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Using self-efficacy beliefs to understand how students in a general chemistry course approach the exam process

Abstract

Retention of students who major in STEM continues to be a major concern for universities. Many students cite poor teaching and disappointing grades as a reason for dropping out of STEM courses. Current college chemistry courses often assess what a student has learned through summative exams. To understand students’ experiences of the exam process, data was collected through interviews with students in an introductory college chemistry course. The interview data was analyzed using emergent coding to describe students’ experiences of the exam process using phenomenography. Data indicated that students’ experiences with the exam process could be categorized based on their performance on the exam. Overall, differences could be seen between these students’ self- efficacy beliefs and metacognitive skills based on the grade each student received on the exam. The students who performed highest on the exam had self-efficacy beliefs primarily from their mastery experience, and middle performing students’ self-efficacy beliefs came from vicarious experience. The lowest performing student had low self-efficacy beliefs. Students who received the highest grades on the exam viewed learning as making meaningful connections between topics, and students who received lower grades viewed learning as memorization. By further understanding students and their views on the exam process, instructors may be better able to assist low and middle performing students in our general chemistry courses.

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Publication details

The article was received on 18 Apr 2017, accepted on 13 Nov 2017 and first published on 13 Nov 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7RP00073A
Citation: Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Using self-efficacy beliefs to understand how students in a general chemistry course approach the exam process

    A. Willson-Conrad and M. Grunert Kowalske, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7RP00073A

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