P257: Effect of sex, numerical ability and attitudes towards mathematics and chemistry on student achievement in mole concept chemistry
The mole concept is one of the most fundamental and important topics in chemistry because it is the bind between qualitative and quantitative chemistry. Nevertheless, students seem to encounter myriad issues when faced with problems involving the mole. Moreover, chemical education research, significantly increasing since the 60’s, especially on the mole concept is at the forefront in North America, Europe and Asia but in the Caribbean published work is limited. Therefore, this study seeks to determine if numerical ability, students’ gender and students’ attitudes play a significant role in affecting preliminary student’s academic achievement in mole concept chemistry at the University of the West Indies (UWI). A pilot study was conducted with 37 students at the preliminary level of the chemistry programme of the UWI Cave Hill, Barbados. The CLASS-Chem survey and the ATMI were administered to determine attitudes towards mathematics and chemistry, and the students were given objective type tests to determine the pattern of achievement in mole concept chemistry and the level of numerical ability. Results showed that there was an average overall performance on the Mole Concept Achievement Test (Mean =13.97/25). There were no statistically significant differences in achievement based on numerical ability, gender and attitudes towards mathematics and chemistry. There was no statistically significant difference when correlations were done between attitudes and achievement, numerical ability and achievement and sex and achievement. Subsequently, with all factors examined, sex has the greatest impact on achievement.