Quantifying attitude to chemistry in students at the University of the South Pacific
The attitude towards the study of chemistry for new entrant chemistry students from a multi-national, regional, tertiary educational institution in the South Pacific was investigated using a purpose-designed diagnostic instrument. The Attitude toward the Study of Chemistry Inventory (ASCI) was used to quantify attitude in a cohort of first year undergraduate (n = 144) and foundation (n = 108) chemistry students. A similar, generally positive attitude to the study of chemistry was shown by both groups of students. Exploratory factor analysis using principle axis factoring and direct oblimin rotation was used to identify factors within the pooled data. Three factors accounted for more than 50% of the total variance, while Cronbach's alpha values for the factors 1, 2 and 3 were 0.92, 0.68 and 0.78, respectively. Factors 1 and 2 were consistent with known constructs of attitude, namely affective (factor 1) and cognitive (factor 2). However, the other factor (3) identified in this study was designated “Value”, which may reflect the students' choice of chemistry as a career path. ASCI may be a suitable tool for monitoring students' attitude throughout a degree and also to monitor the impact of novel approaches for teaching chemistry and engaging students.