Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Degree Granting Department
Jennifer E. Lewis, Ph.D.
Jeffrey R. Raker, Ph.D.
Scott E. Lewis, Ph.D.
Robert F. Dedrick, Ph.D.
Affective, Cognitive, Measurement invariance testing, Organic Chemistry
The field of Chemistry Education Research (CER) has been interested in understanding the reasons why students struggle in organic chemistry courses. Reports show that students perceive the material as difficult and have trouble keeping pace with the volume of content taught within the course. Beyond these and other explanations of why students struggle in organic chemistry are affective factors, such as attitude toward chemistry, that influence students’ success and retention in this course. Studies have shown that in many instances, underrepresented groups of students report less positive attitudes than their peers. Of greater concern are the students representing multiple marginalized identities, such as Women of Color, who may display even less positive attitudes, which in turn may influence their success and retention in STEM fields.
Investigating whether attitude trends observed in organic chemistry classrooms with an intervention (chapter 3) or without an intervention (chapter 5) extend to a group of Women of Color (i.e., Black female students) is an important focus of the work presented herein. Evaluating attitude gains or losses over the course of the semester can help researchers and practitioners continue to improve pedagogies that influence both cognitive and affective domains of learning. Additionally, the focus on investigating the impact of these pedagogies on underrepresented groups of students, particularly Women of Color, is paramount to answer the call of increasing diversity, inclusion, and equity in STEM.
Studies included in this dissertation have shown that in traditional lecture organic chemistry courses, attitude toward chemistry tends to remain constant or decline over a semester (chapter 5). On the other hand, pedagogical interventions, such as flipped classroom, can produce a positive gain in attitude across a semester (chapter 3). In order to determine whether these attitude gains or losses extend to subgroups of students within the classroom, measurement invariance testing (chapter 4) was utilized to provide support for the desired comparisons. When quantitative studies are conducted with an effort to learn about the similarities or differences of groups within the same learning environment, strict measurement standards must be used in order to safeguard against threats to the validity of inferences that might favor one group over another. Chapter 4 provides a step-by-step tutorial on how to conduct measurement invariance testing when group comparisons or longitudinal comparisons are desired. This technique was utilized throughout this work to ensure comparisons were supported (chapters 3, 5, and 6).
Additionally, chapter 6 reports the process of refinement and development of a new instrument to measure attitude that includes an emotional satisfaction factor and a utility factor. This instrument was developed simultaneously in English and Spanish. It was administered in the U.S. and in Chile in order to demonstrate its function in both languages and in different countries. Evidence shows that the internal structure of the instrument holds in both contexts, and although comparisons are not supported, metric invariance was achieved indicating similar factor meaning across the two groups.
Scholar Commons Citation
Rocabado Delgadillo, Guizella A., "Using Quantitative Methods to Investigate Student Attitudes Toward Chemistry: Women of Color Deserve the Spotlight" (2021). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.