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ERIC Number: EJ943620
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 15
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Decay of Student Knowledge in Chemistry
Bunce, Diane M.; VandenPlas, Jessica R.; Soulis, Cameron
Journal of Chemical Education, v88 n9 p1231-1237 Sep 2011
It is a common complaint among teachers that students forget what they have learned soon after taking a test. The phenomenon is seen in both secondary and undergraduate chemistry courses. This study examines the length of time after a test that students in three different chemistry courses (undergraduate nursing, nonscience majors, and high school honors) are able to successfully answer the same free response achievement questions that were on the test. Overall effects on achievement were found to be nonsignificant, as were interaction effects of time interval and logical reasoning level. However, a differential effect between courses on achievement was found, leading to the conclusion that students enrolled in courses in which the continued spiral use of chemistry concepts is not evident, frequent quizzing opportunities are not provided, and a final exam is not given experience a significant decrease in achievement during the first 48 h following a test. This decrease remains constant for at least 2 weeks. Students enrolled in courses in which the spiral use of chemistry concepts is more explicit and regular quizzing opportunities and comprehensive final exams are given did not show a significant decrease in achievement from the original testing to delayed quizzing occasions over a 17-day period. (Contains 6 tables.)
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: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A