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ERIC Number: EJ1049900
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1756-1108
Measuring Student Performance in General Organic Chemistry
Austin, Ara C.; Ben-Daat, Hagit; Zhu, Mary; Atkinson, Robert; Barrows, Nathan; Gould, Ian R.
Chemistry Education Research and Practice, v16 n1 p168-178 2015
Student performance in general organic chemistry courses is determined by a wide range of factors including cognitive ability, motivation and cultural capital. Previous work on cognitive factors has tended to focus on specific areas rather than exploring performance across all problem types and cognitive skills. In this study, we have categorized the different kinds of problems encountered in general organic chemistry, and correlated performance in each problem type with overall class performance. Fairly reproducible results are found for ten consecutive semesters over five academic years. Problem types that require higher-level cognitive skills tend to correlate better with overall class performance than those that rely more heavily on memorization. Performance on some problem types was found to predict up to [similar] 90% of the variances of overall class performance. Correlations across problem types with external student characteristics, such as general chemistry grade, are interpreted as highlighting the important contributions of other factors in addition to cognitive ability to success in organic chemistry.
Royal Society of Chemistry. Thomas Graham House, Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 0WF, UK. Tel: +44-1223 420066; Fax: +44-1223 423623; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: NSF-EHR-DUE 1140901