.1039/c3rp90003g
  • Taber, K. S. (2019). The challenge of teaching and learning chemical concepts. In K. S. Taber (Ed.), The nature of the chemical concept: Re-constructing chemical knowledge in teaching and learning (pp. 1-13). https://doi.org/10.1039/9781788013611-00001
  • Tan, K. C. D. (2005). Pre‐service teachers’ conceptions of basic inorganic qualitative analysis. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 5(1), 7-20.https://doi.org/10.1080/14926150509556641
  • Tan, K. C. D., Goh, N. K., Chia, L. S., & Treagust, D. F. (2004). Major sources of difficulty in students’ understanding of basic inorganic qualitative analysis. Journal of Chemical Education, 81(5), 725-732. https://doi.org/10.1021/ed081p725
  • Timilsena, N. P., Maharjan, K. B., & Devkota, K. M. (2022). Teachers’ and students’ experiences in chemistry learning difficulties. Journal of Positive School Psychology, 6(10), 2856-2867.
  • Ting, L. C. (2016). Pemahaman konsep kimia di kalangan bakal guru kimia di universiti awam [Understanding of chemistry concepts among prospective chemistry teachers in public universities] [Master’s thesis, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris].
  • Treagust, D., Nieswandt, M., & Duit, R. (2018). Sources of students difficulties in learning chemistry. Educación Química [Chemistry Education], 11(2), 228. https://doi.org/10.22201/fq.18708404e.2000.2.66458
  • Tsaparlis, G. (2015). Problems and solutions in chemistry education. Journal of The Turkish Chemical Society, 1(1), 1-30. https://doi.org/10.1142/7741
  • Upahi, J. E., & Ramnarain, U. (2019). Representations of chemical phenomena in secondary school chemistry textbooks. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 20(1), 146-159. https://doi.org/10.1039/c8rp00191j
  • Wisudawati, A. W., Barke, H. D., Lemma, A., & Agung, S. (2022). Students’ and teachers’ perceptions for composition of ionic compounds. Chemistry Teacher International, 4(3), 221-230. https://doi.org/10.1515/cti-2021-0032