Innovation in Improving General Chemistry Student Lab Performance
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AbstractGeneral Chemistry students often struggle with transitioning from high school level to college level chemistry not only in lectures but also in the corresponding labs. The teaching assistant (TA) of one of the General Chemistry I labs in the Fall 2017 semester noticed after the first 3 labs that students really struggled with linking what they had learned in lecture with the labs they were performing, resulting in low understanding and performance in labs. In an attempt to address this issue, the TA started to organize voluntary pre-lab meetings to review relevant concepts from lecture prior to each week's lab.This gradually turned into an undergraduate SoTL research because of the need to assess the effectiveness of and to provide guidance for future directions for such meetings. Despite the small sample size, this pilot study exhibited encouraging initial results that students who frequently attended these pre-lab meetings had outperformed their counterparts not only on the average performance in the latter labs but also in their understanding and performance in lectures. To repeat this study on a larger scale in the Spring 2018 semester, two of the students who had benefited from the pilot study joined this research to make these pre-lab meetings available to more students at various times, in the attempt to better assess and maximize the effectiveness of these meetings. Positive findings from the larger scale study could offer insights for the incorporation of similar practices into other chemistry labs in future.
AffiliationDepartment of Biological Sciences
Department of Chemistry and Physics