P382: Chemical education study of testing method for student understanding in chemistry labs
A thorough chemical education is highly dependent on the effectiveness of the lab portion of any chemistry course. Employers in the field of chemistry look for strong lab technique and critical thinking skills. This research focuses on developing a practical method for analyzing the depth of understanding that students achieve through the lab portion of a chemistry course, independent of the lecture portion. Results could be used to improve laboratory materials to increase students’ comprehension of key topics. Using Bloom’s Taxonomy as a definition of the effectiveness of the current labs, questions were written that are focused on testing students’ learning at the deepest levels of understanding. These levels are defined by the Taxonomy’s categories of Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. No current standard evaluation of learning gives a clear method for analyzing the effectiveness of laboratory assignments that can be practically implemented in chemistry labs. Once a clear method has been developed, these questions may be given to students as pre- and post-lab questionnaires and the results analyzed to assist in improving the lab materials.