Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Chemistry

First Advisor

Dr. Sherine Obare

Second Advisor

Dr. Herb Fynewever

Third Advisor

Dr. Donald Schreiber

Fourth Advisor

Dr. James Kiddle

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

This study sought to understand the beliefs that chemistry faculty hold and the practices that they follow when grading student solutions of problems. The study examined if a conflict exists between the faculty beliefs about what they state they want to see in student's work and the score they assign to students' solutions. Three research questions guided the study: (1) what beliefs do the chemistry faculty hold about the purpose of grading and about what should be shown in student solutions? (2) how do these faculty resolve the conflict, if any, arising from the expressed beliefs when assigning a score to a student's solution? (3) are chemistry faculty likely to place the burden of proof on themselves or on the student when assigning a score? In order to elicit faculty beliefs, five student solutions were presented to ten instructors (participants) for grading. Data were collected through one-on-one, 30-60 minute, semi-structured think-aloud interviews. Findings indicate varied levels of consistency between the stated faculty beliefs and the score they assigned to the student solutions. An elaborate discussion of the findings and implications of this study for practice is presented.

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