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ERIC Number: EJ1067589
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jun
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
What Do Conceptual Holes in Assessment Say about the Topics We Teach in General Chemistry?
Luxford, Cynthia J.; Holme, Thomas A.
Journal of Chemical Education, v92 n6 p993-1002 Jun 2015
Introductory chemistry has long been considered a service course by various departments that entrust chemistry departments with teaching their students. As a result, most introductory courses include a majority of students who are not chemistry majors, and many are health and science related majors who are required to take chemistry. To identify content areas that are either well covered or sparsely covered, approximately 2000 exam items from four types of General Chemistry ACS exams (Full Year General Chemistry, General Chemistry Conceptual, First Term General Chemistry, and Second Term General Chemistry) spanning two decades were aligned to the Anchoring Concepts Content Map (ACCM). ACS exams were chosen as artifacts due to the nature of the exam development by committees consisting of chemists who are experts in the field. The ACCM is developed such that the statements from the first two levels are stable across the entire undergraduate chemistry curriculum, while the third and fourth levels are subdiscipline specific. It was found that there are 17 statements at the second level (Enduring Understanding) that have rarely been assessed on General Chemistry ACS exams over the past 20 years. Some of these topics appear in areas that are likely important for students whose interest lies in the life sciences, including no items testing the concept of intermolecular forces in the context of large molecules. These results suggest that chemistry curriculum reform efforts may benefit from considering specifics of content domain coverage.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; 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 (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: NSF-DUE 071779; NSF-DUE 0943783; NSF-DUE 1323288