Understanding Student Problem Solving in Organic Chemistry
Huffstickler, Megan Kay
Master of Science
Date of Defense:
January 16, 2018
Peggy Van Meter, Thesis Advisor/Co-Advisor Rayne Audrey Sperling, Committee Member
Organic Chemistry Chemical Education Educational Psychology Think-Aloud Protocol
The purpose of this study is to better inform the Chemical Education community regarding the struggles that students face when problem solving in organic chemistry. Participants in an organic chemistry course at a large Mid-Eastern university were asked to think aloud while solving chemical resonance problems. Participants’ written work was scored to determine a high-performance grouping and a low-performance grouping, and think-aloud data (in video form) coded for content knowledge, problem solving strategies, and metacognitive regulation. Only one statistical association was found between performance grouping and the use of any of these codes related to content knowledge or problem solving. The scoring of each participant into their particular grouping was deemed to be with respect to an individual combination of the coded behaviors. These findings and additional observations of the researchers are discussed, and recommendations for instruction are made based on these findings.