ERIC Number: ED445901
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Strategies Reducing Science Anxiety in Female University Chemistry Students.
Clement, John; Khan, Samia
This case study describes the effects of two innovations implemented in a college level Organic Chemistry II class for women. The teaching innovations were a student contract and affective strategies. The student contract was designed to ensure that students attended class and help sessions by guaranteeing a C to those that fulfilled the contract's guidelines. One of those guidelines was if students received a grade lower than a C on the first exam, they were required to get additional tutoring. Early in the course, feedback sheets indicated that many of the students in the course were anxious about chemistry as a subject and especially about the labs. Subsequently, several affective strategies were put in place to lower anxiety, improve confidence, and change attitudes towards chemistry. Data was collected about these two teaching innovations, the contract and affective strategies. Data was collected using surveys, evaluation forms, direct observations, faculty interviews, focus groups, and written feedback from students. One highlight is that the survey and interview data showed that the majority of students believed that the contract increased their chances of success in the course. The affective strategies including soliciting student feedback on their anxieties, implementing student suggestions for dealing with anxiety, and the instructor's confidence building strategies for her students. For example, the instructor asked students to say "I was successful" when completing their work in the lab, even though many of them resisted saying it. Based on the focus group interviews and post course survey data, saying "I'm successful" had a positive impact on most students' attitudes toward organic chemistry. Students felt more confident in carrying out science experiment by the end of the course and more relaxed when music was played in the lab. This evidence suggested that the affective strategies decreased anxiety and increased confidence for those women. In summary, according to a large percentage of students: (1) the course contract increased their chances for success in the course; (2) the affective strategies changed a large percentage of student's attitudes towards chemistry in a positive way. Taken together, the contract and affective strategies appeared to create a safety net for these women, making failing difficult and the chances for success more probable. (Contains 12 references.) (Author/YDS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.