Journal of Research in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education

Importance of Academic Legacy on Student Success in First- and Second-Semester General Chemistry

Journal of Research in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, Volume 6, Issue 3, September 2023, pp. 121-148
OPEN ACCESS VIEWS: 570 DOWNLOADS: 288 Publication date: 15 Sep 2023
ABSTRACT
This investigation sought to elucidate the influence of students' academic legacy on their prior knowledge and course outcomes providing crucial insights for educators who teach general chemistry. This six-semester analysis involved 6,914 students enrolled in classes across nine Texas universities. Explored were personal circumstances associated with students' successes and failures that influenced performance in on- and off-sequence, first- and second-semester general chemistry (Chem 1 and Chem 2). Students' academic legacy based on their categorization as first generation (neither grandparent nor parent/guardian with a 4-year bachelor's degree), second generation (at least one grandparent or parent/guardian with a bachelor's degree), or third generation (at least one grandparent and at least one parent/guardian hold a bachelor's degree) was investigated. Of the students in the dataset 33.8% (n = 2,340) self-identified as Hispanic. Results for Hispanic and non-Hispanic students indicated that first-generation students struggled more with Chem 1 and Chem 2 than students in the other two legacy groups. As students' academic legacy extended, they were more apt to succeed in general chemistry. Second- and third-generation students demonstrated stronger prior high-school chemistry backgrounds and were enrolled in more advanced mathematics courses. As expected, students with stronger academic backgrounds in chemistry and mathematics scored higher on the diagnostic MUST (Math-Up Skills Test), had greater self-efficacy relative to their preparation to succeed, and reported fewer paid work hours. First-generation students on the average entered with lower diagnostic MUST scores, felt less prepared to succeed, and disclosed a greater need to be employed.
KEYWORDS
higher education, diagnostic testing, general chemistry, mathematics/automaticity, ethnicity, academic legacy
CITATION (APA)
Shelton, G. R., Villalta-Cerdas, A., Jang, B., Dubrovskiy, A., Mamiya, B., Weber, R., Broadway, S., Williamson, V., Powell, C., & Mason, D. (2023). Importance of Academic Legacy on Student Success in First- and Second-Semester General Chemistry. Journal of Research in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 6(3), 121-148. https://doi.org/10.31756/jrsmte.631
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