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ERIC Number: EJ1202225
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Jan
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Community College Chemistry Coursetaking and STEM Academic Persistence
Cohen, Richard; Kelly, Angela M.
Journal of Chemical Education, v96 n1 p3-11 Jan 2019
Community colleges educate nearly half of all students who complete postsecondary degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. For many matriculated students, chemistry is a required gatekeeping course for postsecondary retention and advancement in STEM majors. This research explored community college student enrollment and performance in introductory chemistry courses for STEM majors, and how chemistry achievement related to student background characteristics and degree persistence. Data included grades, demographics, enrollment patterns, and degree status for 1,690 chemistry students who matriculated at a diverse, suburban community college from 2011 to 2014. Descriptive statistics indicated 32% of students received grades of D, F, or W in introductory chemistry; 49% of these students changed their majors after taking the course, with four-fifths of those degree changers switching to non-STEM fields. Binary logistic regression models revealed that chemistry enrollment was a significant predictor of degree change to non-STEM disciplines, with biology and anatomy/physiology coursetaking predicting STEM persistence. Degree change to non-STEM was predicted by chemistry performance but not by student characteristics including gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The results indicate that chemistry coursetaking and performance are notable factors affecting student persistence in STEM disciplines, and achievement is largely independent of student background variables. Implications for community college chemistry teaching and STEM academic advisement are discussed.
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 - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A