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Perceived Costs in Organic Chemistry and Their Relationship to Course Performance

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Cassidy Wilkes

Additional Presenters:
Derek Baker (, Lauren Jensen (, Jake McArthur (, Seunghwan Shin (
Organic chemistry is one of the most feared and failed courses in the undergraduate curriculum. Consequently, studying what makes this course “too difficult” as perceived by students is worthwhile because these perceptions result in many students not considering STEM majors because they require chemistry courses. Our research group has investigated perceived costs in general chemistry, and this study expands our understanding of these constructs in organic chemistry. Students’ perceived costs of a chemistry class can be many, such as task effort, loss of valued alternatives, emotional, and others. These costs might be overcome by students’ interests and goals, yet the level of perceived costs might have a lasting impact on the students’ overall perception of chemistry and their desire to pursue chemistry and other STEM careers in the future. In this mixed methods study we investigated the mentioned subclasses of perceived costs, other salient perceived costs, and mastery or performance goal orientations and the impact these constructs may have on achievement in organic chemistry classrooms. Utilizing cluster analysis as well as student interviews, we investigated students’ profile of perceived cost and goal orientation as it relates to their final grades. Our results show some similarities in the student profiles we have found in general chemistry and also some distinct differences unique to the reputation of organic chemistry. Other interesting results have also emerged from this research, which have the potential to have an impact on future instruction of these courses.
University / Institution: Southern Utah University
Type: Poster
Format: In Person
Presentation #A39
SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)
Area of Research: Education
Faculty Mentor: Guizella Rocabado