What can we do about ‘Parker’? A case study of a good student who didn't ‘get’ organic chemistry
This paper is based on a qualitative study of seven students enrolled in a two-semester organic chemistry course for chemistry and chemical engineering majors that focused on the reasoning the students had used to answer questions on the course exams. Narrative analysis was applied to create case records for each participant that were then subjected to a cross-case analysis of similarities and differences among the participants. The data were found to be consistent with a theoretical framework that differentiates between instrumental and relational learning. The intense speed with which material was covered and the complexity of the material was found to drive even those students who valued a relational understanding towards functioning as instrumental learners. Particular attention is paid to one participant in the study, Parker, who had been a successful chemistry major until he entered the second year organic course.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Research and Practice in Chemical Education in Advanced Courses