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Los Medanos College

 

 

Chemistry Program

 

2011-12

 

Program-Level Student Learning Outcomes (PSLOs)

 

At the completion of the Chemistry Program, a student will have:

 

  1. Applied scientific methodology, in all its explicit steps, to either:
    • solve a complex problem posed in the classroom, or
    • complete a significant laboratory analysis, or
    • carry out an extensive study at one of LMC’s field stations.

  2. Solved problems concerning the atomic and molecular structure of matter, using the periodic table plus
    quantum mechanics as the organizing and predictive models for this analysis.

  3. Solved stoichiometric problems, including those complicated by the presence of limiting reagents.

  4. Correctly predicted the products of standard inorganic, organic, biochemical, or nuclear reactions.

  5. Applied the principles of thermodynamics and kinetics to solve problems:

  6. Involving energy and entropy changes characteristic of chemical and physical reactions
    • concerning rates and mechanisms of chemical reactions
    • involving the principles of equilibrium

  7. Demonstrated an understanding of electromagnetic radiation (i.e., light energy) and its interactions
    with matter, by carrying out spectroscopic analyses of atoms and compounds.

  8. Conducted laboratory or field analyses using modern, professional technologies, selected from colorimetric,
    titrimetric, gravimetric, electrochemical, spectrometric, and chromatographic equipment and instruments.

  9. Engaged in at least one hands-on research or restoration activity at a field site of LMC or a community
    partner, in order to utilize the distinct opportunity provided by having the California Delta in our backyard,
    and to appreciate the effort needed to act as good stewards of our local watersheds.

PSLO Assessment Report Summary

 

What we looked at:

We collected and pooled the assessment data for our sections of Chem 7. This was regarding CSLO #2:

 

Recognize the organic classes commonly found in biological molecules and predict their reactivity. The student will understand the structure & function of biological systems from chemical & physical perspectives.

 

Here is the data obtained by using the third exam as the assessment tool:

 

# High Proficiency = 10 (12%)

# Meets Proficiency = 37 (43%)

# Below Proficiency = 39 (45%)

 

What we found:

Organic reactions are one of the most difficult (but inescapable) topics in the course.  These results are not unusual for  Chem 7 classes, but of course we would prefer them to improve.  The data was obtained from two sections of Chem 7.  The distribution of proficiencies was similar between both sections.

 

Both professors routinely use a weekly extra “lab hour” to review lecture topics with students.  In addition, nearly every 3-hour lab session began with a review session lasting 45 to 90 minutes.  During this time, students discussed topics and worked out exercises in preparation of upcoming exams.  We tried to place special emphasis on organic reactions.  Apparently the extra time for review did not improve student learning significantly, or at least, test scores did not increase.  Many students told us that they found value in the review sessions, so we will continue to use the beginning of each lab for review.  However, we need a different strategy to help more students understand organic reactions.

 

What we are planning to work on:

Using worksheets or textbook problems, we will drill the class in what we know will be their most difficult topics. 

 

We will give extra time to organic reactions in the Fall courses. 

 

We plan to write new worksheets designed to help students break down and analyze organic reactions.  Perhaps a step-by-step procedure (identify the change in functional groups, recall pertinent reactions, and modify to solve the given problem) will give students a better understanding.