Session S9b (Monday, 9:30am, Life Sciences 013)

P175: Assessing curricular changes in introductory chemistry laboratory courses

Matthew Miller (South Dakota State University, USA)

The development of an assessment strategy to evaluate critical thinking, laboratory interest and skills, and community development in a renovated laboratory curriculum during the first two years of university training will be discussed. Student learning in the chemistry laboratory has been of great interest to education researchers and classroom instructors for many years. A potential reason for this interest is the idea that teaching laboratories is one method by which students begin to gain an understanding of how science works. This assertion is likely responsible for the ongoing discourse related to laboratory pedagogical strategies and student learning outcomes. At South Dakota State University, a new curriculum for freshman and sophomore chemistry/biochemistry majors has been implemented, centered on four student learning goals: 1) critical thinking capacity, 2) student attitude toward the research enterprise, 3) laboratory skills defined by the ACS Committee on Professional Training as important, and 4) the espirit de corps within the chemistry and biochemistry department. A nationally funded project to assess the outcomes of this curricular model is underway. Assessment methods have been identified or created to measure changes based on these four student learning goals. The assessment strategy, along with preliminary data, will be discussed.

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