P395: Predicting success in general chemistry: Different measures and why they work

Author: Yu Kay Law, Indiana University East, USA

Co-Author: Edwin G. Olmstead, Jr., Fort Hays State University, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 6:00 PM7:15 PM

Room: KC

Related Symposium: S33

General Chemistry has historically had a reputation for high failure rates, and studies have shown that prerequisite mathematics and chemistry knowledge is correlated with success in general chemistry courses. We have rigorously evaluated the ability of five placement instruments (the California Chemistry Diagnostic Test (CCDT), a section of the Iowa Chemistry Aptitude Test (ICAT), the ACT mathematics score, the ACT science score, and a student’s most recent mathematics course level and grade received) to predict a student’s success in first-semester General Chemistry. To our surprise, we have found that the four-item MPQ had the best prediction capability of all of the measures, which is particularly useful due to its brevity and the fact that security features are not needed. We shall also present how these different prediction tools predict success in different elements of the overall course assessment, and show how student performance in general chemistry depends on multiple success factors.