Organic chemistry is commonly known to have high failure rates and regarded as one of the most difficult courses offered in undergrad. This study assessed whether a modified general chemistry curriculum allowing for more time focused on foundational organic chemistry concepts in general chemistry can improve students’ grade outcome and/or self efficacy when transitioning from general to organic chemistry courses. Two separate variables were tested: grade outcome and self efficacy. Using an independent sample t-test, a comparison of the two groups (modified versus traditional general chemistry) was performed. Grades were assessed by giving students four questions (out of 4 points total) based on acid base chemistry, which were scored and summed to represent students’ grade outcome. A total of 79 students were evaluated, 29 of which participated in the modified general chemistry course while 50 participated in the traditional general chemistry courses. Modified general chemistry (M = 3.54, SD 0.60) scored similarly to traditional general chemistry (M = 3.65, SD = 0.51). There was no statistical significance in terms of grade outcome between the two groups (p = 0.354). The self efficacy assessment, based out of 30 points max, included six statements whereby students ranked their confidence level in each topic using a likert scale from 1 being not confident and 5 being totally confident. A total of 96 students participated, 31 from the modified general chemistry course and 65 from the traditional general chemistry courses. Modified general chemistry (M = 23.71, SD = 3.580) scored higher in self efficacy compared to traditional general chemistry (M = 21.72, SD = 4.021). The results displayed statistical significance (p = 0.021), implying a possible correlation between a modified general chemistry course and improved self efficacy. However, this outcome may have been due to other factors not analyzed in the study.
Chan, Hannah, "Understanding the Transition from General to Organic Chemistry" (2022). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 512.