Improving performance in a second year chemistry course: An evaluation of a tutorial scheme on the learning of chemistry
South African Journal of Chemistry
Department of Chemistry, University of Cape Town, South Africa; School of Education, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
Throughput of students is a concern for academic departments especially since it will be the basis of a new funding formula for tertiary institutions. In order to reduce content for increased mastery, and ensure student engagement with chemical concepts, tutorials were introduced for two of the second year chemistry sub-disciplines at UCT in the place of some formal lectures. The impact of this innovation was investigated using questionnaires, interviews and a study of opportunistic data such as examination results. Analysis of the data showed that the overall pass rate increased noticeably as did the number of students achieving high marks. Student, tutor and lecturer feedback lent credence to the belief that the improvement was largely due to the introduction of the tutorial scheme. In addition, some noteworthy differences between the sub-disciplines were identified. Some of these differences were attributed to the lecturer's understanding of his own teaching.