Culminating Project Title
Teaching Methods Matter: A Comparison of Learning Outcomes and Persistence in STEM between Traditional Lectures and Active Learning Using Undergraduate Learning Assistants in Introductory Chemistry Courses
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Higher Education Administration: Ed.D.
Educational Administration and Higher Education
School of Education
Dr. Rachel Friedensen
Dr. Melissa Hanzsek-Brill
Dr. Jennifer Jones
Dr. Roseann Wolak
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
teaching and learning, STEM education, college student retention, persistence, constructivism, introductory chemistry, quantitative
Student retention in STEM majors is low. The literature is clear: poor teaching contributes to students’ decisions to leave STEM. From this I wondered if the teaching method made a difference in their choice. This study followed a quantitative, quasi-experimental research design. I compared two teaching methods, a traditional lecture (TRAD) and active learning using the Learning Assistant Program (LAP) to determine if there was a difference in student learning outcomes and persistence in STEM for students enrolled in an introductory chemistry course at a mid-sized regional comprehensive public university (RCPU). My results showed that there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups based on student performance on the American Chemical Society Final Exam and the percentage of students who enrolled in a subsequent STEM course. However, I found a statistically significant difference between the two groups when comparing Total Points Earned, and the DFW rates. LAP students achieved higher performance and a 2:1 overall pass ratio compared to TRAD students. The LAP teaching method positively influenced women and students of color with higher performance in overall grades achieved and course completion rates. The active learning teaching method that used the Learning Assistant Program improved student performance and persistence in the introductory chemistry courses and was particularly effective for women and students of color.
Laudenbach, Jodi, "Teaching Methods Matter: A Comparison of Learning Outcomes and Persistence in STEM between Traditional Lectures and Active Learning Using Undergraduate Learning Assistants in Introductory Chemistry Courses" (2020). Culminating Projects in Higher Education Administration. 38.