Session S55c (Wednesday, 5:15pm, Willaman Gateway)

P868: Can a parachute class prepare students to succeed?

Sushilla Knottenbelt, K. Joseph Ho (University of New Mexico, USA)

General Chemistry is a required course for many STEM disciplines. In many cases, students are unable to proceed with the sequence of classes until they have passed General Chemistry, and failing (sometimes repeatedly) at the first hurdle can discourage them from pursuing a career in the STEM fields.  Helping at-risk students in general chemistry courses get on the right path to succeed has been a critical area of concern.   From Fall 2010, students identified as failing General Chemistry at UNM during the semester have been offered the chance to ‘parachute’ into a preparatory class to maximize their chances of succeeding in General Chemistry when they return.  We present initial data on the effectiveness of the parachute class in improving retention of students returning to General Chemistry. We also discuss some characteristics of students taking the parachute class, as well as introduce ideas of integrating learning skills with basic chemical concepts to maximize student success in General Chemistry.


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