Several interventions have been applied to decrease the DFW rates in introductory chemistry courses during the past five years. Even though higher student success rates were observed, the DFW rates remain at the same level. Recently it has been noted that a disproportionate amount (approximately half) of the DFW rates is due to student withdrawals. Additionally, data on students who repeat courses indicates that students who have withdrawn from a course once are far more likely to withdraw from a course on their second attempt compared to their peers who received Ds or Fs on their first attempt. To investigate the possible reasons leading to the DFWs, with a particular focus on student withdrawals, we propose to form a faculty learning community composed of members from chemistry discipline, library, and CTE. We plan to 1) develop proper interview/questionnaire protocol, 2) interview students who withdraw from introductory chemistry classes, and 3) compile a list of reasons for withdrawals. Based on the collected data, we would like to recommend practical interventions that can be adopted by the chemistry discipline to decrease DFW rates and improve retentions. Our faculty learning community will not only provide opportunities for members from different areas to collaborate with each other but also serve as a model for future investigation of DFW rates in other disciplines in SST, and potentially across the college.
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