Characterizing illusions of competence in introductory chemistry students
The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias that plagues a particular population of students – the unskilled. This population suffers from illusory competence, as determined by inaccurate ratings of their own ability/performance. These mistakenly high self-ratings (i.e. “illusions of competence”) are typically explained by a metacognitive deficiency of the unskilled – they simply can't recognize their own mistakes. This work, involving more than a thousand students, nine course sections, and sampling multiple time points over a semester, established the Dunning–Kruger effect as a robust phenomenon in university-level introductory chemistry. Using a combination of graphical analyses and hierarchical linear modeling, we confirmed that low-performing students tend to overestimate their own performance while high-performing students tend to underestimate their performance. We also observed a clear difference between female and male students with regard to these miscalibrations. Lastly, we demonstrated that student miscalibrations are invariant over time, a result that has profound implications for the types of instructor feedback conventionally provided in introductory chemistry courses.
Chemistry Education Research and Practice
Royal Society of Chemistry
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Pazicni, Samuel and Bauer, Christopher F., "Characterizing illusions of competence in introductory chemistry students" (2013). Chemistry Scholarship. 23.
© Royal Society of Chemistry 2013