Report on the National Titration competition 2013
The Chemical Society of the South Pacific (CSSP) organised another set of activities for chemistry at the National level this year, at the four different venues: Nadi (Nadi Muslim College), Suva (The University of the South Pacific), Ba (Xavier College), and Labasa (Labasa Sangam College).
There were a total of 68 participants in the senior category (Form 6 level), less by one from 2012 in the titration competition. However, there was an interesting response from the advanced category (Form 7 level), with an increase in 12 schools, making it 63 this year, of which the top 20 schools of each category qualified for the finale.
Figure 1.0: Students during the senior and the advance level finals.
The final of the national titration competition was held on the 12th of October 2013. The table below shows the number of participants from the preliminary rounds and the finals.
The finals were held at USP and simultaneously at Labasa Sangam College, with the ChemBattle competition.
There was full turn out in the senior division, but only 14 made it to the competition from the advance category. The winners of this year’s competitions in the two categories are as follows:
Form 6 (Senior level)
There were quite some disappointments in the areas of students following instructions as directed previously, and on the competition. Some recommendations were for students not to waste reagents. Secondly, pipetting technique needs to be revised, and there was also a need for teachers to provide adequate training based on student interviews and hence a reason for the lack of proper titration skills encountered during the competition.
Titration is skills based assessment; hence it is vital to get some experience however schools seem to assume students to do well despite the lack of training, and last minute changes in participants, and the decision to make it to the competition. Nonetheless, it is a good learning experience, and experiments are designed to foster student’s understanding of natural phenomenon.
Based on the results, there is a very similar trend seen in the type of score’s students get, in both the division’s however in the Form 6 level (Figure 1.0), most of the students fall in the upper quartile, while it is the opposite in the Form 7 category. About 15% of the students managed to get high scores in the competition.
Figure 1.1: Scores of the Senior Category (Left) and the Advanced level (Right) participants.
It is also note mentioning, that while it was mostly the prominent schools qualifying for the finals, schools from the interior regions of the centres and first time participating schools did relatively well.
Figure 1.2: Form 6 (Left), and Form 7 (Right) students performance in the experimental and the treatment section of the competition.
Students performed much better in the titration under the results section (Experimental on graph), but did poorly when it came to the treatment of results/ discussion, whereby thinking type of questions, and interpretation was required (Figure 1.1).
Hence, as another recommendation, teachers must prepare students to think independently, and not use the route method of teaching. Rather, students should be given more problem solving applications.
There were some recommendations from the northern education officer, being the change in time for titration. The committee had thought of the same previously, but it doesn’t give time to students and teachers to cover the syllabus and showed poor performance hence it was the teachers asking to shift it to such a time for preparation purpose. In regards to the activities going district, the society will need to consider for more resources and funding, something that will be an objective to look into.
Figure1.3: Students receiving prizes from the chief guest (Northern education officer) at the Labasa centre, attended by the parents and the teachers during the awards ceremony
In conclusion, the competition is a good way of getting to understand how students perform apart from school based assessments, and can be used to completely measure a student’s potential. It also promotes an exchange of teaching methods for teachers, and encourages individual learning in students.