Predictors of Student Success in Entry-Level Science Courses
Singh, Mamta K.
Although the educational evaluation process is useful and valuable and is supported by the Higher Education Act, a strong research base for program evaluation of college entry-level science courses is still lacking. Studies in science disciplines such as, biology, chemistry, and physics have addressed various affective and demographic factors and their relationships to student achievement. However, the literature contains little information that specifically addresses student biology content knowledge skills (basics and higher order thinking skills) and identifies factors that affect students' success in entry-level college science courses. These gate-keeping courses require detailed evaluation if the goal of an institution is to increase students' performance and success in these courses. These factors are, in fact, a stepping stone for increasing the number of graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) majors. The present study measured students' biology content knowledge and investigated students' performance and success in college biology, chemistry, and physics entry-level courses. Seven variables-gender, ethnicity, high school Grade Point Average (GP A), high school science, college major, school financial aid support, and work hours were used as independent variables and course final performance as a dichotomous dependent variable. The sample comprised voluntary student participants in entry-level science courses. The study attempted to explore eight research questions. Content knowledge assessments, demographic information analysis, multiple regression analysis, and binary logistic regression analysis were used to address research questions. The results suggested that high school GP A was a consistently good predictor of students' performance and success in entry-level science courses. Additionally, high school chemistry was a significant predictor variable for student success in entry-level biology and chemistry courses. similarly, students' performance and success in entry-level physics courses were influenced by high school physics. Finally, the study developed student success equation with high school GAP and high school chemistry as good predictors of students' success in entry-level science courses.
higher education, study of science, predication of scholastic success, teaching of science, chemistry
Singh, M.K. (2009). Predictors of student success in entry-level science courses (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.