P726: Changing the stakes: In-class quizzes versus optional homework as checkpoint assessments

Author: Benjamin S. Barth, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, USA

Co-Author: Ehren C. Bucholtz, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, USA

Date: 8/6/14

Time: 10:35 AM10:55 AM

Room: MAK BLL 126

Related Symposium: S53

A challenge in assessing student performance is balancing high-stakes exams with low-stakes practice opportunities. To this end, we have employed several strategies in an organic chemistry course sequence. A “medium-stakes” open-homework-notebook, in-class quiz has been used in a section of the course where students face dismissal for achieving less than a C-. The average enrollment in this section was 32 students over four semesters with an average of 1 student each semester achieving below a C-. Given this success, the same types of assessments were given to two concurrent sections of approximately 115 students. This cohort did not face dismissal if they were to receive below a C- in the course and an average of 29 students per section achieved a grade below C-. In the subsequent offering of the larger enrollment course, the in-class quiz was replaced with a completely optional homework assignment given as a check-point assessment. Students who completed the majority of the optional assignments achieved an average of 80% on the exams, versus 70% for those who completed less than half of the assignments. Experiences, observations, and implications for student motivation and performance will be discussed.

P21: Who gives a darn? A guided inquiry workbook that improves student perceived relevance of organic chemistry

Author: Ehren C. Bucholtz, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, USA

Co-Author: Benjamin S. Barth, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, USA

Date: 8/3/14

Time: 4:20 PM4:40 PM

Room: LMH 176

Related Symposium: S3

Many non-major students taking organic chemistry do not see the value in the course because of a perceived lack of relevance to their everyday lives and future careers. To increase relevance of a pre-professional course, a workbook of 65 guided inquiry activities was developed with “Who gives a Darn? (WGAD)” topics. Each class activity has 1) a problem presented at the beginning of the lesson that can be answered by using concepts learned within the activity materials, 2) specified learning objectives 3) student success criteria for assessment and 4) a set of problems to help the student practice skills and solve the WGAD problem. Student perception of relevance was obtained using the Individual Development and Educational Assessment (IDEA) Teaching Evaluation. From fall 2008 to spring 2013 over 800 students used the materials, and percent of students positively responding to statements of course relevance increased from 34% to 89%.