Linking a hierarchy of attitude effect to student engagement and chemistry achievement
There are numerous influential factors contributing to students’ successful learning in introductory chemistry courses. One popularized factor is mathematical preparedness as gauged by a prerequisite mathematics grade or a standardized exam score. Less well known factors are students’ attitude toward the subject of chemistry or students’ involvement with chemistry. In this replication and extension study, students’ attitude in introductory chemistry courses, including a chemistry course designed for nursing and allied health students, was measured using the Attitude toward the Subject of Chemistry Inventory. Results show that a low-involvement hierarchy of attitude effect for students’ attitude toward chemistry, previously observed after 5 weeks, persists throughout a semester, and is likely widespread in classes across our department. Results also suggest a measurable difference between students’ emotional satisfaction with chemistry and their emotional attachment to chemistry, the latter of which is connected with their engagement with chemistry rather than their achievement in chemistry. Students’ low-involvement influence on chemistry achievement is being mediated predominantly by the affective subcomponent of their attitude. Attitudes are learned and a low-involvement hierarchy of attitude effect is susceptible to positive change. The results presented herein cement the reliability and generality of previous findings and extend those findings. The hierarchy of attitude effect can serve as a bifocal lens to capture evidence of students’ engagement with chemistry learning (learning process) as well as their chemistry achievement (learning product).