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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 8 Issue 2 (2003) pp 155-161

Factors Influencing Passing Rates for First-Semester Organic Chemistry Students

Paul G. Jasien

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, California State University San Marcos, San Marcos, CA 92096-0001, jasien@csusm.edu
Received September 12, 2002. Accepted February 19, 2003

Published online: 13 March 2003

Abstract. A five-year study of the factors affecting the passing rates of first-semester organic chemistry students at a public university in California is reported. Student attitudes, perceptions, and attributes were examined at the beginning of the course (N = 234) and at the end of the course (N = 161). There is a definite correlation of increased study time and student expectations with passing rate. One counterintuitive result is that there appears to be no correlation between the amount of time since the last college-level chemistry course was taken and the passing rate. In addition, another result hints that for the subgroups in this study, there seems to be no affect on the passing rate for students having one versus two semesters of general chemistry preparation. These two results may imply that, at least for the group of students in this study, the exact content preparation of students may not play as large a role in determining the passing rate in first-semester organic chemistry as other student attributes, such as study skills and motivation.

Key Words:  Research in Teaching and Learning; general chemistry; organic chemistry; chemical education research

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail: jasien@csusm.edu)

Article in PDF format (453 K B) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

A supporting document containing the pre- and postcourse surveys is available in a Zip file (7 KB) 10.1333/s00897030675a


Issue date: April 1, 2003

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