P389: Examining criteria for effective first year chemistry student placement
At Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York, we have observed that an increasing number of first semester freshman are underprepared for the general chemistry sequence. These students either drop the course or receive a failing grade. To prevent either scenario, we began carefully screening students’ high school grades and math SAT scores. Based on these scores, underprepared students were placed in a remedial chemistry course. Even with this screening, many of our students in general chemistry were still underprepared. For the past two academic years, we required each student registered for our general chemistry course take the Toledo Placement Exam (TPE), an exam provided by the American Chemical Society (ACS) Examinations Institute with national norms. After reviewing scores and student success that first year (2012), the next academic year (2013) we placed students according to their scores on the TPE. Using the data from both academic years, we performed statistical analyses to determine if there were correlations between students’ success in general chemistry and the TPE scores, SAT math scores, high school Chemistry New York Regent scores, and a standardized ACS final exam. Significant correlations were found and will be used to place future students into the appropriate courses.