Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


School of Education


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr Mark Hackling


Genetics is an important aspect of secondary education as it improves students, understanding of the inheritance of genetic diseases which are present in many families. Genetics also provides opportunities for students to learn important problem solving skills. Students experience difficulties with problem solving in genetics as they tend to rote learn algorithmic methods and not have a meaningful understanding of the concepts of meiosis, gametes and fertilisation which underpin genetics problems. Following instruction in the area of genetics, think-aloud protocols were collected from 20 Year 10 students, while solving four genetic problems. The students were also interviewed to probe their understanding of concepts related to the genetic problems. This enabled the researcher to explore how well students understood the concepts in relation to the algorithms they used to solve the four problems. This research found that students are more successful in autosomal and forwards working problems than in X-linkage and backwards working problems. There is a low level of meaningful problem solving and a poor understanding of the terms genotype, phenotype, meiosis, gametes and fertilisation. Students also have difficulties understanding why X-linked characteristics are inherited in the way they are, and the difference in structure of the X and Y chromosomes.