Factors that Affect Student Motivation in Organic Chemistry: Measuring Correlations to Gauge Student Attitudes
Motivation is the personal investment that an individual has reaching a desired state or outcome. In learning, motivation influences the direction, intensity, persistence, and quality of learning behaviors in which students engage. To measure the motivation of students enrolled in undergraduate organic chemistry courses, a survey was developed to gauge student attitudes about the course value, self-efficacy, and class environment. The survey consisted of twelve statements to which respondents indicated agreement through a seven point Likert response scale. Since course value, self-efficacy, and a supportive class environment are all purported to be necessary factors to positively motivate students, pairwise correlations between the student responses were measured and assessed. Although correlation was generally found in responses to statements pertaining to a specific factor, the lack of correlation between these three factors indicates that individual students probably did not perceive all three factors to be present simultaneously. This may contribute to students’ non-optimal performance despite generally positive responses to individual statements. Despite responses that indicate all three factors purportedly required for motivation are present in organic chemistry classes, no correlation between the three is evidenced upon statistical analysis. The low correlation of several statements with other statements reveals that students have an overall low perception of the role of science classes and organic chemistry in their education.
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Kathryn A. Cannon
Department of Chemistry, Penn State Abington College, 1600 Woodland Road, Abington, PA, 19001, USA.
Department of Finance, Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.
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