P583: Improving student success through increased interaction with peer tutors via laboratory quizzes
In 2011, Colorado State University-Pueblo received Department of Education funding in support of its PROPEL (Providing Opportunities to Excel) proposal. The primary goal of this grant is improved success of Hispanic and low-income STEM students. The grant is focused on student success in lower-division coursework (Principles of Chemistry and the General Chemistry series). Using funding from the grant, the Chemistry Department has undertaken a complete overhaul of lower-division laboratory courses. The previous procedure for our General Chemistry labs and the Principles of Chemistry lab was for students to read the experiment for the week and complete a prelab worksheet prior to arrival at the laboratory. The students would then be given a short (5 minute) quiz at the beginning of the laboratory period, which was meant to reinforce the experiment that they were about to perform. Unfortunately, the majority of the students performed poorly on the quizzes, which reinforced the fact that the students were unprepared for the day’s experiment. The most significant change to the lab courses lies in the students’ weekly preparation for the experiment. The students are still required to read the experiment; however, the prelab worksheets and the in-class quizzes have been eliminated. Prior to a student’s designated lab time, the students are now required to successfully complete a quiz in our STEM learning center (the PROPEL Center). Ultimately, these quizzes have had an impact beyond just the laboratory course.