ERIC Number: EJ1067264
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Aug
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
The Relationship between Student Success in Introductory University Chemistry and Approaches to Learning outside of the Classroom
Sinapuelas, Michelle L. S.; Stacy, Angelica M.
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, v52 n6 p790-815 Aug 2015
The study reported here examines the learning approaches adopted by students enrolled in introductory chemistry at a public university. To evaluate learning approaches, a group of 61 students enrolled in the course were interviewed at three time-points during the semester, specifically to ascertain how they prepared for the exams. From these interviews, the Learning Approaches Framework for Chemistry was developed. The framework describes four levels of learning approaches that were determined based on the activities reported by students around use of metacognitive skills, reference materials, practice problems, and interactions with others. Students who use approaches referred to as Level 1 (Gathering Facts) and Level 2 (Learning Procedures) rely on outside sources of information for understanding, while those who use Level 3 (Confirming Understanding) and Level 4 (Applying Ideas) approaches evaluate information for themselves and generate explanations in their own words. Analysis using a Hierarchical Linear Model showed that students' learning approach level is a significant predictor of their exam score (p?<?0.05). The coefficient for each learning approach level increases as the level increases from Level 2 to Level 3 (p[subscript 2]?=?0.39, p[subscript 3]?=?0.88) indicating that as the learning approach level increases, so does exam performance. This study demonstrates associations between students' learning approaches and performance. Analysis also showed that while some students do make the transition from Level 2 to Level 3 learning approaches during the semester, many students remain in Level 2, and rely largely on memorization of procedures and problems. These findings suggest that additional instructional supports should be developed to encourage more students to use Level 3 learning approaches when studying and preparing for exams in self-directed settings.
Descriptors: Chemistry, College Science, College Students, Introductory Courses, Interviews, Student Attitudes, Study Habits, Science Tests, Learning Processes, Metacognition, Reference Materials, Drills (Practice), Interaction, Information Sources, Hierarchical Linear Modeling, Predictor Variables, Scores
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
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