Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Chemistry

Major Professor

Jennifer Lewis, Ph.D.

Keywords

Higher education, HLM, Gender differences, Ethnicities, SAT scores

Abstract

Self-efficacy is a person's own perception about performing a task with a certain level of proficiency (Bandura, 1986). An important affective aspect of learning chemistry is chemistry self-efficacy (CSE). Several researchers have found chemistry self-efficacy to be a fair predictor of achievement in chemistry. This study was done in a college preparatory chemistry class for science majors exploring chemistry self-efficacy and its change as it relates to achievement. A subscale of CAEQ, Chemistry Attitudes and Experiences Questionnaire (developed by Dalgety et al, 2003) as well as student interviews were used to determine student chemistry self-efficacy as it changed during the course. The questionnaire was given to the students five times during the semester: in the first class and the class before each the four tests taken through the semester. Twenty-six students, both men and women, of the four major races/ethnicities were interviewed three times during the semester and events that triggered changes in CSE were followed through the interviews. HLM (hierarchical linear modeling) was used to model the results of the CSE surveys. Among the findings, women who started at significantly lower CSE than men accomplished a significant gain by the end of the semester. Blacks' CSE trends through the semester were found to be significantly different from the rest of the ethnicities.

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