CHEMOPHOBIA IN THE COLLEGE CLASSROOM EXTENT, SOURCES, AND STUDENT CHARACTERISTICS

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CHEMOPHOBIA IN THE COLLEGE CLASSROOM:
EXTENT, SOURCES, AND STUDENT CHARACTERISTICS
by
Roberta
Myers
Eddy
B.S.,
Indiana
University
of
Pennsylvania,
1965
M .S.,
Indiana
U niversity
of
Pennsylvania,
1991
Submitted
The
School
of
the
of
to
the
Graduate
Education
requirements
Doctor
U niversity
of
in
for
Faculty
partial
the
of
fulfillm ent
degree
of
Philosophy
of
P ittsburgh
1996
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
UMI Number: 9718635
Copyright 1996 by
Eddy, Roberta Myers
All rights reserved.
UMI Microform 9718635
Copyright 1997, by UMI Company. All rights reserved.
This microform edition is protected against unauthorized
copying under Title 17, United States Code.
UMI
300 North Zeeb Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
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COMMITTEE SIGNATURE PAGE
Committee Member
Affiliation
J O P /d h u u d Ty
1
ii
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Copyright by Roberta Myers Eddy
1996
iii
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CHEMOPHOBIA IN THE COLLEGE CLASSROOM:
EXTENT, SOURCES, AND STUDENT CHARACTERISTICS
Roberta Myers Eddy, PhD
University o f Pittsburgh,
Adviser:
1996
Dr. David W. Champagne
The purpose of this project was to provide a better understanding of
chem ophobia (chem istry anxiety) at the college level by determ ining:
extent o f
to college
chem ophobia in the college classroom;
(b) the factors that contribute
students' anxieties about learning chem istry
chemicals; and (c) the characteristics o f college
about learning chem istry and handling chemicals.
(a) the
and handling
students who have anxieties
A three factor, 36-item
Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale (DCARS), with Cronbach's alpha .94,
was used
to m easure the anxiety stimulated by
evaluated
in chem istry,
learning chem istry, being
and by handling chemicals.
A questionnaire
containing DCARS was administered to 48 non-science majors and 16 science
majors who were taking an introductory, general chem istry course in the
summer.
Eight interviews were conducted.
Chemophobia was found to exist in
the college classroom at a level of anxiety between a little bit and moderately
anxious.
H ighest anxiety was associated with chem istry-evaluation; lowest
iv
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anxiety was associated with learning chem istry.
Factors that strongly
contributed to students' anxieties about learning chem istry were:
chem ical form ulas;
(b) interpreting chem ical equations;
(c)
(a) reading
reading
and
interpreting graphs or charts that show the results o f a chem istry
experiment; and (d) math.
Taking the final chemistry exam, being given a
"pop" chemistry quiz, and taking a chemistry quiz were major factors that
contributed to students' anxieties about chem istry-evaluation.
Factors that
strongly contributed to students’ anxieties about handling chem icals were:
(a) getting chem icals on hands during an experiment; (b) spilling a chemical;
and (c) working with unknown chemicals.
No significant differences were
found between the anxiety levels o f males and females for Leam ingChemistry A nxiety and Handling-Chemicais Anxiety.
significantly
higher Chem istry-Evaluation
Anxiety
Females had
than males.
differences in anxiety levels were found between the following:
science majors and science majors;
and
students
with
(a) non­
(b) students with low math experience and
students with high math experience; or (c)
experience
No significant
students with low chemistry
high chem istry
experience.
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This goal was attained with the help of many people.
appreciation to all these people,
I extend my
deepest
especially to:
Dr. John Wood for his continuous belief in me which began when he was
Coordinator of Chemistry Graduate Students at IUP.
At this time, Dr. Wood made
it possible for me to be a chemistry graduate student when the only
background experience I had was
undergraduate
general chem istry. This
initiated my first step on the path
toward achieving this goal.
Robert Eddy, my husband, and our children (my greatest gifts) Sean,
Katherine, Thom asina, M ichael, Heather and Nicholas for all their support and
especially for accepting and enduring my love of chem istry, learning, and
te a c h in g .
Dr. David Champagne for accepting the role of research advisor and for his
patience, encouragem ent,
professionalism ,
excellence,
guidance.
support,
and
interest in
the pursuit of
Dr. W illard Korth, my program advisor and member of my dissertation
committee, for his guidance and support throughout the years of my study at
the
U niversity
o f Pittsburgh.
Dr. Albert Nous, also a member of my dissertation committee, for his
guidance and support during the writing o f this dissertation.
Dr. Krys Kaniasty and Dr. George Walz who helped design the questionnaire
and the anxiety scale.
Dr. Kaniasty also assisted with the statistical analyses.
vi
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
ABSTRACT
I.
II.
...................................................................................................................................... iii
INTRODUCTION AND STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
.........................................I
A.
I n tr o d u c t io n
1
B.
Statem ent o f the P r o b le m ................................................................................. 2
C
Purpose o f the Study
D.
Significance o f the S t u d y .................................................................................4
E.
T h eo retical
Fram ew ork
F.
P u rp o se
........................................................................................................... 10
G.
R esearch
Q uestions
H.
R esearch
H ypotheses
................................................................................. 3
................................................................................. 6
10
............................................................................... 11
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
A.
Part 1:
1.
Science Anxiety
...................................................................12
...............................................................................12
D istinguishing Science Anxiety
from
A ttitudes
Toward Science and Other Related Constructs ....................... 12
2.
Causes
3.
Science Anxiety Compared to Math Anxiety
4.
Science Anxiety in Chemistry S tu d e n ts ........................................18
B.
Part 2:
C
S u m m a ry
of Science Anxiety
15
..........................16
Chemistry Anxiety
19
...........................................................................................................23
v ii
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TABLE OF CONTENTS (CONT'D).
II I .
METHODOLOGY
.......................................................................................................... 25
A.
G uiding
B.
The Setting o f the Study
C
S u b je c ts
D.
Q uestions
..............................................................................................25
................................................................................26
............................................................................................................26
1.
S election
T echnique
2.
Description o f the Subjects
Data Collection
..................................................................28
....................................................29
..............................................................................................30
1.
C onstruction
o f the Q uestionnaire
2.
Pretest o f the Questionnaire
....................................................35
a.
Pilot study sample
b.
P ro c e d u re
c.
Analysis of the pilot study data
d.
Summary o f the results of the
data
e.
......................................31
.................................................................. 35
................................................................................37
.................................. 37
pretest
analysis
64
Answers to the major research questions
according to the pretest data.............................................. 70
3.
V alidation o f the Pretested Q uestionnaire
4.
A dm inistration
5.
I n te r v ie w s
........................ 72
of the V alidated Q uestionnaire
. . . . 72
............................................................................................. 73
a.
Construction of the interview guide
b.
Practicing
p ro c e d u re
and
pretesting
......................... 73
the interview
.............................................................................. 74
v iii
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TABLE OF CONTENTS (CONT'D).
Page
E.
Data Analysis
1.
.............................................................................................75
Derived Chemistry Anxiety Scale Data
data
.........................................75
a.
D escriptive
................................................................. 75
b.
Comparison of the means of DCARS
and RMARS .............................................................................. 75
2.
F.
IV.
Item
d.
Factor
e.
Subscales computed as an average of items
f.
R eliability
g.
Intercorrelations
h.
Compare the means of the three factors
i.
Comparison of means using two-way Anova's . . . . 78
Interview
S u m m a ry
RESULTS
A.
c.
analysis
76
................................................................. 76
analysis
analysis
Data
among
. . . . 77
77
the
three
factors
. . . . 77
. . . . 77
............................................................................... 78
.......................................................................................................... 79
....................................................................................................................... 80
Q uestionnaire D a t a ............................................................................................. 80
1.
Comparison Between Chemistry Anxiety and
Math Anxiety With Respect to Learning
and
Evaluation
.............................................................................. 80
2.
Item
A nalysis
............................................................................... 82
3.
Factor
4.
R eliab ility
A nalysis
............................................................................... 92
A nalysis
...................................................................... 98
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TABLE OF CONTEN r (CONT’D).
P ag e
5.
Comparison of Factors 1, 2, and 3 of the Derived
C hem istry Anxiety Rating S c a l e .................................................. 100
6.
B.
Two-W ay ANOVA's Between Independent Variables
Interview
1.
D ata
. . . 103
...........................................................................................112
Factors That Contribute to Students’ Anxieties
A ssociated With Learning Chemistry in the
C lassro o m
2.
Factors That Contribute to Students' Anxieties
A ssociated
3.
..........................................................................................112
W ith C hem istry-Evaluation ....................................... 119
Factors That Contribute to Students' Anxieties
A ssociated With
4.
Handling Chemicals
.................................... 120
Strategies Suggested by Interviewees to Reduce
Chemophobia in the College Classroom and
L a b o r a to r y
V.
..........................................................................................123
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
............................................................................ 129
A.
Extent o f Chem ophobia
.......................................................................129
B.
C o n trib u tin g
.......................................................................130
F actors
1.
The Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale
2.
Factors That Contribute To Leam ing-C hem istry
A n x ie ty
3.
.......................130
..........................................................................................132
Factors That Contribute To Chem istry-Evaluation
A n x ie ty
.......................................................................................... 137
x
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TABLE OF CONTENTS (CONT’D).
Page
4.
Factors That C ontribute To Handling-Chemicals
A n x ie ty
C
S tudent
.......................................................................................... 139
C haracteristics
........................................................................... 142
1.
G ender
...........................................................................................142
2.
Non-Science M ajor Versus Science M ajor
3.
C hem istry
4.
Math
E xperience
Experience
...........................143
.............................................................144
............................................................................. 144
D.
Answers to the Research Questions
E.
Summary
F.
Student Suggested Strategies to Reduce Chemophobia
.......................................................................................................149
in the College Classroom
G.
F urther
................................................146
Research
............................................................................ 150
Q uestions
............................................................. 152
APPENDIX A The Revised M athematics Anxiety Rating Scale
.................... 155
APPENDIX B
THE ORIGINAL QUESTIONNAIRE BEFORE BEING PRETESTED
APPENDIX C
FACTOR 1 LEARNING-CHEMISTRY ANXIETY ITEMS
. . . 157
RANKED IN DESCENDING ORDER OF MEAN ANXIETY LEVEL
(Pilot Study)
APPENDIX D
167
FACTOR 2 CHEMISTRY-EVALUATION ANXIETY ITEMS
RANKED IN DESCENDING ORDER OF MEAN ANXIETY LEVEL
(Pilot Study)
APPENDIX E
169
FACTOR 2 CHEMISTRY-EVALUATION ANXIETY ITEMS
RANKED IN DESCENDING ORDER OF MEAN ANXIETY LEVEL
(Pilot Study)
171
xi
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TABLE OF CONTENTS (CONT'D).
Page;
APPENDIX F THE REVISED, VALIDATED QUESTIONNAIRE
...................................173
APPENDIX G INTERVIEW GUIDE .......................................................................................... 183
APPENDIX H INFORMED CONSENT F O R M ............................................................................ 188
APPENDIX I FACTOR 1 LEARNING-CHEMISTRY ANXIETY ITEMS
RANKED IN DESCENDING ORDER OF MEAN ANXIETY LEVEL
(Test Study) ........................................................................................................190
APPENDIX J FACTOR 2 HANDLING-CHEMICALS ANXIETY ITEMS
RANKED IN DESCENDING ORDER OF MEAN ANXIETY LEVEL
(Test Study) ........................................................................................................192
APPENDIX K FACTOR 3 CHEMISTRY-EVALUATION ANXIETY ITEMS
RANKED IN DESCENDING ORDER OF MEAN ANXIETY LEVEL
(Test Study) ........................................................................................................194
BIBLIOGRAPHY
..................................................................................................................... 197
xii
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LIST OF TABLES
Table 1
Efl.g.e
Items for Factors 1, 2, and 3 of the Original Derived
Chem istry
Anxiety Rating S c a l e .................................................................. 32
Table 2
Results o f the One-Sample t-Test Between the Mean of the
Combined Items in Factors 1 and 2 of the DCARS and
the Mean of RMARS (Pilot Study)
................................................. 39
Table 3
Numbers of Articles, Comm unications, or D issertations
on M athematics and Chemistry Anxiety that Resulted
.................................................. 41
from an Electronic Keyword Search)
Table 4
Items Eliminated from the Derived Chemistry Anxiety
Rating Scale and Frequency D istribution Percent Values
(Pilot
Study))
.............................................................................................42
Table 5
The Percent Variance for Factors 1, 2, and 3 of the
Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale (Pilot Study)
. . . . 43
Table 6
Items and Factor Loadings for Factor 1 LeamingChemistry
Anxiety of the Derived Chem istry Anxiety
Rating Scale (Pilot S tu d y ) ...............................................................................44
Table 7
Items and Factor Loadings for Factor 2 ChemistryEvaluation
Anxiety of the Derived Chemistry Anxiety
Rating Scale (Pilot S tu d y ) ...............................................................................46
Table 8
Items and Factor Loadings for Factor 3 HandlingChemicals
Anxiety of the Derived Chemistry Anxiety
Rating Scale (Pilot S tu d y ) ...............................................................................48
Table 9
Cronbach's Alpha Reliability Values Obtained on the
Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and on the
Factor Subscales (Pilot Study)
................................................................ 50
xiii
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LIST OF TABLES (CONT'D).
Page
Table 10
Anxiety Level Means and Standard Deviations for the
Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and for Each
o f the Three Factors (Pilot Study)
....................................................51
Table
11
Results o f Paired Samples t-Tests to Compare the
Level Means o f the Three Factors (Pilot Study)
Anxiety
...................... 52
Table
12
Two-Way ANOVA Results for the Total Chemistry Anxiety
Scale by Major, Sex, and Major/Sex (Pilot Study)
........................54
Table
13
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Factor 1 Leaming-Chemistry
Anxiety by Major, Sex,
and
Major/Sex
(Pilot Study)
..........55
Table
14
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Factor 2 Chemistry-Evaluation
Anxiety by Major, Sex,
and
Major/Sex
(Pilot Study) ..........55
Table
15
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Factor 3 Handling-Chemicals
Anxiety by Major, Sex,
and
Major/Sex
(Pilot Study)
Table
Table
Table
Table
16
17
18
19
..........56
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Total Chemistry Anxiety
by Chemistry Experience, Sex, and
C hem istry
Experience/Sex (Pilot Study)
58
Two-W ay ANOVA Results for Leam ing-Chem istry Anxiety
by Chemistry Experience, Sex, and
C hem istry
Experience/Sex (Pilot Study)
59
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Chem istry-Evaluation Anxiety
by Chemistry Experience, Sex, and
C hem istry
Experience/Sex (Pilot Study)
59
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Handling-Chemicals Anxiety
by Chemistry Experience, Sex, and
C hem istry
Experience/Sex (Pilot Study)
60
xi v
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LIST OF TABLES (CONT'D).
Page
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
20
21
22
23
24
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Total Chemistry Anxiety
by Math Experience, Sex, and Math Experience/Sex
(Pilot
Study)
62
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Leam ing-Chem istry Anxiety
by Math Experience, Sex, and Math Experience/Sex
(Pilot
Study)
63
Two-Way ANOVA Results
by Math Experience, Sex,
(Pilot
Study)
for Chem istry-Evaluation Anxiety
and Math Experience/Sex
63
Two-Way ANOVA Results
by Math Experience, Sex,
(Pilot
Study)
for Handling-Chemicals Anxiety
and Math Experience/Sex
The Average Anxiety Levels o f Females and Males
Obtained on the Total Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating
Scale and on the Factor Subscales (Pilot Study)
64
66
Table
25
The Average Anxiety Levels of Science Majors and
Non-Science Majors Obtained on the Total Derived
Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and on the Factor
..............................................................................67
Subscales(P ilot Study)
Table
26
The Average Anxiety Levels of Low Math Experienced
Students and High Math Experienced Students Obtained
on the Total Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale
and on the Factor Subscales (Pilot Study)
....................................... 68
Table
27
The Average Anxiety
Experienced Students
Students Obtained on
Anxiety Rating Scale
(Pilot Study)
Table
28
Levels of Low Chemistry
and High Chemistry Experienced
the Total Derived Chemistry
and on the Factor Subscales
69
Results of the One-Sample t-Test Between the Mean
of the Combined Items in Factors 1 and 2 of the DCARS
and the Mean of RMARS (Test Study)
.................................................. 81
xv
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LIST OF TABLES (CONT’D).
Page
Table 29
The A nxiety Level Frequency D istribution Percent
Values, Mean Anxiety Levels, and Standard Deviations
o f the Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale Items
(Test Study) ..........................................................................................................83
Table 30
Percent Variance for Factors 1, 2, and 3 Obtained from
Factor Analysis o f the Test Study Data ................................................... 92
Table 31
Items and Factor Loadings for Factor 1 LeamingChemistry Anxiety Obtained
from Factor Analysis of
the Test Study D a t a ............................................................................................93
Table 32
Items and Factor Loadings for Factor 2 HandlingChemicals Anxiety Obtained
from Factor Analysis of
the Test Study D a t a ............................................................................................95
Table 33
Items and Factor Loadings for Factor 3 ChemistryEvaluation Anxiety Obtained
from Factor Analysis o f
the Test Study D a t a ............................................................................................97
Table 34
Anxiety Level Means and Standard Deviations for
the Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and for
Each of the Three Factors (Test Study) .................................................. 99
Table 35
Cronbach's Alpha Reliability Values Obtained on the
Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and on the
Factor Subscales (Test Study)............... ........................................................ 100
Table 36
Results of Paired Samples t-Tests to Compare
Factors I, 2, and 3 of the Derived Chemistry Anxiety
Rating Scale (Test Study) ............................................................................ 101
Table 37
Two-Way ANOVA Results for the Total Chemistry
Anxiety Scale by Major, Sex, and Major/Sex (Test Study)
Table 38
. . . 104
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Factor 1 LeamingChemistry Anxiety by Major, Sex, and Major/Sex
(Test Study) ........................................................................................................104
xvi
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LIST OF TABLES (CONT'D).
Page
Table 39
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Factor 2 ChemistryEvaluation Anxiety by Major, Sex, and Major/Sex
(Test Study) ........................................................................................................105
Table 40
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Factor 3 HandlingChemicals Anxiety by Major, Sex, and Major/Sex
(Test Study) ........................................................................................................105
Table 41
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Total Chemistry Anxiety
by Chemistry Experience, Sex, and
C hem istry Experience/Sex (Test S tu d y ) .................................................. 107
Table 42
Two-W ay ANOVA Results for Leam ing-Chem istry
Anxiety by Chem istry Experience, Sex, and
C hem istry Experience/Sex (Test S tu d y ) .................................................. 108
Table
43
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Chem istry-Evaluation
Anxiety by Chem istry Experience, Sex, and
C hem istry Experience/Sex (Test S tu d y ) .................................................. 108
Table
44
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Handling-Chemicals
Anxiety by Chem istry Experience, Sex, and
C hem istry Experience/Sex (Test S tu d y ) .................................................. 109
Table
45
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Total Chemistry Anxiety
by Math Experience, Sex, and Math Experience/Sex
(Test Study) ........................................................................................................110
Table
46
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Learning Chemistry Anxiety
by Math Experience, Sex, and Math Experience/Sex
(Test Study) ......................................................................................................110
Table
47
Two-W ay ANOVA Results for Chem istry-Evaluation Anxiety
by Math Experience, Sex, and Math Experience/Sex
(Test Study) ........................................................................................................I l l
Table
48
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Handling-Chemicals Anxiety
by Math Experience, Sex, and Math Experience/Sex
(Test Study) ........................................................................................................I l l
xvi i
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LIST OF FIGURES
£age
Figure
1.
The four fronts manifested by the attitudes that
affect science education .................................................................................. 12
Figure
2.
Comparison of the means and standard deviations
of Factors 1 and 2 of the Revised Math Anxiety Rating
Scale and the Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale
............................................................................................ 40
(Pilot Study)
Figure
3.
The average anxiety levels for the three factors of the
Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale.
(Pilot Study)
Figure
4.
Figure 5.
Figure
. . . . 53
S ignificant gender differences in the anxiety levels
of the total Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale
and the three subscales.
(Pilot Study) ..................................................... 57
The significant interaction betw een chem istry
experience and sex for handling-chem icals anxiety.
(Pilot Study)
............................................................................................ 61
6.
Comparison of the means and standard deviations for the
combined Factors 1 and 2 of the Revised Math Anxiety
Rating Scale and the Derived Chemistry Anxiety Scale.
(Test Study) ..........................................................................................................82
xvi i i
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CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION AND STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Introduction
Chemophobia is assumed to exist in the classroom and thought to be
partially responsible for low student enrollm ent in chem istry.
The education
section leaders o f the American Chemical Society recently deemed the
phenomenon sufficiently critical to ask, "Should we com bat chem ophobia in
the classroom?" (American Chemical Society, Fall 1995, p. 49).
This question
was asked in a call for papers to be presented at the 1996 ACS National Meeting
in New Orleans.
Educators dutifully responded (Eddy & Wood, 1996; Worman,
1996) with various methods to overcome this adversity.
But what exactly is "chemophobia"?
definition for chemophobia.
The literature reveals no clear
The term appears to be used in two contexts:
fear
of chemicals (Breslow, 1993; Baggett, 1993) and fear of chemistry as a course
(American Chemical Society, Fall 1995, p. 49).
There is a consensus that fears that are associated with chemicals in the
classroom or laboratory and with chemistry courses impede the learning of
chemistry.
Yet chemistry is a central science.
It is essential to the other
natural sciences, most of technology, and much of medicine.
contributions to human welfare are based on chemistry.
chemistry also contributes to some woes of society.
Many significant
On the other hand,
A major concern is
environm ental pollution due to the mishandling o f hazardous chem icals.
Other safety concerns involve food additives and household products that are
used in everyday living.
As a result, students need to know chemistry so that
they can make intelligent decisions and informed choices.
They need to know
1
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chem istry for their own personal welfare and the welfare o f future
generations.
Students need to be involved in the field o f chemistry so that
beneficial contributions to human welfare can continue to be made.
Furthermore, critical thinking and problem solving skills are necessary in
today's world.
As technology improves, jobs require more advanced skills.
Workers need to be able to analyze data, think creatively, make decisions, and
solve problems.
These skills can be learned in chemistry laboratory courses.
Inquiry-based experim ents
provide students with hands-on
experience.
As
students work with chem icals, glassware, and equipm ent, they learn chemical
properties and how to apply chemical principles.
They learn how to design
methods to solve problems, how to collect and analyze data, as well as how to
make conclusions based on experimental findings.
By learning chem istry and
working with chem icals, students are better prepared to solve real-world
problems.
be
Therefore, anything that impedes the learning of chem istry should
investigated.
Statement
The problem is
chem ophobia in the
phenomenon.
First,
in the classroom.
of
the
Problem
that chemophobia is not well understood.
To combat
classroom , educators must clearly understand
the
educators need to know if the phenomenon actually exists
Educators need to find out if students really do have anxieties
about chemicals in the classroom and laboratory and about chem istry as a
subject.
Second, if anxieties do exist, educators need to be aware of the factors
that contribute to those anxieties so that these sources o f worries can either be
eliminated or addressed in some manner that will reduce anxiety.
Third,
educators need to know the characteristics of the students that have anxieties
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3
about chemicals and chemistry.
This knowledge can be used to predict
"chemophobic" students so that early attention can be given to these students
before serious negative effects are evidenced and attitudes becom e ingrained.
The
purpose of this investigation is to address these three necessities so that
a better understanding of chemophobia can be attained.
W ith this
better
understanding, strategies can be developed to effectively com bat chem ophobia
in the classroom.
Purpose
of
the
Study
The purpose of this investigation is threefold.
The first purpose is to
determ ine the extent to which chem ophobia exists in the college classroom
and laboratory.
The second is to determine characteristics of college students
who have anxieties about chemicals in the
chem istry as a subject.
classroom or laboratory
and about
For example, some student characteristics that might
be related to chemophobia could be gender, number of previous chemistry and
math courses, major, and year in college.
The third purpose of the study is to
determ ine factors that contribute to college students' anxieties about chem icals
in the classroom or laboratory and about chemistry as a subject.
Factors that
contribute to chemophobia are defined as the stimuli that elicit feelings of
anxiety about chemistry.
associated with
These stimuli may be particularities that are
learning chem istry,
chemicals, or other factors.
being evaluated
in chem istry,
handling
The stimuli that elicit feelings of anxieties in
college students may also be media stories or home and school experiences.
For this study, the definition of chemophobia is assumed to be analogous
to the definition o f "mathophobia", a term used by Lazarus (1974) to describe
the phenomenon of math anxiety.
Richardson and Suinn (1972) defined math
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4
anxiety as "feelings o f tension and anxiety that interfere with the
m anipulation of numbers and the solving of mathematical problems in a wide
variety o f ordinary life and academic situations" (p. 551).
Lazarus (1974)
described a mathophobic person as one who "strongly dislikes math in school,
goes out o f his way to avoid it, regards math as a sort o f cabalistic mystery
beyond his access or comprehension, or speaks openly o f his aversion to it"
(p.52).
Altering the definitions of math anxiety and mathophobic people gives
the follow ing definitions of chemistry anxiety and chem ophobia for this study
that will be focused in an academic setting.
For this investigation, the term
"chemistry anxiety" is assumed to be the feelings of tension and anxiety that
interfere with the m anipulation of chem icals and the solving o f chem ical
problems in a wide variety of academic situations.
Chemophobia is assumed to
be the strong dislike o f chemistry as a subject in school, the avoidance of
handling chem icals and taking chem istry as a subject, the thinking that
chem istry is a sort o f cabalistic mystery beyond access or comprehension, and
the open aversion to chemistry as a subject to be taken in school.
Significance
of
the
Study
This project is an investigation of student anxieties about chemistry as a
subject and anxieties about chemicals in the classroom or laboratory.
investigation
is im portant because anxiety
(W esterback and Prim avera,
affects
learning
The
and behavior
1996).
Anxiety is a state of hyperarousal.
In this state, people have narrowed
perceptual processing and are unable to process all the inform ation available
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5
in their environment.
Thus, a person in a highly anxious state is not able to
process all the information that m ight be necessary to fully learn a task or
area o f content.
In addition, anxiety has a distracting nature.
focus on the anxiety.
Therefore, the proper encoding o f information for
memory and retention is not attained.
stored in memory.
The person has a tendency to
This also affects recall of information
The distracting nature of anxiety may be displayed
physically as well as cognitively.
The person in a high anxiety state may
twitch, get stomach pains or experience severe headaches.
These physical
manifestations o f anxiety prevent the learner from paying full attention to
the task.
As a result, learning and performance are reduced.
Anxiety also has a negative impact in testing situations.
People in an
anxious state engage in behaviors that reduce their levels of anxiety.
These
non-related com peting behaviors take time away from the task at hand.
The negative effects of anxiety can be permanent if something is not done
to change the situation.
Teachers can reduce the negative effects o f anxiety in
students by awareness and teaching strategies.
be long lasting according to W esterback and
The positive changes appear to
Primavera (1996).
The findings of this investigation will promote awareness of the anxieties
that students have about learning chem istry and handling chemicals.
The
results of the study will also provide information for the development of
teaching
strategies
to help chem ophobic
students
learn chem istry
better.
Ultimately, the results will contribute to a better understanding of the nature
of chemophobia and the extent to which it exists in the college chemistry
classroom
and
laboratory.
The findings of this study are particularly important since science
education is presently undergoing m ajor reform.
New curricula and programs
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6
are being developed so that the national goal o f scientific literacy for all
students can be achieved by the year 2000.
Since chemistry is a central
science, chem ophobia may retard achievem ent of this goal.
T h eoretica l
Fram ew ork
The theoretical framework of the study involves the psychology of fears
and anxieties.
Anxiety is defined as the "apprehension, tension, or uneasiness
that stems from the anticipation of danger, which may be internal or
external" (American Psychiatric Association, 1987, p. 392).
Some psychiatrists
and psychologists distinguish anxiety from fear by defining anxiety as a
general feeling o f apprehension that has no known stimulus that elicits that
feeling, whereas fear is the response to a known stimulus.
have the same m anifestations
apprehensive
expectation,
and
Anxiety and fear
— motor tension, autonom ic
vigilance
and
hyperactivity,
scanning.
Anxiety may be focused on an object, situation, or activity, which is avoided.
In this case, the anxiety is classified as a phobia.
Anxiety may also be
unfocused in which case it is termed free floating anxiety.
Anxiety can be
experienced in discrete periods of sudden onset and be accompanied by
physical symptoms.
In this event, the anxiety is called a panic attack.
Some of the symptoms that are associated with a panic attack and that may
be felt by students faced with learning chem istry or working with chemicals
are:
shortness o f breath (dyspnea); dizziness, unsteady feelings, or faintness;
palpitations or accelerated heart rate; trem bling or shaking; sweating; nausea
or abdom inal distress;
numbness
or tingling
sensations
(paresthesias);
(hot flashes) or chills.
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flushes
7
Phobia is defined by The American Psychiatric Association (1987) as a
persistent, irrational fear of a
specific object, activity, or situation
that results
in a compelling desire to avoid the dreaded object, activity, or situation (the
phobic stim ulus).
Usually, the person
recognizes that the fear is
unreasonable
and unwarranted by the actual dangerousness o f the object, activity, or
situation.
activity.
Nonetheless, the person avoids the feared situation, object, or
Some people with a phobia claim their avoidance is rational because
they anticipate overwhelm ing anxiety or some other strong emotion that is out
of their control.
However, they do not claim that their anxiety is rationally
justified (p. 403).
Although there are a variety of anxiety disorders, the anxiety disorders that
are the most directly related to this study are "Simple Phobia” and "Generalized
Anxiety Disorder".
Simple Phobia is characterized by a "persistent fear of a
circumscribed stim ulus (object or situation) other than
fear o f having a panic
attack (as in Panic Disorder) or of humiliation or em barrassm ent in certain
social situations (as in Social
1987, p. 243).
response.
phobias.
Phobia)” (The American Psychiatric
Association,
This type of phobia is specific to the stimulus that elicits the
Therefore, simple phobias are sometimes referred to as "specific”
Exposure to the stimulus (or stimuli) usually elicits an immediate
anxiety response, such as feeling panicky, sweating, and having tachycardia
and difficulty breathing.
Intense anticipatory anxiety results if the person
has to enter into the simple phobic situation.
avoids the situation.
Therefore, the person usually
Less commonly, the person forces him self or herself to
endure the sim ple phobic situation even though it is experienced with intense
anxiety.
The person always recognizes that the fear is excessive or
unreasonable.
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s
Simple phobias are common in the general population.
However, they are
diagnosed only if the avoidance behavior interferes with the person’s normal
routine, social activities, relationships with others, or if there is severe
distress
about having the fear.
Simple phobias are more often diagnosed in
females
(American Psychiatric Association, 1987, p. 244).
Chemistry as a subject or handling chemicals may elicit a simple phobic
response in some students.
Walking into the chemistry
laboratory may immediately
cause these students to
classroom or
feel panicky.
They may
break out in a sweat and their hearts may start to beat very rapidly.
They may
feel a tightness in their chest that prevents them from breathing normally.
They may be so uncom fortable in this situation that they avoid coming to
chemistry class or lab.
On the other hand, they may force themselves to
endure the situation even though it causes them intense anxiety.
students, who were frequently absent, adm itted to
chemistry class caused them so much anxiety that it
Two female
this researcher that
took all they could do to
just come to class.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by "unrealistic or excessive
anxiety
and worry (apprehensive expectation) about two or more
circumstances" (American Psychiatric Association, 1987, p. 251).
life
In
adolescents, this form o f anxiety may be due to worry about academic, athletic,
and social perform ance.
with this disorder.
usually mild.
M ild depressive symptoms are commonly associated
Im pairm ent in social or occupational functioning is
The age of onset is usually in the 20's and 30's.
In clinical
samples, the disorder is usually found to have been present for many years,
sometimes seems to follow a Major Depressive Episode, is not commonly
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9
diagnosed when other disorders that could account for the anxiety symptoms
are ruled out, and is apparently equally common in females and in males (The
American Psychiatric Association, 1987, p. 252).
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is diagnosed when at least 6 of the following
18 symptoms are present when the person is feeling anxious:
twitching, or feeling shaky; (2)
(3)
restlessness; (4)
sensations; (6)
trembling,
muscle tension, aches, or soreness;
easy fatigability; (5)
shortness o f breath or smothering
palpitations or accelerated heart rate; (7)
clammy hands; (8)
(I)
dry mouth; (9)
sweating, or cold
dizziness or lightheadedness; (10)
diarrhea, or other abdominal distress; (11)
nausea,
flushes (hot flashes) or chills;
(12)
frequent urination; (13)
(14)
feeling keyed up or on edge; (15)
(16)
difficulty concentrating or "mind going blank" because of anxiety;
(17)
trouble falling or staying asleep; or (18)
Psychiatric A ssociation,
trouble swallowing or "lump in throat”;
exaggerated startle response;
irritability (American
1987, pp. 252-253)
College students who worry about their chemistry grade, their performance
in chemistry class and their performance in the
suffering from G eneralized Anxiety Disorder.
chem istry students generally display are:
laboratory are most likely
The symptoms that these
trembling; muscle tension;
restlessness; sw eating or cold, clammy hands; nausea, diarrhea, or other
abdominal distress; difficulty concentrating or "mind going blank" because of
anxiety (especially true during chem istry tests); and trouble falling or staying
asleep.
Some students also state that chemistry depresses them.
Chemophobia may be a composite of Simple Phobia and Generalized Anxiety
Disorder.
The results of this study will make this possibility more clear.
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P u rp o se
The purposes o f the investigation are as follow:
1.
To determine the extent to which chemophobia exists in the college
classroom.
2.
To determine some of the characteristics o f college students who
have anxieties about chemicals in the classroom or laboratory
and about chemistry as a subject.
For example:
gender, previous
chemistry courses, previous math courses, and major.
3.
To determine the factors that may contribute to college students'
anxieties about chemicals in the classroom or laboratory and
about chemistry as a subject.
and
For example:
media sources, personal
school experiences.
R esearch
Q uestions
The study involves the following main research questions:
1.
Do college students have anxieties about chemicals in the classroom
or laboratory and anxieties about chemistry as a subject?
2.
What is the extent of college students' anxieties about chemicals in
the classroom or laboratory and about chemistry as a subject?
10
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11
3.
What are the characteristics o f college students who have anxieties
about chemicals in the classroom or laboratory and about chemistry
as a subject?
4.
W hat factors may contribute to the anxieties that college students
have about chemicals in the classroom or laboratory and about
chemistry as a subject?
5.
Is there a correlation between college students' anxieties about
chemicals in the classroom or laboratory and college students'
anxieties about chemistry as a subject?
R esearch
H yp o th eses
(in the null form)
The first 4 research questions involve the descriptive method o f research.
Therefore, no hypotheses can be written for them.
These questions attempt
to
determine
student anxiety levels, student characteristics, and the factors that
contribute
to anxieties about chemicals in the classroom or laboratory and
about chem istry as a subject.
The fifth research question involves the correlational method of research.
Therefore, a research hypothesis can be written.
In its null form, this
hypothesis is stated:
There is no correlation between college students' anxieties about
chem icals in the classroom or laboratory and college students' anxieties
about chemistry as a subject.
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CHAPTER H:
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Part
D istinguishing
Other
R elated
Science
1:
Science Anxiety
A nxiety
from
A ttitudes
Toward
Science
and
C onstructs
Shrigley (1991) stated that the attitudes that affect science education are
manifested on four fronts:
science-related objects; (b)
"(a)
those likes and dislikes of students toward
science anxiety; (c)
the historical trust-fear cycle
o f science rendered by scientific invention; and (d)
scientific attitudes and
related beliefs about the nature of science modeled by scientists" (p. 144).
Shrigley envisioned the relationship o f these fronts as shown in Figure 1.
Trust-Fear
Cycle of
Science
Science
Anxiety
Likes and Dislikes
of Science
Scientific
Attitudes
F igure
1.
The four fronts manifested by the attitudes that affect science
e d u c a tio n .
12
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13
To distinguish science anxiety from the trust-fear cycle of science, the likes
and dislikes o f science, and from scientific attitudes, the four fronts
manifested by the attitudes that affect science education are described as
follow .
The likes and dislikes of science are the positive and negative feelings that
students have tow ard science-related objects.
Positive feelings may result
when students are involved in activities that they enjoy, find useful, have
personal interest
and do not fear.
Negative feelings may result from activities
that involve m em orization, require m athem atical solutions to word problems,
involve abstract ideas that do not pertain to the students' lives, or that elicit
feelings of anxiety.
Science anxiety is the general fear or aversion toward science concepts,
scientists, and science related activities (Mallow, 1981).
that causes some people to become
science course.
It is a state o f mind
very distressed at the thought o f taking
In addition, math anxiety may contribute
a
to the science
anxiety of those people who become frustrated when they have to use
mathematics to solve word problems.
m athem atically
based
science
As a result, these people avoid taking
courses.
Science anxiety can be exhibited
both physically and psychologically
(Mallow, 1981).
Some ways in which students display physical symptoms of
science anxiety
are by sweaty palms, upset stomachs, headaches, and rashes.
Psychologically, students may bite their nails, play with their hair, or become
distracted
easily.
Science anxiety was found by Talton and Simpson (1986) to be usually a
significant predictor of attitudes toward science across grades 6, 7, 8, and 9.
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14
Items on the science anxiety subscale to which the students responded were:
(1) Science makes me feel as though I'm lost in a jungle.
(2) My mind goes blank when I am doing science.
(3) Science tests make me nervous.
(4) I would probably not do well in science if I took it in college.
(p.369)
The results showed that science anxiety was present in each grade level.
For most grade levels, science anxiety was not significant at the beginning of
the school year, but became significant in the middle and end of the school
y e a r.
The finding that science anxiety significantly influences student attitude
toward
science is extremely important.
Koballa (1988) emphasized that
attitudes are relatively enduring and stable.
hard to change.
dislike
Thus, negative attitudes may be
In addition, attitudes are learned.
science in school.
Students learn to like or
However, the most important reason for attending to
student attitudes is that attitudes are related to behavior in a probabilistic way
(Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980).
Furthermore, attitudes are linked to achievement
(Schibeci & Riley, 1986).
The trust-fear cycle of science has considerable influence on science
anxiety and on attitudes toward science.
Examples o f scientific discoveries that
have contributed to this cycle are:
atomic energy; plastics; pesticides;
genetically
m ind-altering
engineered
genes;
and
drugs.
Scientific attitudes are related to but peripheral to the idea of attitudes
toward
science.
Scientific
attitudes are more cognitive than science attitudes.
They pertain to the nature o f science and philosophical
beliefs thought to be
held by scientists.
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15
Causes
of
Science
Anxiety
Anderson and Clawson (1992) determined that science anxiety in college
students is
caused by: (I)
a lack o f a framework o f prior knowledge to help
order new
knowledge; (2)
societal, educational and family attitudes that
com municate habits of anxiety; (3)
eroding student self-esteem ; (4)
teachers who ridicule students thereby
teachers who pretend to easily understand
even the most difficult concepts; and (5)
models o f nature that the students
can not understand and therefore can not use to solve problems.
W ynstra and Cummings (1993) reported that the results of a questionnaire
survey of high school students indicated that there were six m ajor categories
o f items that made the students feel anxious about science.
The first category
was Danger Anxiety which was anxiety about doing things in science class
that might be dangerous.
chem icals;
explodes.
Examples were:
lighting a Bunsen burner;
using poisonous or flammable
or watching a dem onstration that
The second category was called Test Anxiety which referred to the
anxiety associated with taking science tests.
The students responded that they
were anxious about taking tests, final exam inations, lab tests, and answering
different kinds of test questions.
The third category was Math and Problem-
Solving Anxiety which was anxiety about math and problem -solving in
science.
Students felt anxious when reading formulas in the textbook,
working out story problems, and interpreting graphs and data tables.
The
fourth category was called Squeamish Anxiety which was the anxiety
associated with doing activities that could make one feel squeamish.
activities included:
These
dissecting a frog; looking at a preserved specimen in a
bottle; or pricking one's finger to do blood typing.
The fifth category was
Perform ance Anxiety which was the anxiety associated with perform ing in
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16
science class.
following:
Students reported that they felt anxious when doing the
explaining the results of a science project to the class; being asked
a question in class; or having the teacher watch their lab procedure.
category
was Classroom A nxiety which referred to student anxiety in the
classroom.
Examples of classroom activities that elicited anxiety included:
taking notes;
hom ew ork
The sixth
listening to the lecture; and answering questions fo r
a
assig n m en t.
Science Anxiety
Compared
to
Math
Anxiety
It is felt that science anxiety and math anxiety may be intertwined and
therefore have sim ilar characteristics.
Math anxiety has been defined by
Richardson and Suinn (1972) as the "feelings of tension and anxiety that
interfere with the m anipulation o f numbers and the solving o f m athem atical
problems in a wide variety of ordinary life and academic situations" (p. 551).
Math anxiety has been studied in terms of its relationship to gender,
achievement, avoidance behavior, and test anxiety.
In a review o f the
literature, W ynstra and Cummings (1990, pp. 1-2) related that females have
higher math anxiety than males.
In general, there is not a direct relationship
between math anxiety and achievem ent and that simply low ering anxiety
possibly
does not raise achievement levels.
avoidance behavior and possibly to interest.
High levels of anxiety correlate to
There is a relationship between
math anxiety and test anxiety.
To compare science anxiety with math anxiety, the relationships between
science anxiety and the variables of gender, achievem ent, and test anxiety
follow .
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17
As with math anxiety, females also appear to have higher science anxiety
than males.
Chiarelott & Czem iak (1987) reported that, in grades 4 through 9,
females are
more science anxious than males. For females, the highest
of science anxiety occur in the fourth grade;
levels
the lowest levels occur in sixth
g ra d e .
Seymour (1995) felt that the nature o f science courses may contribute to
females' anxieties about science.
Seymour (1995) explained that the course
pace and challenging nature lead to having to prove yourself which is an
appropriate form of gender-defining activity for men, but is risky and
inappropriate for women.
Having to prove yourself makes women anxious,
insecure, and confused about the basis of one's own sense o f self as a woman.
In addition, competition for grades is about winning which is the most
traditional way o f placing individual men w ithin male prestige and ranking
systems.
Women who compete are not given (by men or other women) the
same respect that a similarly competitive man would receive.
women usually avoid a competitive approach to learning.
problem for men because if they don't com pete
As a result,
Competition is a
successfully, they risk being
defined (or defining themselves) as failures.
Seymour(1995) stated that what motivates women is the desire to receive
praise rather than the desire to win.
Teacher-dependent students (male or
female) work hard to please the teacher and use the teacher’s praise and
encouragement as the basis of their self-esteem.
through
science.
rath er
If the teneher does not come
(im personal pedagogy), the student loses certainty
about self-in-
This causes student anxiety and results in females feeling discouraged
than
encouraged.
High science anxiety appears to be linked to low achievement (Czemiak &
Chiarelott, 1984; Chiarelott & Czemiak, 1987; W esterback & Primavera, 1996).
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18
Chiarelott and Czem iak (1987) reported that high enough levels o f science
anxiety existed in high achievers to suggest that some o f the better students do
not particularly enjoy science.
The finding that high science anxiety is
linked to low achievement is in contrast to no direct relationship being
determ ined
between
math
anxiety
and
achievem ent.
Strategies to help reduce student anxiety so that achievement can increase
are recommended by W esterback and Primavera (1996).
use clearly defined goals;
The strategies are:
to
to construct exam inations to test manageable
amounts of content material; to remove the time pressure in examinations; to
help students in their study habits by providing an environm ent that focuses
on what and how to study; and to use a wide variety of instructional methods to
satisfy the many different learning styles of the students (p. 4).
Whereas a relationship between math anxiety and test anxiety has been
established, the same has not been determined for science anxiety.
Wynstra
and Cummings (1990), following a study involving tenth through twelfth
grade chem istry
students, reported that there was no significant correlation
between science anxiety and test anxiety as a whole.
However, there was a
significant correlation between science anxiety and the test anxietyemotionality subscale.
This means that the two constructs are different but
that they overlap concerning the em otions that are involved.
Science
Anxietv
in
Chemistry
Students
W ynstra and Cummings (1990) reported that female high-school chemistry
students have more science anxiety than males.
Science anxiety does not
significantly improve the prediction of grades in chem istry class.
Students in
first year chem istry class had higher levels of science anxiety than those in
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19
second year class.
The researchers stated that the latter result may indicate
that students who have high levels of anxiety avoid taking more science
classes or it could mean that taking classes in science and succeeding lowers
a n x ie ty .
Part 2:
Chemistry
Anxiety
Very little research has been done on chemistry anxiety.
The few studies
that have been conducted involve measuring and identifying anxieties
associated
w ith
learning
chem istry
and
determ ining
the
relationships
between chem istry anxiety and gender, instructional method, test anxiety, and
success
in
chem istry.
The chemistry anxiety level of community college students enrolled in a
pre-college chem istry course was measured by A bendroth and Friedm an
(1983) in a study designed to reduce chemistry anxiety.
A 12-item chemistry
anxiety scale was used to measure the students' anxiety levels.
validity values for the scale are not reported.
Reliability and
The scale consists o f two parts.
The first part is a list of six activities that are involved with learning
chemistry.
The students are asked to think about doing these activities and
then rate their feelings on a scale from 1 to 5 where 1 means enjoyable and 5
means worried and tense.
The activities listed are:
1.
W orking with graphs
2.
Solving m athematical problems
3.
Solving equations and studying formulas
4.
Studying a new field
5.
Learning chem istry terms
6.
Working in a chemistry lab
(p. 26)
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20
Part 2 o f Abendroth and Friedman’s chemistry anxiety scale consists o f six
statements to which the students are to respond that they strongly agree,
agree, are undecided, disagree, o r strongly disagree.
The six statements are:
1.
H earing the word "chemistry" scares me.
2.
It worries me that people I know have failed chemistry.
3.
The things studied in chemistry class have no personal meaning for
me.
4.
I worry
that I will not get a good grade in chemistry.
5.
I worry
that I could cause an explosion
6.
It w orries me that a chemistry teacher will not be understanding.
in chemistry lab.
(p. 26)
On the scale of 1 to 5, the overall pretest anxiety levels were 2.67 for the
control group and
2.60 for the treatment group.
These values represent a level
of anxiety in between enjoyable and worried and tense.
The results showed
that the students were especially worried about their course grade, solving
mathematical problem s,
coping with a teacher who might not be
understanding, w orking in a chem istry laboratory, and ju st hearing the word
"chem istry” (p. 26).
The relationship between chemistry anxiety and gender is not clear.
Some
research studies have indicated that there is no significant difference in
chemistry anxiety between males and females taking chem istry at the college
level (Davis, 1987).
Primavera,
1992)
However, in a later study, Davis (cited in Westerback &
found a significant difference in chem istry anxiety between
males and fem ales at the beginning of an introductory college chem istry
course.
The difference in anxiety for chemistry between the male and female
students disappeared as the course progressed though.
At the end of the
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21
course, there were no gender differences.
These findings are unlike those for
science and math anxiety where females have more anxiety than males.
The relationship between chemistry anxiety and instructional method was
investigated by Kozma (1982).
taking
laboratory
chem istry,
This study, which involved college students
revealed that different types
methods are preferred by students who have high anxiety
abilities.
o f instructional
but different
A highly structured method o f instruction (explicitly stated
objectives, reviews, exam ples, questions, and feedback) was preferred by
high-ability,
high-anxiety
students
and
by
low -ability,
Iow -anxiety
students.
On the other hand, a low structured method was preferred by high-ability,
low-anxiety students and by low-ability, high-anxiety students.
These results
suggest that non-anxious learners who lack ability and able learners who are
highly
anxious
p refer
structure.
The relationship between chemistry anxiety and test anxiety was studied by
W ynstra and Cummings (1990).
The researchers reported that students in
their second year o f high school chem istry have more test anxiety than first
year students.
However, no significant correlation was found between the
scores used to measure science anxiety and test anxiety except on the test
anxiety-em otionality subscale.
These results
suggest an em otional link
between chemistry anxiety and
test anxiety. This finding is unlike
that
for
math anxiety where a relationship between math anxiety and test anxiety has
been
established.
Research involving the relationship between chem istry anxiety and
success in chem istry indicates
that students who are successful at learning
chemistry appear to have less anxiety than students who are unsuccessful at
learning chemistry.
Davis (as cited in W esterback & Prim avera, 1992) reported
that the anxiety for chem istry
between those college students who are
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successful in an introductory chem istry lecture course and those students who
are less successful become significantly different as a function o f time spent
in the course.
The differences were attributed to reduction in anxiety for
chemistry by the more successful students.
Steiner and Sullivan (1984) developed profiles of successful and
unsuccessful students in organic chem istry.
Successful students were defined
as having a grade of C+ or better for the first 2 quarters o f the three quarter
organic course.
Unsuccessful students had a grade of C or less.
The successful
students did not have as much background in chemistry and mathematics as
the unsuccessful students reported.
However, the successful students
perceived chem istry as elegant and useful.
They had an avowed
field and preferred to study chemistry more than other subjects.
demonstrated a confident approach to the study of chem istry.
students found chemistry strange and depressing.
interest in the
They
Unsuccessful
They were worried or
anxious and used a haphazard approach to learning chem istry.
In addition,
the unsuccessful students were less prone to learn by applying principles.
Both groups o f students felt that chemistry was important to their career and
described chem istry as helpful and difficult.
Steiner and Sullivan concluded
that the best predictors for success in organic chemistry are a positive attitude
toward the study of chemistry and a positive perception o f the field.
anxiety influences
Since
student attitude, this conclusion fu rth er em phasizes the
importance o f attending to student anxiety o f chem istry.
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Sum m ary
Student anxieties are important to study because anxiety affects behavior
and learning.
Moreover, high anxiety is linked to low achievement.
By being
aware of student anxieties, educators can develop and use strategies to reduce
anxiety
and
enhance
achievem ent.
Science anxiety may be caused by:
(a)
knowledge to help order new knowledge;
a lack of a framework o f prior
(b)
societal, educational and family
attitudes that communicate habits o f anxiety; (c)
students thereby
teachers
eroding student self-esteem ; (d) teachers
who ridicule
who pretend to
easily understand even the most difficult concepts; and (e)models of nature
that the students can not understand and therefore can not
use to solve
p ro b le m s .
Some important characteristics o f science anxiety need to be addressed.
example, females appear to be more science anxious than males.
due to the nature o f science courses which are
paced, and competitive.
This may be
typically challenging, fast-
Across grades 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, science anxiety
increases as the school year progresses.
As science anxiety increases,
achievem ent decreases and student attitudes toward science become more
negative.
from
As a result, the students avoid taking
working in
science courses and
refrain
science related careers.
Chemistry anxiety appears to be similar to science anxiety.
research involving chemistry anxiety is scant.
However,
Emerging from the
few
studies that have been done is a critical factor that has major im plications.
Chem istry anxiety
For
increases as success in studying chem istry decreases.
23
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24
Students who have chem istry anxiety worry about their course grade,
mathem atical problem s, teachers who m ight not be understanding, and lab
work.
For many o f these students, ju st hearing the word "chemistry" invokes
feelings o f anxiety and fear.
Feelings of anxiety and fear o f chemistry (chemophobia) may impede the
learning of chemistry and cause students to avoid taking chemistry courses
and working in careers that involve chemistry.
To overcome these feelings of
anxiety and fear, a better understanding needs to be attained.
Thus, it is
essential to determine the extent to which chemophobia exists, the
characteristics o f the students who have chemophobia, and the factors that
contribute to chem ophobia in the classroom and laboratory.
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CHAPTER m :
METHODOLOGY
The investigation of chemophobia in the college classroom and laboratory
involved both descriptive and correlational methods o f research.
Prim arily,
the study sought to assess the status of college students regarding their
anxieties about chem icals in the classroom or laboratory and their anxieties
about chem istry as a subject.
The investigation involved determ ining student
characteristics as well as the factors that may contribute to their anxieties.
In
addition, the research attempted to determine whether, and to what degree, a
relationship exists between students' anxieties about chem icals in the
classroom or laboratory and anxieties about chem istry as a subject.
G uiding
Q uestions
The guiding questions for the research were the following:
1.
Do college students have anxieties about chemicals in the classroom
or laboratory and anxieties about chemistry as a subject?
2.
W hat is the extent of college students' anxieties about chem icals in
the classroom or laboratory and about chemistry as a subject?
3.
W hat are the characteristics of college students who have anxieties
about chemicals in the classroom or laboratory and about chemistry
as a subject?
25
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26
4.
W hat factors may contribute to the anxieties that college students
have about chemicals in the classroom or laboratory and about
chemistry as a subject?
5.
Is there a correlation between college students’ anxieties about
chemicals in the classroom or laboratory and college students'
anxieties about chemistry as a subject?
The
Setting
for the
Study
The study was conducted at a small, state-owned university located in a rural
setting in N ortheastern
United States.
S u b je c ts
Two types of subjects were necessary for the purposes of this research — a
"chemophobic" type to serve as the study group and a "non-chem ophobic”
type to serve as a control group or comparison group.
Non-science majors
were assumed to be chemophobic; science majors were assumed to be nonchem ophobic.
Forty-eight chem ophobic and
16 non-chem ophobic
subjects
were available to give a total n = 64 for the project.
The chemophobic type of subjects for this study was obtained from a pool of
students
who
were taking an introductory, inorganic chem istry
Summer Session I, 1996.
course during
This 4-credit course is designed for non-science
majors and is required for students who are seeking careers in dietetics;
physical education and sport; health and physical education; hotel, restaurant,
and
in stitu tio n al
m anagem ent;
consum er
affairs;
fashion
m erchandising;
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27
interior design and housing; home econom ics education; child developm ent
and family
relations; nursing; respiratory care; m edical technology; o r safety
s c ie n c e .
The topics for the introductory, inorganic course taken by the non-science
majors
include:
measurement; m atter and energy;
quantitative
relationships
in chemical reactions; atomic theory and the periodic system of the elements;
chemical compounds and chemical bonds; states o f m atter and kinetic theory;
solutions and colloids; acids, bases, and ionic compounds; reaction kinetics;
acid-base
nuclear
eq u ilib ria;
oxidation-reduction
equilibria;
and
radioactivity
and
c h e m istry .
During the summer, there are two five-week sessions.
The non-science
majors take the inorganic course during Summer Session I and an
introductory organic course during Summer Session II.
The students attend a
two-hour lecture every day of the week (Monday through Friday) and a twohour laboratory session three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday).
The Summer schedule is more intense than the Fall and Spring term schedules
in which the students attend either a one-hour
lecture three days a week or
hour and a half lecture two days a week along
with a two-hour lab once a
an
w eek.
The non-chemophobic subjects for the comparison group of this study were
obtained from a pool of undergraduate students who were taking a required
introductory, general chemistry course during Summer Session I, 1996.
4-credit course is designed for science majors.
This
Chemistry majors were desired
for the study, but there was no sample available during the Summer sessions.
Thus, science majors were chosen.
biology,
biochem istry,
These students are seeking careers in
environm ental
health, geoscience,
medical
technology,
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28
natural science, or geology.
m edicine,
p re-p h y sical
In addition, some o f the students are in pre­
therapy,
pre-dental,
p re-v eterin ary ,
or
pre-optom etry
p ro g ra m s.
The topics covered in the introductory, general chem istry course taken by
the science majors are sim ilar to those covered in the course for non-science
majors.
However, they are more in-depth.
m easurem ent; dim ensional analysis;
Some of the topics include:
atomic theory and
structure;
matter;
molecules
and ions; the mole; the periodic table; oxidation numbers; nomenclature of
inorganic
com pounds;
chem ical
equations
and
qu an titativ e
relationships;
therm ochem istry; bonding; gases; and liquids, solids, and changes o f state.
During the Summer session, the science majors attend a two-hour lecture
five days a w eek (Monday through Friday) and a three-hour laboratory session
three days a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
This schedule is more
intense than the Fall or Spring sem ester schedules in which the students
attend either a one-hour lecture three days a week or an hour and a half
lecture two days a week along with a three-hour lab once a week.
S e le c tio n
T ech n iq u e
Convenience sampling and "judgment sampling" (Gay, 1992, p. 139) were
used to select the subjects for this study.
conveniently accessible were used.
Existing classes that were
Furthermore, expert judgm ent was used to
select samples that were believed to be representative of chemophobic and
non-chem ophobic populations.
A chemophobic sam ple was necessary so that
the characteristics o f students who show fearful attitudes towards chemicals
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29
and chem istry could be determined.
Additionally, chem ophobia had to be
present so that some o f the factors that contribute to anxiety about chemistry
could be identified.
The non-chemophobic sample was desired for a
c o m p a ris o n .
Because convenience and judgm ent sampling techniques were used, each
member o f the target population — college students — did not have a known,
non zero probability o f being selected for the study.
Only college students who
happened to be conveniently available could take part in the study.
Therefore,
the sample was not representative o f the entire population o f college students.
This means that the results of the study can not be generalized to all college
students or even to other samples of college students.
The results of the study
and any inferences that can be made are specific to the students who were
involved in the study.
D escription
of
the
Subjects
The following demographic data were collected during the study:
gender;
age; year in college (freshman, sophomore, ju nior, senior, or graduate
student); major area o f study; number o f previous mathem atics and science
courses taken in high school and college; level o f achievem ent in chemistry;
societal, educational and family attitudes that com m unicate habits of anxiety;
student self-esteem with respect to learning chem istry; models o f nature that
the students can not understand; whether the subject was also enrolled in
another institution; and whether the subject had ever repeated a chem istry
course.
These dem ographics were used to determ ine characteristics of college
students who have anxieties about chem istry and chem icals.
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30
A large number of students repeating chemistry courses in the summer was
expected.
These students were considered to be low-achievers.
They were also
predicted to have low self-esteem and high anxiety about learning chem istry
in the classroom and laboratory since they had previously received a D or F in
the required course.
The data involving the number o f previous mathematics
and science courses provided information about the students' experience and
background foundation that they used to help order new knowledge.
Data
C ollection
Descriptive data regarding the students' anxieties, characteristics, and the
factors that may contribute to their anxieties about chem icals and chem istry
were collected through a questionnaire survey and through interviews.
Most
of the data were collected through the questionnaire because it was more
efficient, required less time, and allowed collection o f data from a much larger
sample.
Thus, all the subjects who participated in this study responded to the
items on
the questionnaire.
Interviews were conducted with subjects who had high anxiety about
learning chem istry in the classroom and laboratory.
The purpose of the
interviews was to obtain anecdotal data to support and enhance the
quantitative data.
In addition, some information could be more easily obtained
by the interview than by the questionnaire.
Examples are:
level of
achievem ent, family attitudes, and other sources of anxiety about chem istry,
Level of achievement could have been attained through the questionnaire
by having the students voluntarily give their social security numbers so that
the researcher could have accessed their academic records.
However,
anonymity would have been lost which may have caused some of the students
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31
to be reluctant about revealing their true feelings on the questionnaire.
Thus,
level of achievem ent was deduced by the number of students repeating the
course and by inform ation acquired through
the interview s.
When the questionnaire was administered, the students were asked to
volunteer for an interview and told how they would be contacted by the
researcher to privately arrange an appointment.
ensure full anonym ity and confidentiality.
This process helped to
The subjects to be interviewed
were then obtained from the pool of volunteers.
The "Interviews" section of
this chapter contains a com plete description o f the interview procedure.
C onstruction
of
the
Q uestionnaire
The initial questionnaire was constructed in three parts:
(1)
an
introduction; (2) a chemistry anxiety rating scale; and (3) a demographic
section.
The introduction contained the essentials of informed consent to
voluntarily participate in the study as well as directions for completing the
questionnaire.
Demographic items included:
number of math courses taken in
high school and in college; number of chemistry courses taken in high school
and in college; are you now or have you ever repeated a chemistry course;
year in college; gender; and age.
The Revised Math Anxiety Rating Scale (Plake & Parker, 1982) was used to
construct the chem istry anxiety rating scale for this study.
(See Appendix A.)
The 24-item Revised Math Anxiety Rating Scale has a coefficient alpha
reliability estim ated at .98 and correlates .97 with the full scale, 98-item Math
Anxiety Rating Scale (Richardson & Suinn, 1972).
The Revised Math Anxiety
Rating Scale (RMARS) was chosen because the definitions of "chemistry
anxiety" and chem ophobia for this study are derived from the definitions of
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32
"math anxiety" and "mathophobia".
because
Additionally, this scale was selected
the investigation seeks to determ ine the extent to which chem istry
anxiety exists and the factors for this scale fit the intentions o f this study.
The Revised Math Anxiety Rating Scale has two factors.
Factor 1 consists of
16 items that involve anxiety associated with learning mathematics.
Factor 2
consists o f 8 items that involve anxiety associated with mathematics
evaluation.
Using these two factors (Factor 1 was used twice), a three factor,
40-item Derived Chemistry Anxiety Scale (DCARS) was constructed.
This was
accomplished by replacing the words and ideas for math with words and ideas
for chemistry and for handling chemicals.
For example, the item "buying a
math textbook" was modified to "buying a chemistry textbook".
Care was taken
to maintain the same level o f anxiety as that for the item in the Revised Math
Anxiety
Scale when writing the items for Factor
3 Handling-Chem icals.
Table 1 shows the items for Factors 1, 2 and 3 of the original Derived Chemistry
Anxiety
Rating
Scale before it was pretested.
Table 1
Items for Factors 1. 2. and 3 of the Original Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating
S cale
Factor
1.
L earning-chem istrv
anxiety
1.
W atching a teacher work a chemistry problem on the blackboard.
2.
Buying a chem istry textbook.
3.
Reading and interpreting graphs or charts showing the results
of a
chemistry experiment.
4.
Signing up for a chemistry course.
5.
Listening to another student explain a chemical reaction.
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33
Table I (cont'd).
6.
W alking into a chemistry class.
7.
Looking through the pages in a chemistry text.
8.
Starting a new chapter in a chemistry book.
9.
10.
W alking on campus and thinking about a chemistry course.
Picking up a chemistry textbook to begin working on a homework
assignment.
11.
Reading the word "chemistry".
12.
Working on an abstract chemistry problem, such as
"If x = grams of
hydrogen and y = total grams of water produced, calculate the number of
grams of oxygen that reacted with the hydrogen.
13.
Reading a formula in chemistry.
14.
Listening to a lecture in a chemistry class.
15.
Having to use the tables in a chemistry book.
16.
Being told how to interpret chemical equations.
Factor
1.
2.
C hem istrv-Evaluation
Anxiety
Being given a homework assignment o f many difficult problems which is
due the next chemistry class meeting.
2.
Thinking about an upcoming chem istry test one day before.
3.
Solving a difficult problem on a chemistry test.
4.
Taking an examination (quiz) in a chemistry course.
5.
Getting ready to study for a chemistry test.
6.
Being given a "pop" quiz in a chemistry class.
7.
W aiting to get a chemistry test returned in which you expected to do well.
8.
Taking an examination (final) in a chemistry course.
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34
Table 1 (cont'd).
Factor
3.
H andline-C hem icals
anxietv
1.
W atching a teacher handle the chemicals during a dem onstration.
2.
Mixing chem ical reagents in the laboratory.
3.
Dissolving a chemical in water.
4.
W eighing a chem ical on the balance.
5.
Listening to another student describe an accident in the chemistry lab.
6.
Getting chem icals on your hands during the experiment.
7.
Spilling a chemical.
8.
Breathing the air in the chemistry laboratory.
9.
Walking on campus and thinking about chemistry lab.
10.
Working with acids in the lab.
11.
Reading the word "chemical”.
12.
Working with a chemical whose identity you don't know.
13.
Heating a chem ical in the Bunsen burner flame.
14.
Listening to a lecture on chemicals.
15.
W alking into a chem istry laboratory.
16.
Being told how to handle the chemicals for the laboratory experiment.
The items for the three factors of the Derived Chemistry Anxiety Scale were
numbered consecutively from 0 to 39 and then randomized using a table of
random numbers.
The purpose for randomization was to reduce the possibility
of biasing the subjects' responses.
questionnaire format.
The randomized items were then put into a
Each item was followed by a 5-level anxiety rating scale
consisting of words and numbers where:
1 means "not at all anxious"; 2 means
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35
"a little bit anxious"; 3 means "moderately anxious"; 4 means "quite a bit
anxious"; and 5 means "extremely anxious".
The words were included with the
numbers so that the students would always know the level o f anxiety that is
associated with the number that they are circling as their response.
error may be reduced.
In addition, to remind students that the scale is
measuring anxiety, every fifth item included the statement:
anxious . . . ”
was
Thus,
"This makes me
See Appendix B for the complete, original questionnaire before it
pretested.
Pretest
of
the
Q uestionnaire
A pretest of the questionnaire was conducted to determine its internal
reliability, how much time is required to com plete the questionnaire, and to
ascertain any problems that may be associated with the directions or the
questions.
The questionnaire was pretested on the same types of subjects as
proposed for the research study.
The time required for the subjects to
complete the questionnaire was 10 minutes.
1996 Spring semester.
The pretest occurred during the
Therefore, the subjects were taking the second semester
of their required, introductory
chem istry course rather than
semester as proposed for the research study.
the
first
A detailed description of this pilot
study follows.
Pilot
study
sam ple.
A total o f 114 students participated in the pilot study.
Sixty-six students were
in the class fo r non-science majors (the chemophobic group) and 48 students
were in the class for science majors (the non-chemophobic group).
The non-
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
science m ajor group consisted of 49 females and 17 males.
group consisted o f 28 females and 20 males.
The science major
Thus, 77 females and 37 males
participated in the pilot study.
The chemophobic type o f subjects for the pilot study was selected from a pool
of students who were taking the second semester o f a required, introductory
chemistry course.
involves
This 4-credit course designed for non-science majors
organic
chem istry
the research study.
fashion
hotel,
child
as proposed
for
dietetics; physical education and sport; health and physical
restaurant,
m erchandising;
education;
inorganic chem istry
The organic course is required for students who are
seeking careers in
education;
rather than
and
institutional
interior design
developm ent and
medical technology; or safety
m anagem ent;
and housing;
home
family relations; nursing;
consum er
affairs;
econom ics
respiratory
care;
science.
The topics for the required, organic course taken by the non-science
majors include:
saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons; alcohols, phenols,
ether, and thioalcohols; aldehydes and ketones; carboxylic acids and esters;
amines and amides; optical isomerism; carbohydrates; lipids; and proteins.
The students were attending a one-hour lecture three days a week along
with a tw o-hour lab once a week.
The non-chemophobic subjects for the comparison group of the pilot study
were selected from
required
a pool of undergraduate science majors who were taking a
introductory, 4-credit,
Spring sem ester.
general chemistry
course during the
1996
As for the proposed research study, chem istry majors were
desired as the comparison group, but the available sample was too small for
meaningful results.
Thus, science majors were chosen.
seeking
biology,
careers
in
medical technology,
biochem istry,
These students are
environm ental
natural science, or geology.
health,
geoscience,
In addition, some of
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the
37
students
are
in
veterinary,
or
pre-m edicine,
pre-o p to m etry
pre-physical therapy,
pre-dental,
pre-
program s.
The topics covered in the second semester, introductory, general chemistry
course taken
by the science majors include:
solutions; thermodynamics;
kinetics; chem ical equilibrium ;
acid-base equilibrium ;
equilibria;
reactions;
o x id atio n -red u ctio n
ions and ionic
electro ch em istry ;
co o rdination
chem istry; nuclear chem istry; chem istry of the main group elem ents; and
chem istry
of the transition
metals.
The science majors were attending a one-hour lecture three days a week
along with a three-hour lab once a week.
Procedure.
The questionnaire was administered to both groups of students at the
beginning of
their last class o f the Spring 1996 semester. Both
students were scheduled to take the final exam
read the standardized
introduction
two days later.
containing the essentials
groups of
The researcher
for inform ed
human consent and the directions for completing the questionnaire.
To assure
total anonymity, the researcher and the instructor of the class left the room
while an undergraduate helper passed out the questionnaires and collected
them
after
com pletion.
Analysis
of the
pilot
study
data.
The data obtained from the pilot study of the questionnaire was subjected to
the same data analysis as that planned for the test data.
incomplete, so n is less than 114 for some analyses.
One questionnaire was
Analysis was done by SPSS.
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38
An alpha level of .05 was used for all statistical tests except in the cases where
the alpha level had to be adjusted for multiple tests on the same data.
by-step
A step-
account follow s.
Step 1 involved calculating the mean and standard deviation for the 24
combined items of Factor 1 Leaming-Chemistry Anxiety and Factor 2
Chem istry-Evaluation Anxiety o f the Derived C hem istry Anxiety Rating Scale.
This was done so that the level of chemistry anxiety could be compared to the
level of math anxiety.
attained.
Thus, an idea o f the extent of chemophobia could be
The mean for the combined 24 items of Factors 1 and 2 of the Derived
Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale was 60.61; the standard deviation was 17.86.
Step 2 involved comparing the mean of the combined 24 items of Factors 1
and 2 of the Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale (DCARS) with the mean of
the 24-item Revised Math Anxiety Rating Scale (RMARS).
This was done to
determine if the 24 items for Factor 1 Leaming-Chemistry Anxiety and Factor
2 Chem istry-Evaluation Anxiety have the same mean as that reported for the
Revised Math Anxiety Rating Scale.
If the means are the same, then the level
of chem istry anxiety associated with learning and evaluation is the same as
the level o f math anxiety.
A one-sample t-test was conducted using a 95% Confidence Interval and twotail significance.
A summary of the values is shown in Table 2 on the next
page.
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39
Table 2
Results of the One-Sample t-Test Between the Mean of the Combined Items in
Factors 1 and 2 o f the DCARS and the Mean o f RMARS (Pilot Study)
Variable___________________ Mean________ Std. Dev.
DCARS
60.61
17.86
Test Value (RMARS mean) = 59.84
Mean Difference___________ df
t-value_______ 2-tail sig
.77
.46
113
.64
The one sample t-test showed no significant difference in the means.
Therefore, the level of chemistry anxiety associated with learning and
evaluation is the same as the level of math anxiety.
Thus, for the students who
participated in the pilot study, chemophobia does exist in the college
classroom!
This finding agrees with Abendroth and Friedm an’s (1983) finding
that college students have worries about chem istry.
A graph portraying the
comparison of the means and standard deviations for Factors 1 and 2 of the
Revised Math Anxiety Rating Scale and the Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating
Scale is shown in Figure 2.
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40
RMARS mean
DCARS mean
RMARS s.d.
DCARS s.d.
Anxiety Scale
Figure 2.
Comparison of the means and standard deviations of Factors 1 and 2
of the Revised Math Anxiety Rating Scale and the Derived Chemistry Anxiety
Rating Scale. (Pilot Study)
The level of anxiety for mathematics and chemistry can be determined by
first recalling the anxiety rating scale where 1 means "not at all", 2 means "a
little bit", 3 means "moderately", 4 means "quite a bit”, and 5 means "extremely"
anxious.
The level of math anxiety as measured by RMARS is 59.84/24 = 2.493.
This value lies in between "a little bit" and "moderately".
The level of
chemistry anxiety as measured by Factor 1 and 2 o f DCARS is 60.61/24 = 2.525.
The anxiety levels are statistically the same!
A tremendous amount o f research has been done on math anxiety.
little research has been done on chemistry anxiety.
For example,
Very
an
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41
electronic
keyw ord search yielded the follow ing num ber o f articles,
com m unications, or dissertations on mathem atics and chem istry anxiety as
shown in Table 3 below.
Table 3
Number o f A r tic le
Communications, or D issertations on M athematics and
Chemistry Anxiety that Resulted from an Electronic Keyword Search
Source
(Y ears)
ERIC
M ath
Chem istry
Chem
Anxiety
Anxiety
Anxiety
411
126
3
0
115
96
0
0
135
75
0
0
661
297
3
0
M athem a­
tic s
A n x ie ty
(1982-N ow )
Psych. Lit.
(1974-1995)
D is s e rta tio n
Ab s t r a c t s
(1861-1992)
Total
The results of the keyword search clearly demonstrate the need for more
research
on
chem istry
anxiety.
In Step 3, item analysis was conducted to determine those items of the
chemistry anxiety rating scale that did not distinguish between the subjects.
The frequency distribution percent values for each item were exam ined to
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42
identify the items for which a large number o f people had responded 1 or 5.
The item was eliminated if the frequency distribution percent fo r level I or 5
was greater than 70%.
Items that were elim inated because more than 70% of
the subjects responded 1 or 5 are shown in Table 4.
Table 4
Items Eliminated from the Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and
Frequency D istribution Percent Values
CPilot Study)
F re q u e n c y
Item
Distribution
Percent
Q.7
Q.24
Dissolving a chemical in water.
Weighing a chemical on a
balance.
Q.26
Q.36
Reading the word "chemical”.
Watching a teacher handle the
chem icals
during
a dem onstration.
level I
72.8
level 2
17.5
level 3
9.6
level 1
74.6
level 2
19.3
level 3
5.3
level 4
0.9
level 1
78.9
level 2
14.0
level 3
3.5
level 4
2.6
level 5
0.9
level 1
76.3
level 2
20.2
level 3
2.6
level 4
0.9
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43
In Step 4, factor analysis was conducted on the remaining 36 items of the
chem istry anxiety rating scale to see if three factors w ould emerge.
In factor
analysis, the items fo r each factor are listed in descending order o f loading.
This means that the items are listed in descending order o f the strength of
their relationship to the factor.
The means of the item s, obtained from item
analysis, can be used to develop a hierarchy of the elem ents that contribute to
college students' anxieties about chem icals in the classroom or laboratory and
about chem istry as a subject.
A maximum likelihood factor analysis with a Varimax rotation was
performed.
Five factors emerged, but 2 of the 5 factors
because same items loaded on other factors.
constrained to come up with three factors.
extracted after 6 iterations.
were not useful
Therefore, the computer was
The resulting three factors were
The three factors accounted for approximately
53% of the
total variance in the scores o f the
36 items.
for each o f
the three factors is shown in Table
The percent of variance
5.
Table 5
The Percent Variance for Factors 1. 2. and 3 of the Derived Chemistry Anxiety
Rating Scale (Pilot Study)
Factor
1
2
P e rc e n t
of
L ea m in g -C h e m istry
32.3
C hem istry-E valuation
12.4
3 Handling Chem icals
V a ria n c e
8.1
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44
Factor 1 was identified by 17 of the items on the Derived Chemistry Anxiety
Rating Scale.
The items with factor loadings for Factor 1 are shown in Table 6.
These items all have to do with learning chem istry.
called
L eam ing-C hem istry
Therefore, Factor 1 is
Anxiety.
Table 6
Items and Factor Loadings for Factor 1 Leam ing-Chem istry Anxiety of the
Derived Chem istry Anxiety Rating Scale (Pilot Study)
D e riv e d
C h e m is try
A nxiety
R a tin g
S cale
Item
Factor
Loading
0.40
Q.9
Listening to a lecture in a chemistry class.
W atching a teacher work a chemistry problem on the
.82
.73
blackboard.
Q.23
Looking through the pages in a chemistry book.
.73
Q.31
W alking on campus and thinking about a chemistry
.72
013
Walking into a chemistry class.
.71
0.20
Listening to a lecture on chemicals.
.70
0.28
Reading the word "chemistry".
.65
Q.17
Signing up for a chemistry course.
.61
0.15
Being told how to interpret chemical equations.
.61
0.39
Listening to another student explain a chem ical reaction.
.61
0.22
Having to use the tables in the back of a chemistry book.
.59
0.5
Reading a formula in chemistry.
.58
course.
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45
Table 6 (cont'd).
Q.8
Picking up a chemistry textbook to begin working on a
hom ew ork
.51
assig n m en t.
0.3
Starting a new chapter in a chemistry book.
.51
Q.34
W alking on campus and thinking about chemistry lab.
.48
0.37
Buying a chemistry textbook.
.42
Q-2
Reading and interpreting graphs or charts that show the
.38
results
o f a chem istry experiment.
Factor analysis indicates that the five elements that relate most to learning
chemistry as a subject are:
listening to lectures in chemistry class; watching
the teacher work chem istry problems on the blackboard; looking through the
chem istry book; thinking about the chemistry course; and w alking into the
chem istry
class.
The five elements (and means) that contribute most to the students'
anxieties about learning chemistry as a subject are:
being told how to
interpret chem ical equations (2.32); signing up for a chem istry course (2.28);
reading a form ula in chemistry (2.24); reading and interpreting graphs or
charts showing the results of a chemistry experiment (2.13); and starting a
new chapter in a chemistry book (2.12).
See Appendix C for the Factor 1 items
ranked in descending order according to mean anxiety levels.
Factor 2 was identified by nine of the items on the Derived Chemistry
Anxiety Rating Scale.
The items with factor loadings for Factor 2 are shown in
Table 7 on the next page.
chemistry.
These items all have to do with evaluation of
Therefore, Factor 2 is called Chem istry-Evaluation Anxiety.
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46
Table 7
Items and Factor Loadings for Factor 2 Chemistry-Evaluation Anxiety o f the
Derived Chemistry A nxiety Rating Scale (Pilot Study)
Derived
Chemistry
Anxiety
Rating
Scale
Item
Factor
L oading
0-33
Taking an exam ination (final) in a chemistry course.
.88
Q.38
Thinking about an upcoming chemistry test one day
.87
0 .1 4
Taking an exam ination (quiz) in a chemistry course.
.86
0-12
Being given a "pop" quiz in a chemistry class.
.80
0 .1 6
Getting ready to study for a chemistry test.
.76
Q.18
Being given a homework assignment of many difficult
.73
before.
problems which is due the next chemistry class meeting.
0 .2 5
Solving a difficult problem on a chemistry test.
.64
Q.4
Working on an abstract chemistry problem, such as "If x =
.49
grams of hydrogen and y = grams of water produced, calculate
the number of grams of oxygen that reacted with the
hydrogen."
Q.6
Waiting to get a chemistry test returned in which you
.31
expected to do well.
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47
Factor analysis indicates that the five elements that relate most to chemistry
evaluation are:
taking the final exam in the chemistry course; thinking about
an upcom ing chemistry test one day before the test; taking a chemistry quiz;
being given a "pop" quiz in chemistry class; and getting ready to study for a
chem istry
test.
The five items (and mean anxiety levels) that contribute most to students'
anxieties about chem istry evaluation are:
taking the final in a chemistry
course (4.22); waiting to get a chemistry test returned in which the student
expected to do well (3.97); being given a "pop" quiz in a chemistry class (3.77);
taking a quiz in a chem istry course (3.72); and thinking about an upcoming
chemistry test one day before the test (3.65).
anxiety.
These items appear to reflect test
See Appendix D for a complete list of the Factor 2 items ranked in
descending order o f mean anxiety levels.
Factor 3 was identified by 10 of the items on the Derived Chemistry Anxiety
Rating Scale.
The items with factor loadings for Factor 3 are shown in Table 8
on the next page.
Since these items all have to do with handling chemicals.
Factor 3 is called Handling-Chem icals Anxiety.
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48
Table 8
Items and Factor Loadings for Factor 3 Handling-Chemicals Anxiety of the
Derived Chem istry Anxiety Rating Scale (Pilot Study)
Derived
Chemistry
Anxiety
Rating
Scale
Item
Factor
L oading
Q.30
Mixing chemical reagents in the laboratory.
.86
Q.29
W orking with a chemical whose identity you don’t know.
.80
Q.19
Working with acids in the lab.
.77
0.32
Heating a chemical in the Bunsen burner flame.
.73
0.21
Getting chemicals on your hands during the experiment.
.72
Q.10
Listening to another student describe an accident in the
.70
chem istry
lab.
Q.l
Spilling a chemical.
.70
Q. l l
Being told how to handle the chemicals for the laboratory
.65
experiment.
Q. 27
Breathing the air in the chemistry laboratory.
.52
Q.35
W alking into a chemistry laboratory.
.42
Factor analysis indicates that the five elements that relate most to handling
chemicals in the classroom and laboratory are:
mixing chem ical reagents in
the lab; working with unknown chemicals; working with acids in the lab;
heating chem icals in the Bunsen burner flame; and getting chem icals on
their hands
during
an experim ent.
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The five items (and mean anxiety levels) that contribute most to students'
anxieties about handling chemicals are:
getting chem icals on your hands
during an experiment (2.85); spilling a chemical (2.40); working w ith acids in
the lab (2.31); listening to another student describe an accident in the
chemistry lab (2.20); and working with a chemical whose identity you don't
know (2.18).
See Appendix E for a complete list of the Factor 3 items ranked in
descending order o f mean anxiety level.
In Step 5, reliability analysis was conducted to determine the reliability of
the global Derived Chem istry Anxiety Rating Scale (the 36-item scale) and the
reliability o f each o f the 3 factors.
A Cronbach's alpha was calculated for the
total scale and for each subscale using the following equation:
r scale
=
(K)(SD2) - X(K - X)
------------------------------(SD2)(K -1)
where
K = the number of items on the scale
SD = the standard deviation o f the scores
X = the mean of the scores
The closer Cronbach's alpha is to 1, the better the reliability of the scale.
Table 9 on the next page shows the Cronbach's alpha values for the global
Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and for each of the three factors.
high C ronbach’s alpha values indicate that the 36-item Derived Chem istry
Anxiety Scale and each of the three factor subscales are highly reliable.
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The
50
Table 9
Cronbach's A lpha Reliability Values O btained on the Derived Chemistry
Anxiety Rating Scale and on the Factor Subscales (Pilot Study)
R eliability
Scale
(Cr onb ac h' s
Derived Chem istry
Anxiety Rating
alpha)
.94
Scale (36 items)
Factor
1 Leam ing-C hem istry
Anxiety
.93
(17 items)
Factor
2
C hem istry-Evaluation
.92
A nxiety (9 items)
Factor 3 Handling-C hem icals Anxiety
.91
(10 items)
In Step 6 of the data analysis, the means and standard deviations of the
anxiety levels for the total scale and for each of the three factors were
computed.
This was done so that the means could be compared.
Table 10 shows
the means and standard deviations of the anxiety levels associated with the
total scale and with each of the three factors.
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51
Table 10
Anxiety Level Means and Standard Deviations for the Derived Chemistry
Anxiety Rating Scale and for Each o f the Three Factors (Pilot Study)
Factor
Factor
M ean
1 Leam ing-
C hem istry
Dev.
1.87
0.71
2.11
0.73
3.57
1.0
2.36
0.62
A nxiety
Factor 3 HandlingChem icals
Std.
Anxiety
Factor 2 ChemistryE valuation
Anxiety
Total Anxiety
In Step 7 of the data analysis, the means of the three factors were compared
to determ ine if any significant differences exist among the anxiety levels.
Three t-tests for paired samples were performed with two-tail significance at
p < .016 after p < .05 was adjusted for multiple tests.
The results shown in Table
11 reveal that the average anxiety levels for each of the three factors are all
significantly different from each other.
Thus, the paired samples t-tests show
that Factor 3 Handling-Chemicals Anxiety is unique to chemistry.
It is
separate from Factor 1 Leam ing-C hem istry anxiety which may be a general
science anxiety.
Factor 3 is also separate from Factor 2 Chemistry-Evaluation
Anxiety which may be test anxiety.
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52
Table 11
Results o f Paired Samples t-tests to Compare the Anxiety Level Means o f the
Three Factors (Pilot Study!
Corr
Factors
M eans
Learning
vs
Standard
Degrees
D eviation
Freedom
1.87
.71
.64*
Evaluation
3.57
1.0
Learning
1.87
.71
.35*
vs
Handling
2.11
.73
Evaluation
3.56
1.0
.24*
vs
2.11
Handling
t-V alue
113
-23.45*
112a
-3.16*
112a
14.21*
.73
* significant at p < .016
a Degrees o f freedom are less than 113 because an item was not answered by a
student.
The average anxiety levels for each of the three factors are portrayed in
Figure 3.
w orried
This figure clearly shows that the students are significantly more
about evaluation
chem istry.
handling
than
about handling chemicals or learning
Furtherm ore, the students are significantly more worried about
chem icals
than
about
learning
chem istry.
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53
0)
►
u
-J
Evaluation
>>
4>
Learning
Handling
'5
c
<
Factor
Figure 3.
The average anxiety levels for the three factors of the Derived
Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale.
(Pilot Study)
Step 8 of the data analysis involved a comparison of the demographic
variables to determ ine if any
interactions exist.
significant differences
or significant
Two-Way ANOVA's with significance at p < .05 were
performed for the total Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and for each of the
three factors by the following:
• Major, Gender, and M ajor/Gender
• Chem istry
Experience, Gender, and C hem istry
Experience/G ender
• Math Experience, Gender, and Math Experience/G ender
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54
The results of the two-way ANOVA's performed for the total Derived
Chemistry A nxiety Rating Scale and for each o f the three factors by major,
gender, and
m ajor/gender showed no
significant difference in the chem istry
anxiety levels o f science majors and non-science m ajors.
Furtherm ore, there
was no significant interaction between the variables o f m ajor and gender.
However, there was a significant difference between females and males.
Females had more chemistry anxiety than males in every case.
This finding
agrees with those for math and science anxiety where females have more
anxiety than males (Wynstra & Cummings, 1990), but disagrees with Davis' 1987
study in which there was no significant difference in chem istry anxiety
between males and females at the end of the semester.
Tables 12, 13, 14 and 15
show the results of the two-way ANOVA's for the total Chemistry Anxiety
Rating Scale and for each of the three factors by major, gender, and
major/gender.
Table 12
Two-Way ANOVA Results for the Total Chemistry Anxiety Scale by Major.
Gender, and M ajor/Gender (Pilot Study)
Factor
Sum
of
df
Squares
M ean
F
v alu e
Square
M ajor
.17
1
.17
.48
Gender
4.12
1
4.12
11.53*
M ajor/
.00
1
.00
.00
Gender
* Significant at p
.001
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55
Table 13
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Factor 1 Leaming-Chemistrv Anxiety by Major.
Gender, and Major/Gender (Pilot Study)
Factor
Sum
of
df
Squares
M ean
F
value
Square
Major
.03
1
.03
.06
Gender
2.31
1
2.31
4.70*
Maj o r/
.03
1
.03
.06
Gender
* Significant at p < .05
Table 14
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Factor 2 Chemistrv-Evaluation Anxiety by Major.
Gender, and M ajor/G ender (Pilot Study)
Factor
Sum
of
df
Squares
M ean
F
value
Square
Major
3.57
1
3.57
3.98
Gender
9.72
1
9.72
10.84*
M ajor/
1.91
1
1.91
2.13
Gender
* Significant at p < .05
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56
Table 15
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Factor 3 Handling-Chemicals Anxiety bv Major.
Gender, and Major/Gender (Pilot Study)
Factor
Sum
of
df
Squares
Mean
F
v alu e
Square
M ajor
.24
1
.24
.48
Gender
3.68
1
3.68
7.41*
Maj o r/
1.08
1
1.08
2.17
Gender
* Significant at p < .05
Figure 4 on the next page depicts the significant gender differences for the
total chemistry anxiety rating scale and for each of the three factors when
two-way ANOVA’s were performed by major, gender, and major/gender.
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57
■
Eval/Fem.
■
Eval/ Male
■
Total/Female
□
Total/Male
>)
u
□
Handle/Female
'3
■
Handle/Male
u
Leam/Female
■
Leam/Male
>
e
<
Variable
Figure 4.
Significant gender differences in the anxiety levels of the total
Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and the three subscales.
(Pilot Study)
The next set of two-way Anova's involved chemistry experience.
The range
was from 1 to 8 for the combined number of previous high school and college
chemistry courses taken.
high chemistry experience.
Chemistry experience was dichotom ized into low and
Low chem istry experience was defined as fewer
than or equal to three courses taken previously in high school and college.
High chem istry experience was defined as greater than three courses taken
previously in high school and college.
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58
The results showed no significant differences in the levels o f anxiety
overall or for learning, evaluation, o r handling chemicals betw een students
having
low chem istry experience
experience.
and
students
having high
chem istry
This finding disagrees with Anderson and Clawson's (1992)
finding that lack o f background know ledge increases science anxiety.
Females had significantly higher levels of anxiety than males in every case.
There was no
significant interaction
between chemistry experience
gender for total chem istry anxiety, learning, or evaluation anxiety.
and
However,
there was a significant interaction fo r handling-chemicals anxiety.
For
males, the anxiety associated with handling chemicals decreased as chemistry
experience increased.
For females, the anxiety associated with handling
chemicals increased as chem istry experience increased.
The results of the
two-way ANOVA's for the total Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and for each of
the three subscales by chem istry
experience, gender, and chem istry
experience/gender are shown below in Tables 16, 17, 18 and 19.
Table 16
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Total Chemistry Anxiety by Chemistry Experience.
Gender, and Chem istry Experience/G ender (Pilot Studvt
Factor
Sum
of
df
Mean
F
value
Square
Squares
.44
1
.44
1.29
Gender
4.52
1
4.52
13.13*
Chem
.86
1
.86
2.51
Chem istry
Experience
exp/Gender
* Significant at p < .001
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59
Table 17
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Leaming-Chemistrv Anxiety by Chemistry
Experience. Gender, and Chemistry Experience/Gender (Pilot Study)
Sum
Factor
of
df
M ean
F
value
Square
Squares
.54
1
.54
1.13
Gender
2.65
1
2.65
5.52*
Chem
.15
1
.15
.30
Chem istry
Experience
exp/Gender
* Significant at p < .05
Table 18
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Chemistry-Evaluation Anxiety by Chemistry
Experience.
Gender,
Factor
and C hem istry Experience/G ender (Pilot
Sum
of
df
Mean
Study)
F
value
Square
Squares
1.08
1
1.08
1.19
Gender
9.03
1
9.03
9.95*
Chem
1.64
1
1.64
1.81
Chem istry
Experience
exp/Gender
* Significant at p < .05
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60
Table 19
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Handling-Chemicals Anxiety by Chemistry
Experience. Gender, and Chemistry Experience/Gender (Pilot Study)
Factor
Sum
of
df
Mean
F
v alu e
Square
Squares
.05
1
.05
.10
Gender
4.77
1
4.77
9.98*
Chem
2.38
1
2.38
4.98*
Chem istry
Experience
exp/Gender
* Significant at p
.05
Figure 5 on the next page shows the interaction between chemistry
experience
and
gender
fo r
handling-chem icals
anxiety.
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61
2>
>
-J
Females
♦
>>
"3
s
Males
1 .8 -
<
1.6-
1>
high
low
Chemistry Experience
Figure 5.
gender
The significant interaction between chemistry experience and
for handling-chem icals
anxiety.
(Pilot Study)
The next set of two-way ANOVA's involved previous math experience.
range was
The
from 2 to 11 math courses taken in high school and college.
experience was dichotomized into low and high experience.
Math
Low math
experience was defined as fewer than or equal to five math courses taken in
high school and college.
five
High math experience was defined as greater than
math courses taken in high school and college.
The two-way ANOVA results for the total Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and
for each o f the three factor scales by math experience, gender, and math
experience/gender showed
no
significant differences
in the anxiety
levels
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62
betw een students having low math experience and students having high math
experience.
There was a significant difference in the anxiety levels between
males and females in every case.
betw een
math
experience
learning
chem istry,
There were no significant interactions
and gender concerning
chem istry
evaluation,
or
overall chem istry
handling-chem icals
anxiety,
anxiety.
The results of the two-way ANOVA's for the total Derived Chemistry Anxiety
Rating Scale and for each of the three subscales by math experience, gender,
and math experience/gender are shown below in Tables 20, 21, 22 and 23.
Table 20
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Total Chemistry Anxiety bv Math Experience.
Gender, and M ath Experience/Gender /P ilot Studvf
Factor
Sum
of
df
Sq uares
M ean
F
value
Square
.36
1
.36
1.04
Gender
3.98
1
3.98
11.42*
M ath
.52
1
.52
1.48
M ath
Experience
exp/G ender
* Significant at p < .001
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63
Table 21
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Learning-Chemistrv Anxiety by Math Experience.
Gender, and Math Experience/Gender (Pilot Study)
Factor
Sum
of
df
M ean
F
v alu e
Square
Squares
.81
1
.81
1.72
Gender
2.06
1
2.06
4.3 6 *
M ath
.60
1
.60
1.26
M ath
Experience
exp/G ender
* Significant at p < .05
Table 22
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Chem istry-Evaluation Anxiety bv Math
Experience. Gender,
Factor
and Math Experience/G ender (Pilot Study)
Sum
of
df
M ean
F
value
Square
Squares
.78
1
.78
.85
Gender
7.98
1
7.98
8.67*
M ath
.54
1
.54
.58
M ath
Experience
exp/Gender
* Significant at p < .01
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Table 23
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Handling-Chemicals Anxiety bv Math Experience
Gender, and Math Experience/G ender (Pilot Study)
Sum of
Factor
df
M ean
Squares
F
value
Square
.02
1
.02
.05
Gender
4.83
1
4.83
9.73*
M ath
.38
I
.38
.77
M ath
E xperience
exp/G end er
* Significant at p < .01
Summary
of
the
results
of the
pretest
data
analysis.
Chemistry anxiety (chemophobia) does exist in the college classroom and
laboratory!
The phenomenon is real for the students who participated in the
pilot study.
The level of chemistry anxiety is statistically the same as the level
of math anxiety.
This level lies between "a little bit”
and "moderately"
a n x io u s.
Fifty-three percent of the variance in the scores o f the 36-item Derived
Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale can be explained by the three factors.
order
is:
(12.4% );
leam ing-chem istry
and
anxiety
handling-chem icals
(32.3% );
chem istry-evaluation
The
anxiety
anxiety (8.1%).
Reliability is very high for the Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and
for each of the three subscales.
Cronbach's alpha values are:
.94 for the
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Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale; .93 for Factor 1 Leaming-Chemistry
Anxiety; .92 for Factor 2 Chemistry-Evaluation Anxiety; and .91 for Factor 3
H andling-C hem icals
A nxiety.
The anxiety levels for
each of the three factors are all significantly
different from each other.
about handling chem icals
than
about learning
Students are more worried about evaluation than
and are more worried about handling chemicals
chem istry.
students worry mostly about:
C oncerning chem istry
evaluation, the
(a) taking the final exam, (b) waiting to get a
chemistry test returned in
which they expected to
"pop" chemistry quiz, (d)
taking a chemistry quiz, and (e) thinking about
upcoming chem istry test.
When handling chemicals, the students worry a lot
about:
do well, (c) being given a
an
(a) getting chemicals on their hands, (b) spilling a chemical,
(c) working with acids, (d)
listening toanother student describe an accident
the lab, and (e) working with unknowns.
students worry mostly about:
(a)
When
learning chem istry, the
being told how to interpret chemical
equations, (b) signing up for a chemistry course, (c) reading a formula in
chem istry, (d) reading and
interpreting graphs or charts showing the results
of a chemistry experiment, and (e) starting a new chapter in the chemistry
book.
The anxiety associated with handling chemicals is unique.
It is separate
from the anxiety associated with evaluation and from the anxiety associated
with
learning
chem istry.
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in
Females are more anxious than males overall and in learning, evaluation,
and handling chem icals.
The average anxiety levels for fem ales and males are
shown in Table 24.
Table 24
The Average Anxiety Levels o f Females and Males Obtained on the Total Derived
Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and on the Factor Subscales (Pilot Studvl
Factor
Total
Chemistry
Fem ales
M ales
2.49
2.08
1.97
1.66
3.76
3.16
2.25
1.83
A n xiety
L eam in g-C h em istry
an xiety
C hem istryE valua ti on
anxiety
H and ling-C hem icals
an xiety
Science majors and non-science majors have the same statistical average
levels o f chem istry anxiety overall and in learning, evaluation, and handling
chemicals.
majors.
So the science majors are as chemophobic as the non-science
This result may be explained by the large number o f pre-professional
students in the science major class.
To be competitive, these students must
dem onstrate, through their grade, that they have a high understanding of
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chemistry.
Hence, their chem istry grade can affect their career choice.
The
average anxiety levels for science majors and non-science majors are shown
in Table 25.
Table 25
The Average Anxiety Levels o f Science Majors and Non-Science Majors
Obtained on the Total Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and on the
Factor Subscales (Pilot Study)
F a c to r
T o ta l
S c ie n c e
C h e m is tr y
M a jo r
N o n -S c ie n c e
2.38
2.35
1.86
1.88
3.73
3.45
2.03
2.18
M a jo r
A nxiety
Learning-C hem istry
anxiety
C hem istryE v a lu a tio n
a n x ie ty
H andling-C hem icals
anxiety
The average anxiety levels of students having low math experience are
statistically the same as the average anxiety levels o f students having high
math experience in every case.
In addition, no significant interactions exist
between math experience and gender.
These results suggest that a good
background in math does not help to reduce chem istry anxiety. A strategy
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other than providing the students with a strong math background is necessary
to reduce chem istry anxiety.
The average anxiety levels of students having
low and high math experience are shown in Table 26.
Table 26
The Average A nxiety Levels of Low Math Experienced Students and High Math
Experienced Students Obtained on the Total Derived Chemistry A nxiety Rating
Scale and on the Factor Subscales (Pilot Study)
Low
Factor
Math
Experience
High
Math
E xperience
Total
Chemistry
2.46
2.23
1.98
1.73
3.71
3.38
2.15
2.06
A nxiety
L earning-C hem istry
anxiety
C hem istryEv aluation
anxiety
H andling-C hem icals
anxiety
The average anxiety levels of students having low chemistry experience are
statistically the sam e as the average anxiety levels of students having high
chemistry experience in every case.
These results suggest that a good
background in chem istry does not help to reduce the anxiety associated with
learning chem istry,
evaluation, or handling chemicals.
It appears that
something else besides a strong background in chemistry is needed to reduce
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chem istry anxiety.
The average anxiety levels of students having low and
high chemistry experience are as follow in Table 27:
Table 27
The Average A nxiety Levels of Low Chemistry Experienced Students and High
Chem istry Experienced Students Obtained on the Total Derived Chem istry
Anxiety Rating Scale and on the Factor Subscales (Pilot Study)
Factor
T o ta l
L ow
C h e m is try
H ig h
C h e m is tr y
Experience
Experience
2.43
2.23
1.94
1.74
3.67
3.37
2.15
2.04
C h e m is tr y
A nxiety
Learning-C hem istry
anxiety
Chem istryE v a lu a tio n
a n x i e ty
H andling-Chem icals
anxiety
However, a significant interaction exists between chemistry experience and
gender for Factor 3 Handling-Chemicals Anxiety.
associated with
increases.
handling
chem icals
For males, the anxiety
decreases as chem istry experience
For fem ales, the anxiety associated with handling chem icals
increases as chem istry experience increases.
Perhaps females becom e more
anxious as they become more knowledgeable about the hazards associated with
handling the chem icals.
They may be concerned about the effects the
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chemicals have on their health.
If this is true, then using household
chemicals that would ordinarily be used everyday might help to reduce the
anxiety that females have about handling chemicals.
The interaction between
chem istry experience and gender needs to be investigated more thoroughly.
Answers
pilot
study
to
the
major
research
questions
according
to
the
data.
Do college students have anxieties about chemicals in the classroom or
laboratory and anxieties about chemistry as a subject?
Yes, college students have anxieties about chemicals in the classroom or
laboratory and anxieties about chemistry as a subject.
Chemistry anxiety
(chemophobia) exists in the college classroom and laboratory.
The
phenomenon of chem ophobia is real in the college classroom and laboratory.
What is the extent o f college students' anxieties about chemicals in the
classroom or laboratory and about chemistry as a subject?
The level of anxiety that college students have about learning chemistry
and chemistry evaluation is the same as the level of anxiety that college
students
have about
learning
mathematics
and m athem atics evaluation.
Concerning the three factors of chem istry anxiety, college students
most about chem istry evaluation, next about handling chemicals, and
about
learning
worry
least
chem istry.
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What are the characteristics o f college students who have anxieties about
chemicals in the classroom or laboratory and about chemistry as a subject?
Females have more anxieties than males about chemicals in the classroom
or laboratory and about chemistry as a subject.
may be non-science majors or science majors.
experience in mathematics.
chemistry.
They may have high or low
may have high or low experience in
Females with high experience in chemistry have high anxiety
about handling chem icals.
anxiety
They
Chemophobic college students
about
handling
Males with high experience in chem istry have
low
chem icals.
What factors may contribute to the anxieties that college students
have about
chemicals in the classroom or laboratory and about chemistry as a subject?
The five factors that contribute most to college students' anxieties about
chemistry evaluation are:
taking the final exam; waiting to get a chemistry
test returned; being given a "pop" quiz; taking a chemistry quiz; and thinking
about an upcoming chemistry test. The five factors
that contribute most to
college students' anxieties about handling chemicals are:
their hands during the experiment; spilling a chemical;
getting chem icals on
working with acids;
listening to descriptions of accidents in the chemistry lab; and working with
unknowns.
The five factors that
about learning chem istry
for the chem istry course;
are;
contribute most to college students' anxieties
interpreting chemical equations;
signing
up
reading chem ical formulas; reading and
interpreting graphs or charts showing the results o f a chem istry
experim ent;
and starting a new chapter in the chemistry book.
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Is there a correlation between college students' anxieties about chemicals in
the classroom or laboratory and college students' anxieties about chemistry as
a subject?
Yes, there is a significant correlation between college students' anxieties
about chemicals in the classroom or laboratory and college students' anxieties
about chemistry as a subject.
The correlation is .35 with 2-tail significance at
p < .05
Validation
of
the
Pretested
Questionnaire
The questionnaire was analyzed for face validity by a panel o f judges
following the analysis o f the data obtained in the pilot study.
experts
The judges were
who have extensive experience developing and analyzing
questionnaires for research studies.
Face validity refers to the degree to
which a test appears to measure what it purports to measure.
The questionnaire was deemed to be valid following the revisions indicated
by the analysis of the pilot study data and by the panel of judges.
See
Appendix F for the revised, validated questionnaire.
Administration
of
the
Validated
Questionnaire
The pretested, revised, validated questionnaire was administered by the
researcher to the 48 subjects in the specified study group and to the 16 subjects
in the specified comparison group during the first day o f class in Summer
Session I, 1996.
adm inistration.
Permission was obtained from the lecture instructors before
A standardized set o f directions and the essentials for
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informed consent were read to the students before they w ere given the
questionnaire.
The students were instructed that if they w ere w illing to be
interviewed, they should write their phone num ber and the best tim e for the
researcher to contact them on the lines provided for this inform ation on the
last page of the questionnaire.
names on the questionnaire.
The subjects were advised n o t to write their
This process helped to ensure anonymity and full
confidentiality.
In terview s
Eight interviews were conducted to obtain data to support and enhance the
questionnaire data.
The students who were interviewed w ere obtained from a
pool of 18 students (15 non-science majors and 3 science majors) who admitted
fearing chem icals and chemistry and who volunteered to be interviewed.
non-science majors consisted of 10 females and 5 males.
consisted of 2 females and 1 male.
volunteers.
The
The science majors
Attempts were made to interview all 18
However, only 8 volunteers (5 female non-science majors, 2 male
non-science m ajors, and
1 female science major) kept th eir interview
appointments.
Construction
of
the
interview
guide.
Before the interviews, an interview guide was constructed so that all
interviews could be conducted in the same manner.
A standardized procedure
for the interview allows the collected data from each subject to be compared.
The guide contained the questions to be asked, the order o f the questions, and
additional probing questions.
A semi-structured format was used for the guide.
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Structured
questions
were
follow ed by clarifying
unstructured,
open-ended
questions.
The purpose o f the unstructured questions was to facilitate
explanation and understanding o f the responses to the structured questions.
Responses to the questions were tape recorded (with permission o f the subject)
to
maintain
objectivity.
The guide was constructed so that it was as brief as possible.
were worded as clearly as possible.
references were given.
The questions
Terms were defined and points of
Leading questions and questions based on assumptions
of facts not in evidence were avoided.
(See Appendix G for the Interview
G uide.)
At the beginning of the interview, some time was spent establishing
rapport with the person to be interviewed.
The purpose of the study was
explained and the interviewee was assured that his or her responses would be
kept in strict confidentiality.
obtained.
Permission to tape record the interview was
(See Appendix H for the Interview Consent Form).
During the
interview, unclear questions were explained more fully, but care was taken
not to lead
the interviewee to an answer.
Practicing
and
pretesting
the
interview
procedure.
Before any subjects were interviewed, the interview procedure was
practiced and pretested with a colleague who played the role of the
interviewee. This step allowed the researcher to develop
skill
in conducting
the interview and to learn how to handle worse case scenarios in a safe
environment.
Additionally, this step allowed honest comments
concerning the interview procedure and questions.
to be obtained
The comments indicated
no problems with the interview guide.
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Derived
Chemistry
Anxiety
Data
Analysis
Scale
Data
Haladyna and Shaughnessy (1982) recommended the following for a
descriptive study.
and reported.
Sim ple product moment correlations should be computed
O ther procedures such as canonical correlation, multiple
regression, path analysis, or other m ultivariate procedures should be
attempted to associate classes or groups o f variables with the criterion or
criteria.
W ith this advice in mind, the following analyses were conducted on
the data obtained from the Derived Chemistry Anxiety Scale.
data were analyzed using SPSS.
The numerical
Significance was determined at p < .05 for all
tests unless probability had to be adjusted for multiple tests.
Descriptive
data.
Descriptive data were obtained for the 24 combined items of Factor 1
Leam ing-Chem istry A nxiety and Factor 2 Chem istry-Evaluation
Anxiety. The
mean and standard deviation were calculated.
mean of Factor
This allowed the
1 and 2 of the Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale to be compared with the
mean of the Revised Math Anxiety Rating Scale.
Comparison of the means of DCARS and RMARS.
The mean of Factor 1 and 2 of the Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale
was compared with the mean of Factor 1 and 2 of the Revised Math Anxiety
Rating Scale in a one-sample t-test with a 95% confidence interval and two-tail
75
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significance.
This was done to determine if the means were the same.
The
comparison provided an idea o f the existence and extent o f chemistry anxiety
(chem ophobia)
Item
in
the college classroom.
analysis.
The 36 items
to determine items
onthe Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale
that
did not distinguish between the subjects.
were analyzed
The
frequency distribution percent values for each item were examined using the
rule that a value greater than 70% for anxiety level 1 or 5 means that the item
should probably be elim inated from the questionnaire next time it is given.
This procedure helped to further fine tune the chem istry anxiety rating scale.
Item analysis also revealed the elements that contribute to the students'
anxiety about chemistry as a subject and about chemicals in the classroom or
laboratory.
The means and standard deviations o f the items were examined to
find items with high means.
Factor
High means correspond to high anxiety.
analysis.
A maximum likelihood factor analysis with a Varimax rotation was
performed to see if the three factors (Leam ing-C hem istry
Anxiety, Chem istry-
Evaluation A nxiety, and Handling-Chemicals Anxiety) would emerge as before
with the pretest data.
that was explained
Factor analysis also
showed the percent o f the variance
by the three factors.
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Subscales computed as an average of items.
Based on the results of factor analysis, the subscales were computed as an
average o f items.
Standard deviations were also computed.
This step allowed
reliability as well as com parisons to be determined.
R e li a b il it y
analysis.
Cronbach's alpha values were computed for the total Derived Chemistry
Anxiety Rating Scale and for each of the three factors.
This procedure was
done to determine the reliability of the total scale and o f each subscale.
Intercorrelations
among
the
three
factors.
Intercorrelations among the three factors were determ ined by computing
simple product moment correlations — Pearson r values.
determined at the p = .05 level.
relationship
Significance was
This step was conducted to determine the
between college students' anxieties about chem icals in the
classroom or laboratory and anxieties about chemistry as a subject.
Compare
the
means
of the
three
factors.
The mean anxiety levels of the three factors were compared by performing
three t-tests for paired samples with two-tail significance at p < .016.
This
procedure was done to determ ine if any significant differences exist among
the means of the anxiety levels of the three factors.
The significant
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differences allowed a hierarchy of the factors to be determined.
This provided
insight into what factor contributes most to the students' anxieties about
chem istry
and
chem icals.
Comparison
of
means
using
two-wav
ANOVA's.
A series of two-way ANOVA’s were conducted in which independent
variables were com pared to see if there was a significant difference or
interaction between two variables.
The two-way ANOVA's were performed at
p <. .05 for the total chemistry anxiety rating scale and for each o f the three
factors by the following:
• major,
gender,
•
chem istry
•
math
and m ajor/gender
experience,
experience,
gender,
gender,
and
and
math
chem istry
experience/gender
experience/gender
Comparison of the means using two-way ANOVA's showed characteristics of
students who have anxieties about chemistry as a subject and about chemicals
in the classroom or laboratory.
Interview
Data
The data obtained from the interviews were analyzed for content first.
This
procedure was done to see if the data made sense and pertained to the
questions.
subjects.
The data were also analyzed to discover commonalties across the
An attempt was made to categorize repeated ideas.
These data are
reported as anecdotal evidence in support of the quantitative results.
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Summary
The research method was designed to assess the status of college students
concerning their anxieties about chem icals in the classroom or laboratory and
about chemistry as a subject.
The research was also designed to determine
student characteristics as well as the factors that may contribute to anxieties
about chemicals and about chem istry.
In addition, the method was designed to
determ ine if, and to what degree, a relationship exists between students'
anxieties about chem icals in the classroom or laboratory and anxieties about
chemistry as a subject.
To achieve these objectives, a questionnaire survey
and interviews were conducted.
The quantitative data obtained from the
questionnaire survey were analyzed using the statistical program SPSS on the
computer.
The qualitative data obtained from the interviews were categorized
according to common themes and used anecdotally to support and embellish
the quantitative findings.
The research questions were answered by the
results of the data analysis.
recom m endations
were
Based upon these results, conclusions and
made.
79
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CH APTER IV:
RESULTS
Sixty-four subjects participated in the test study.
The chemophobic group
consisted of 48 non-science majors (30 females; 18 males) and the comparison
group consisted of 16 science majors (8 females; 8 males).
Q u e s tio n n a ir e
D a ta
Although all subjects responded to the items on the questionnaire, not all
items were answered in some cases.
Thus, n was less than 64 in some of the
SPSS analyses.
Comparison
Between
Respect
Learning
to
Chemistry
and
Anxiety
and
Math
Anxiety
With
Evaluation
To attain an idea of the extent of chemophobia, the mean and standard
deviation for the 24 combined items of Factor 1 Leam ing-Chem istry Anxiety
and Factor 2 Chem istry-Evaluation Anxiety were calculated so that the mean of
chem istry anxiety associated with learning and evaluation could be compared
to the reported mean of mathematics anxiety as measured by RMARS.
The
mean for the 24 combined items of Factors 1 and 2 of the Derived Chemistry
Anxiety Rating Scale was 56.68; the standard deviation was 15.90.
The reported
mean for the 24 combined items of Factors 1 and 2 o f the Revised Mathematics
Anxiety Rating Scale is 59.84; the standard deviation was 20.55 (Plake and
Parker, 1982, p. 555).
The mean of the 24 combined items in Factors 1 and 2
DCARS was compared with the mean of RMARS in a one sample t-test with a
80
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of
95% confidence interval and tw o-tail significance.
The one sample t-test
indicated no significant difference between the mean of the com bined Factors
I and 2 o f DCARS and the mean of RMARS.
The results are summarized below in
Table 28.
Table 28
Results o f the One-Sample t-Test Between the Mean of the Combined Items in
Factors 1 and 2 of the DCARS and the Mean of RMARS (Test Studvi
Variable____________________ Mean_______ Std. Dev.
DCARS
56.68
15.90
Test Value (RMARS mean) = 59.84
M ean
D ifference
95% Cl
df
t-value
2-tail sig
____________________ lower________ upper_____________________________________
-3.16
-7.16
.85
62
-1.58
.12
Figure 6, on the next page, shows a graph depicting the comparison of the
means and standard deviations for the combined Factors 1 and 2 of the Derived
Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and the Revised Math Anxiety Rating Scale.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
82
■
H
■
^
u
3
3
>
RMARS mean
DCARS mean
RMARS s.d.
DCARS s.d.
Anxiety Scale
Figure 6.
Comparison of the means and standard deviations for the combined
Factors 1 and 2 of the Revised Math Anxiety Rating Scale and the Derived
Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale.
Item
(Test Study)
Analysis
Item analysis was conducted on the 36 items of the Derived Chemistry
Anxiety Rating Scale to determine the mean anxiety level and standard
deviation of each item as well as to determine those items that did not
distinguish between the subjects.
Table 29 shows the frequency distribution
percent values of the anxiety levels, the mean anxiety level, and the standard
deviation for each item of the Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
83
Table 29
The Anxiety Level Frequency D istribution Percent V alues. Mean Anxiety
Levels, and Standard Deviations o f the Derived Chem istry Anxiety Rating Scale
Items
(Test Studvl
Item
A n x ie ty
L evel
Mean
Standard
Frequency
Anxiety
Deviation
D istribution
Level
Percent
Q .l
Spilling a chemical.
level 1
10.9
level 2
43.8
level 3
21.9
level 4
18.8
level 5
3.1
level 1
34.4
graphs or charts that show the
level 2
25.0
results of a chem istry
level 3
28.1
experiment.
level 4
12.5
Starting a new chapter in a level 1
46.9
Q.2
Q.3
Reading and interpreting
chem istry
book.
level 2
39.1
level 3
7.8
level 4
6.3
2.59
1.03
2.19
1.05
1.73
.86
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Table 29 (cont'd).
Item
Anxiety
Level
M ean
Standard
Frequency
A nxiety
D eviation
D istribution
Level
Percent
Q.4
Working on an abstract
level 1
17.9
chemistry problem, such as "If
level 2
21.9
x = grams of hydrogen and y =
level 3
28.1
total grams o f w ater produced,
level 4
21.9
calculate the num ber o f grams
level 5
10.9
level 1
17.2
level 2
45.3
level 3
23.4
level 4
12.5
level 5
1.6
level 1
6.3
test returned in which you
level 2
17.2
expected to do well.
level 3
28.1
level 4
28.1
level 5
20.3
level 1
31.3
textbook to begin working on a level 2
40.6
hom ew ork
level 3
25.0
level 4
3.1
2.88
1.25
2.36
.97
3.39
1.18
2.00
.84
of oxygen that reacted with the
hydrogen."
Q.5
Reading a formula in
chemistry.
Q.6
Q.7
Waiting to get a chemistry
Picking up a chemistry
assig n m en t.
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Table 29 (cont’d).
Item
Anxiety
Level
M ean
Standard
Frequency
A nxiety
D eviation
D istribution
Level
Percent
Q.8
W atching a teacher work a
level 1
43.8
level 2
29.7
level 3
20.3
level 4
6.3
Listening to another
level 1
46.9
student describe an accident in
level 2
29.7
the chem istry
level 3
20.3
level 4
3.1
level 1
40.6
the chem icals for the
level 2
25.0
laboratory
level 3
26.6
level 4
7.8
level 1
9.4
level 2
9.4
level 3
28.1
level 4
31.3
level 5
21.9
level 1
32.8
level 2
39.1
level 3
18.8
level 4
9.4
chem istry
problem
on the
blackboard.
Q.9
Q.IO
Q.ll
lab.
Being told how to handle
ex p erim en t.
Being given a "pop" quiz
in a chem istry class.
Q.12
c lass.
W alking into a chemistry
1.89
.94
1.80
.88
2.02
1.00
3.47
1.21
2.05
.95
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Table 29 (cont’d).
Anxiety
Item
Level
M ean
Standard
Frequency
A n xiety
D eviation
D istribution
Level
Percent
Q.13
Taking an examination
(quiz) in a chem istry course.
Q.14
Being told how to
in terp ret
Q.15
ch em ical
equations.
Getting ready to study for
a chem istry test.
Q.16
Signing up for a
chem istry
co u rse.
level 1
4.7
level 2
25.0
level 3
29.7
level 4
23.4
level 5
17.2
level 1
32.8
level 2
21.9
level 3
35.9
level 4
6.3
level 5
3.1
level 1
23.4
level 2
29.7
level 3
25.0
level 4
14.1
level 5
7.8
level 1
40.6
level 2
25.0
level 3
15.6
level 4
14.1
level 5
4.7
3.23
1.15
2.25
1.08
2.53
1.22
2.17
1.24
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Table 29 (cont'd).
Anxiety
Item
Level
M ean
Standard
Frequency
A nxiety
D eviation
D istribution
Level
Percent
level 1
9.4
level 2
20.3
problems which is due the next level 3
26.6
level 4
31.3
level 5
12.5
level 1
25.0
level 2
26.6
level 3
31.3
level 4
7.8
level 5
9.4
level 1
57.8
level 2
20.3
level 3
15.6
level 4
6.3
Q.20
Getting chemicals on your level I
10.9
hands
during
level 2
35.9
level 3
32.8
level 4
10.9
level 5
9.4
Q.17
Being given a homework
assignm ent o f many difficult
chem istry
Q.18
class
m eeting.
Working with acids in the
lab.
Q.19
Listening to a lecture on
chemicals.
the
experim ent.
3.17
1.18
2.50
1.22
1.70
.95
2.72
1.10
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Table 29 (cont'd).
Item
Anxiety
Level
Frequency
D istribution
.
M ean
Standard
A n xiety
D eviation
Level
Percent
Having to use the tables in level 1
40.6
level 2
32.8
level 3
20.3
level 4
6.3
Looking through the
level 1
57.8
pages in a chem istry text.
level 2
23.4
level 3
15.6
level 4
3.1
level 1
10.9
level 2
21.9
level 3
20.3
level 4
37.5
level 5
7.8
level 1
62.5
level 2
25.0
level 3
9.4
level 4
3.1
Q.21
a chemistry book.
Q.22
Q.23
Solving a difficult
problem on a chem istry test.
Q.24
Breathing the air in the
ch em istry
la b o ra to ry .
1.92
.93
1.64
.86
3.10
1.17
1.53
.80
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Table 29 (cont'd).
M ean
Standard
Frequency
A nxiety
D eviation
D istribution
Level
Anxiety
Item
Level
Percent
Q.25
Reading the word
" c h e mi s t r y " .
Q.26
Working with a chemical
whose identity you don't know.
Q.27
Mixing chem ical reagents
in the
Q.28
laboratory.
Walking on campus and
thinking
course.
about
a
chem istry
level 1
71.9
level 2
17.2
level 3
6.3
level 4
3.1
level 5
1.6
level I
17.2
level 2
42.2
level 3
28.1
level 4
10.9
level 5
1.6
level 1
21.9
level 2
39.1
level 3
28.1
level 4
9.4
level 5
1.6
level 1
60.9
level 2
17.2
level 3
10.9
level 4
10.9
1.45
.87
2.38
.95
2.30
.97
1.72
1.05
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Table 29 (confd).
M ean
Standard
Frequency
A nxiety
D eviation
D istribution
Level
Anxiety
Item
Level
Percent
Q.29
Heating a chemical in the
Bunsen
Q.30
burner
flam e.
Taking an examination
(final) in a chem istry course.
Q.31
Walking on campus and
thinking
Q.32
about
chem istry
lab.
Walking into a chemistry
laboratory.
level 1
37.5
level 2
35.9
level 3
18.8
level 4
7.8
level 1
6.3
level 2
15.6
level 3
20.3
level 4
25.0
level 5
31.3
level 1
53.1
level 2
20.3
level 3
12.5
level 4
12.5
level 5
1.6
level 1
43.8
level 2
29.7
level 3
18.8
level 4
7.8
1.97
.94
3.60
1.26
1.89
1.14
1.91
.97
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Table 29 (cont'd).
M ean
Standard
Frequency
A nxiety
D eviation
D istribution
Level
Anxiety
Item
Level
Percent
level 1
78.1
level 2
14.1
level 3
6.3
level 4
1.6
level 1
10.9
level 2
26.6
level 3
28.1
level 4
21.9
level 5
12.5
level 1
46.9
student explain a chem ical
level 2
31.3
reaction.
level 3
17.2
level 4
4.7
level 1
57.8
level 2
23.4
level 3
18.8
Q.33
Buying a chemistry
tex tb o o k .
Q.34
Thinking about an
upcom ing
day
Q.35
Q.36
chem istry
test one
before.
Listening to another
Listening to a lecture in a
chem istry
class.
1.31
.66
2.98
1.20
1.80
.89
1.61
.79
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Factor
Analysis
A maximum likelihood factor analysis with a Varimax rotation was
conducted on the 36 items o f the Derived Chemistry Anxiety Scale to see if the
same three factors would em erge as they did for the pilot study.
Although
three factors emerged in 8 iterations, they differed som ew hat from those of
the pilot study because 2 items switched from one factor to another.
"W aiting to get a chemistry test returned . .
Item 6
which had previously loaded
onto Factor 2 Chemistry-Evaluation Anxiety in the pilot study, loaded onto
Factor 1 Leaming-Chemistry Anxiety in the test study as well as Item 32
"Walking into a chemistry lab" that had loaded onto Factor 3 HandlingChemicals Anxiety in the pilot study.
The item switching resulted in Factors 2
and 3 for the factor analysis of the test study data to correspond to HandlingChem icals
A nxiety
and
C hem istry-Evaluation
Anxiety
respectively.
The three factors of the test study data accounted for 51.4% of the total
variance in the scores of the 36 items.
The percent o f variance for each of the
three factors obtained from factor analysis of the test study data are shown in
Table 30.
Table 30
Percent Variance for Factors 1. 2. and 3 Obtained from Factor Analysis of the
Test Study Data
F a c to r fo r T est S tu d y
D ata
P e rc e n t
of
1 L earning-C hem istry
Anxiety
33.5
2
Anxiety
10.6
3
H andling-C hem icals
C hem istry-E valuation
A nxiety
V a ria n c e
7.3
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For the test study data, Factor 1 Learning-Chemistry Anxiety was identified
by 19 items on the Derived Chemistry
Anxiety Rating Scale. The items with
factor loadings for Factor 1 are shown in Table 31.
Table 31
Items and Factor Loadings for Factor 1 Leaming-Chemistrv Anxiety
Obtained
from Factor Analysis of the Test Study Data
Item
F actor
Loading
0.36
Listening to a lecture in a chemistry class.
.81
Q.28
Walking on campus and thinking about a chemistry
.74
0-19
Listening to a lecture on chemicals.
.71
0.21
Having to use the tables in a chemistry book.
.70
0-14
Being told how to interpret chemical equations.
.70
0.31
Walking on campus and thinking about chemistry lab.
.70
0.35
Listening to another student explain a chemical reaction.
.68
Q.8
Watching a teacher work a chemistry problem on the
.65
cour s e
blackboard.
Q.3
Starting a new chapter in a chemistry book.
.62
Q.22
Looking through the pages in a chemistry text.
.60
Q.5
Reading a formula in chemistry.
.60
Q.2
Reading and interpreting graphs or charts that show the
.57
results of a chem istry experiment.
0.25
Reading the word "chemistry"
.54
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Table 31 (cont’d).
Factor
Item
Loading
0-12
W alking into a chemistry class.
.53
0.16
Signing up for a chemistry course.
.53
0 .3 2
W alking into a chemistry laboratory.*
.52
Q.7
Picking up a chemistry textbook to begin working on a
.47
hom ew ork
a ssig n m e n t.
0.33
Buying a chemistry textbook.
.38
Q.6
W aiting to get a chemistry test returned in which you
.38
expected to do well.* *
*
**
In Factor 3 Handling-Chemicals Anxiety of the pilot study DCARS.
In Factor 2 Chemistry-Evaluation Anxiety of the pilot study DCARS.
Factor analysis o f the test study data indicated that the five elements that
related most to learning chemistry as a subject were:
listening to a lecture in
chem istry class; w alking on cam pus and thinking about the chem istry course;
listening to a lecture on chemicals; using the tables in a chem istry book; and
being told how to interpret chem ical equations.
Item analysis of the 19 items comprising Factor 1 o f the test study data
revealed that the five elements (and means) that contributed m ost to the
students’ anxieties about learning chemistry as a subject were:
waiting to get a
chemistry test returned in which you expected to do well (3.39); reading a
formula in chem istry (2.36); being told how to interpret chem ical equations
(2.25); reading and interpreting graphs or charts that show the results of a
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chemistry experiment (2.19); and signing up fo r a chem istry course (2.17).
See Appendix I for the test study Factor 1 items ranked in descending order
according to mean anxiety levels.
For the test study data, Factor 2 was identified by 9 items on the Derived
Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale.
These items all corresponded to handling-
chemicals anxiety unlike the items for Factor 2 o f the pilot study data that
corresponded to chemistry-evaluation anxiety.
The items of the test study data
with factor loadings for Factor 2 are shown in Table 32.
Table 32
Items and Factor Loadings for Factor
2Handling-Chemicals
Anxiety
Obtained
from Factor Analysis of the Test Study Data
Item
Factor
Loading
0.26
W orking with a chemical whose identity you don’t know.
.87
0.18
Working with acids in the lab.
.84
0 .2 7
M ixing chemical reagents in the laboratory.
.82
0 .2 0
Getting chemicals on your hands during the experiment.
.75
0.29
Heating a chemical in the Bunsen burner flame.
.70
Q .l
Spilling a chemical.
.56
Q.10
Being told how to handle the chemicals for the laboratry
.53
experiment.
Q.9
Listening to another student describe an accident in the
chem istry
0 .2 4
.52
lab.
Breathing the air in the chemistry laboratory.
.40
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Item 32 "Walking into a chemistry laboratory" of the Derived Chemistry
Anxiety Rating Scale established in the pilot study did not load for the factor
corresponding
to
H andling-C hem icals
A nxiety.
Factor analysis of the test study data indicated that the five items that
related most to handling chemicals were:
working with a chem ical whose
identity you don't know; working with acids in the lab; mixing chemical
reagents in the laboratory; getting chemicals on your hands during the
experiment; and heating a chemical in the Bunsen burner flam e.
Item analysis of the 9 items comprising Factor 2 of the test study data
revealed that the Five elements (and means) that contributed most to the
students' anxieties about handling chemicals were:
getting chem icals on their
hands during the experiment (2.72); spilling a chem ical (2.59); working with
acids (2.50); working with unknown chemicals (2.38); and m ixing chemical
reagents in the laboratory (2.30).
See Appendix J for the test study Factor 2
items ranked in descending order according to mean anxiety levels.
Factor 3 o f the test study data was identified by 8 of the items on the Derived
Chemistry A nxiety Rating Scale.
anxiety.
These items involved chem istry-evaluation
The items and factor loadings are presented in Table 33 on the next
p age.
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Table 33
Items and Factor Loadings for Factor 3 Chem istrv-Evaluation Anxiety O btained
from Factor Analysis o f the Test Study Data
Item
Factor
L oading
Q.17
Being given a homework assignment o f many difficult
.84
problems which is due the next chemistry class meeting.
Q.30
Taking an exam ination (final) in a chem istry course.
.83
0.11
Being given a "pop” quiz in a chemistry class.
.78
0-15
Getting ready to study for a chemistry test.
.70
Q.13
Taking an exam ination (quiz) in a chemistry course.
.69
Q.34
Thinking about an upcoming chemistry test one day
.68
0.23
Solving a difficult problem on a chemistry test.
.50
Q.4
Working on an abstract chemistry problem, such as "If x =
.44
bef or e.
grams of hydrogen and y = total grams of water produced,
calculate the number o f grams of oxygen that reacted with the
hydrogen."
Item 6 "Waiting to get a chemistry test returned in which you expected to do
very well" o f the Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale did not load as it did
in the pilot study for the factor corresponding to Chem istry-Evaluation
Anxiet y.
Factor analysis of the test study data indicated that the five items that
related most to chem istry evaluation were:
being given a homework
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assignment o f many difficult problems which is due the next chem istry class
meeting; taking the final in a chemistry course; being given a "pop" quiz in a
chemistry class; getting ready to study for a chem istry test; and taking a
chem istry
quiz.
Item analysis of the 8 items comprising Factor 3 of the test study data
revealed that the five elem ents (and means) that contributed most to the
students' anxieties about chem istry-evaluation w ere:
taking the final exam in
the chemistry course (3.60); being given a "pop" quiz in a chemistry class
(3.47); taking
a chem istry quiz (3.23); being given a homework assignm ent of
many difficult problems which is due the next chem istry class meeting (3.17);
and solving a
difficult problem on a chemistry test (3.10). See Appendix K
the test study
Factor 3 items listed in order o f decreasing strength of mean
anxiety
for
levels.
R el iab ili ty
A nal ys is
The means and standard deviations of the anxiety levels for the total Derived
Chemistry A nxiety Rating Scale and for each o f its three factors as established
in the pilot study (Factor 1 Learning-Chemistry Anxiety, Factor 2 Chemistry
Evaluation A nxiety, and F actor 3 Handling-Chemicals Anxiety) were com puted
so that reliability analysis and comparisons could be conducted.
The resulting
means and standard deviations are displayed in Table 34 on the next page.
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Table 34
Anxiety Level Means and Standard Deviations for the Derived Chemistry
Anxiety Rating Scale and for Each o f the Three Factors (Test Study)
Factor
F actor
1 Learning-
C hem istry
D ev.
1.86
0.66
2.16
0.70
3.15
0.89
2.26
0.59
Anxiety
F actor 2 ChemistryE valuation
S td.
A nxiety
Factor 3 HandlingC hem icals
M ean
A nxiety
Total Chemistry Anxiety
Reliability analysis was conducted to determine the reliability of the total
Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale (36 items) and the reliability o f each
subscale.
Reliability was determ ined by com puting Cronbach's A lpha values.
These values are displayed in Table 35 on the next page.
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Table 35
Cronbach's Alpha Reliability Values Obtained on the D erived Chemistry
Anxiety Rating Scale and on the Factor Subscales (Test Study)
Reliability
Scale
(Cronbach's
Derived Chem istry Anxiety
Rating
.94
Anxiety
.93
alpha)
Scale (36 items)
Factor
1 Learning-C hem istry
(17 items)
Factor
2 C hem istry-Evaluation
.89
A nxiety (9 items)
Factor 3 H andling-Chem icals
Anxiety
.90
(10 items)
Comparison of Factors
Rating
1. 2. and 3 of the Derived
Chemistry Anxiety
Scale
The mean anxiety levels of the three factors of the Derived Chemistry
Anxiety Rating Scale were compared to determine if any significant
relationships and differences existed among the anxiety levels.
Three t-tests
for paired samples were performed with two-tail significance at p < .016 after
alpha .05 was adjusted for multiple tests.
Significant relationships were found
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between evaluation and learning and between handling and learning.
relationship
(p = .02).
betw een
evaluation
and
handling
approached
The
significance
The mean anxiety levels o f the three factors were all significantly
different from each other.
The results are presented in Table 36.
Table 36
Results o f Paired Samples t-Tests to Compare Factors 1. 2. and 3 of the Derived
Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale (Test Study)
Factors
Corr
Evaluation
vs
Means
3.15
Standard
Degrees
Deviation
Freedom
.89
.63*
Learning
1.88
.66
Handling
2.16
.70
vs
.46*
Learning
1.85
.66
Ev a l u a t i o n
3.13
.88
vs
.30
Handling
2.16
t-Value
62
14.55*
62
3.49*
61
8.05*
.71
* significant at p < .016
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To demonstrate the significant differences, the average anxiety levels for
each o f the three subscales are shown in Figure 7.
co
I
Evaluation
H
I
Handling
Learning
Factor
Figure 7.
The average anxiety levels o f the three factors o f the Derived
Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale.
(Test Study)
Figure 7 shows that chem istry-evaluation anxiety was greater than the
anxiety associated with handling chem icals.
The lowest level of anxiety was
associated with learning chem istry in the classroom.
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Two-Wav
ANOVA's
Between
Independent
Variables
To determine if any significant differences or interactions existed between
two independent variables, two-way ANOVA's
were performed at p < .05 for the
total Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and for each of the three
subscales by the following:
• m ajor,
gender,
» chem istry
• math
and
ex p erien ce,
experience,
m ajor/gender
gender,
gender,
and
and chem istry
math
ex p erien ce/g en d er
experience/gender
The first set of two-way ANOVA's involved major, gender and major/gender.
Major was defined as non-science or science.
significant difference in the chemistry
and science majors.
The results showed no
anxiety levels
o f non-science majors
There was no significant interaction between the
variables major and gender.
In addition, there was no significant gender
difference except for chem istry-evaluation anxiety.
Fem ales had a higher
chem istry-evaluation mean anxiety level (3.34) than males (2.81).
Tables 37,
38, 39, and 40 show the results of the two-way ANOVA's for the total Derived
Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and for each of the three factors by major,
gender,
and
m ajor/gender.
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Table 37
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for the Total Chemistry Anxiety Scale bv Major.
Gender, and Major/Gender (Test Study)
Factor
Sum
of
df
Mean
F
value
Square
Squares
M ajor
.18
1
.18
.51
Gender
.97
1
.97
2.83
M aj o r/
.35
1
.35
1.01
Gender
Table 38
Two-Way ANOVA Results for Factor 1 Learning-Chemistry Anxiety bv Major.
Gender, and M ajor/Gender (Test Studvf
Factor
Sum
of
df
Squares
Mean
F
value
Square
M aj o r
.34
1
.34
.80
Gender
.99
1
.99
2.32
M aj o r/
.06
1
.06
.15
Gender
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Table 39
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Factor 2 Chemistrv-Evaluation Anxiety bv Major.
Gender, and Major/Gender (Test Study)
Factor
Sum
of
df
M ean
F
value
Square
Squares
M ajor
.11
1
.11
.15
Gender
4.06
1
4.06
5.72*
M ajor/
1.57
1
1.57
2.21
Gender
Significant at p < .05
Table 40
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Factor 3 Handling-Chemicals Anxiety bv Major.
Gender, and M ajor/G ender (Test Study)
Factor
Sum
of
df
Squares
M ean
F
value
Square
M ajor
.66
1
.66
.1.28
Gender
.00
1
.00
.00
M ajor/
.31
1
.31
.61
Gender
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Figure 8 shows the significant gender difference for chem istry-evaluation
anxiety revealed by the two-way ANOVA performed by major, gender, and
major/gender.
I
eval/female
■
eval/male
7
G ender
Figure 8.
Significant gender difference in the mean anxiety levels o f females
and males with respect to chem istry-evaluation anxiety.
(Test Study)
The next set of two-way ANOVA's involved chemistry experience.
The range
was from 0 to 5 for the combined number of previous high school and college
chemistry courses taken.
high chem istry experience.
Chemistry experience was dichotomized into low and
Low chem istry experience was defined as fewer
than or equal to two chem istry courses previously taken in high school and
college.
High chemistry experience was defined as greater than two courses
taken previously in high school and college.
Except for the significant gender
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107
difference
w ith
respect
to
chem istry-evaluation
differences or interactions were found.
anxiety,
no
significant
The results of the two-way ANOVA's
for the total Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and for each of the three
subscales
by
chem istry
experience,
gender,
and
chem istry
experience/gender
are shown in Tables 41, 42, 43, and 44.
Table 41
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Total Chemistry Anxiety bv Chemistry Experience.
Gender, and C hem istry Experience/Gender (Test Study)
Factor
Sum
of
df
Mean
F
value
Square
Squares
.52
I
.52
1.51
Gender
1.04
I
1.04
3.02
C hem
.00
1
.00
.00
C hem istry
Experience
exp/Gender
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108
Table 42
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Leaming-Chemistrv Anxiety by Chemistry
Experience. Gender, and Chemistry Experience/Gender (Test Study)
Factor
Sum
of
df
Mean
F
v alu e
Square
Squares
.08
1
.08
.19
Gender
.96
1
.96
2.21
Chem
.05
1
.05
.11
Chem istry
Experience
exp/Gender
Table 43
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Chemistrv-Evaluation Anxiety bv Chemistry
Experience. G ender, and C hem istry Experience/Gender (Test Study)
Factor
Sum
of
df
Squares
Chem istry
Mean
F
value
Square
1.32
1
1.32
1.84
Gender
4.57
1
4.57
6.39*
Chem
.00
1
.00
.00
Experience
exp/Gender
* Significant at p < .05
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109
Table 44
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Handling-Chemicals Anxiety bv Chemistry
Experience. Gender, and Chemistry Experience/Gender (Test Studvl
Factor
Sum
df
of
F
value
Square
Squares
Chem istry
Mean
1.15
1
1.15
2.26
Gender
.01
1
.01
.01
Chem
.02
1
.02
.05
Experience
exp/Gender
The next set o f two-way ANOVA’s involved previous math experience.
The
range was from 2 to 11 math courses previously taken in high school and
college.
Math experience was dichotomized into low and high experience.
Low
math experience was defined as fewer than or equal to five math courses taken
in high school and college.
High math experience was defined as greater than
five math courses taken in high school and college.
No significant differences
or interactions were found except for the significant gender difference
regarding chem istry-evaluation anxiety.
The results o f the tw o-w ay ANOVA's
for the total Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale and for each of the three
subscales
by math
experience, gender,
and math experience/gender are
shown in Tables 45, 46, 47, and 48.
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Table 45
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Total Chemistry Anxiety by Math Experience.
Gender, and Math Experience/Gender (Test Study)
Factor
Sum
of
df
M ean
F
value
Square
Squares
.01
1
.01
.02
Gender
.92
1
.92
2.62
M ath
.04
1
.04
.12
M ath
E xperience
exp/G ender
Table 46
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Leaming-Chemistrv A nxiety bv Math Experience
Gender, and Math Experience/G ender (Test Study)
Factor
Sum
of
df
Squares
M ath
M ean
F
value
Square
.01
1
.01
.02
Gender
.92
1
.92
2.12
Math
.02
1
.02
.05
Experience
exp/G end er
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Table 47
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Chemistrv-Evaluation Anxiety bv Math
Experience. Gender, and Math Experience/Gender (Test Study)
Factor
Sam of
df
M ean
F
value
Square
Squares
.01
1
.01
.02
Gender
4.19
1
4.19
5.68*
M ath
.02
1
.02
.03
M ath
E xperience
exp/G end er
Significant at p < .05
Table 48
Two-Wav ANOVA Results for Handling-Chemicals Anxiety by Math Experience
Gender, and Math Experience/Gender (Test Study)
Factor
Sum of
df
Squares
M ean
F value
Square
.00
1
.00
.00
Gender
.00
1
.00
.00
M ath
.38
1
.38
.72
M ath
E xperience
exp/G end er
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Interview
Data
Eight interviews were conducted with 7 non-science majors (5 females; 2
males) and 1 science major (female).
anxiety.
These students had high chem istry
Four students were sophomores, three were juniors, and one was a
second degree candidate.
Four students had high math experience (greater
than five math courses in high school and college); four students had low
math experience (few er than or equal to five math courses taken in high
school and college).
One student had high chem istry experience (greater than
two chemistry courses taken in high school and college).
student was
repeating the college chemistry course.
However, this
Seven students had low
chem istry experience (two or fewer chemistry courses in high school and
college.
Three students were repeating the introductory, college chem istry
course.
Factors
That
Learning
Contribute
Chemistry
in
to
the
Students'
Anxieties
Associated
With
Classroom
The eight interviews revealed the following factors, listed in descending
order with interview ee
frequencies
in parentheses, that contributed to the
students’ anxieties about learning chemistry in the classroom:
chem istry exams
questions in
life (2); too
(5); chemistry problems involving math (4);
math (6);
answ ering
class (3); chemistry in general (2); the fast pace (2); no
much to memorize (1); bonding (1); balancing equations (1);
11 2
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relation to
writing electron configurations
(1); writing
chem ical formulas
(1);
charges
(1); oxidation and reduction (1); molarity and normality (1); term inology (1);
and comprehension o f chem istry (1).
These factors are presented in more
detail below.
M ath was the greatest contributor to the students' anxieties about learning
chemistry.
When the
8 interviewees were asked to identify what made them
anxious about learning chem istry, 6 students (2 males and 4 females)
immediately said, "math!"
Three of the 6 students had taken more than five
math courses in high school and college and were therefore considered to
have high math experience.
Two of the 6 students had taken five math courses
in high school and college; one student had taken three math courses.
These
last three students were considered to have low math experience.
According to the interview data, one o f the
biggest problems with the
was that the students could not relate the math to the chemistry.
"I can't put
the chem ical properties and the math together,” admitted a female who was
repeating the chemistry course and who had low math and chemistry
background experience.
Another female, who felt that she had a good math
background, stated, ’’The fractions I see in chemistry class, like in the factor
label conversion problems, — I never had this before in other math classes."
The students also had trouble with the math formulas.
"There are too many
of them and they are hard to memorize so I don't memorize them enough,"
stated a male, non-traditional student who had heard peers say that the math
associated with chem istry was beyond them and made chemistry a very hard
subject.
A female said that she understood the formulas in class, but on the
exams, the wording seemed unfamiliar.
She felt that she needed
someone to
help her set up the problems because she didn't know what to put where.
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math
The students who had weak backgrounds in math, especially in algebra, had
high math anxiety in chem istry.
A female non-traditional student, who had
failed an algebra course when she was in the military, had been told by other
students that the math in chem istry was hard and that a good algebra
background was essential to pass chemistry.
algebra course, she was intensely worried.
Because she had failed the
She expressed this worry to her
classmates as they were w aiting for the professor to start the first chemistry
class.
A non-traditional male student, who had gone to class being excited
about learning chem istry, heard her talking and his excitment was replaced
by anxiety.
His anxiety
increased when a
couple of the classmates
assured
everybody that "you’ll be
all right as long as the math doesn't mess you up.”
The non-traditional male
student reported in the interview that he has
math anxiety.
When he sees anything mathematical, he blanks out and gets
what he calls "wood-headedness”.
chest get tight.
attack.
He can feel his heart beat faster and his
If he isn’t able to calm himself down, he goes into an asthmatic
These descriptions appear to match symptoms in the Generalized
Anxiety Disorder category (American Psychiatric Association,
253).
severe
1987, pp. 252-
He summed up his feelings by stating, "W ithout math, chemistry is
interesting, but the math part makes it scary!”
The anxiety associated with chemistry problems involving math was largely
due to the students' math anxiety and to not being able to relate the chemistry
and the math.
However, in the case of the female science major, the math was
not a problem.
She could do the math, but she explained, "It's all the numbers
on the board without words.
I need words to clarify and make the problem
easier to follow."
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Three o f the students stated that answering questions in class or putting
work on the board made them
very anxious unless they were absolutely
certain that their answers were correct.
They stated that they felt insecure
about having the right answer,
they worried about having to
explain their
answer, they were basically shy,
and they didn’t like to get up
in front o f a
large group o f people.
Two of the students (a male and a female) said that everything about
chem istry made them anxious.
feelings by saying,
The female science major summarized
"It’s the whole non-English
her
thing about chemistry!"
She
further explained that she was anxious about chem istry because it was foreign
to her, she couldn’t really see a lot of it in the real world, and it confused her.
She didn't know what she was supposed to know already and what she was not
supposed to know.
From high school chemistry, she had some idea of what was
coming, but she did not know when it would come or even if it would come.
She revealed that a personal bad experience, her friends’ talking about their
bad experiences,
contributed
and her m other's experience with chem istry
to her
When the
science teacher
have
anxieties about chem istry.
female science major was in eighth grade, she had a "wacky"
who called all the students her little "super stars".
At the end
of the year, the teacher commented, "Some of us have learned a lot and some of
us didn't learn
anything, right, ____?”
The teacher singled her out by
only her name
in front of the whole class. This made her feel angry
she knew that she had learned something in the class.
saying
because
Nonetheless, she had
not learned enough to allow her to take biology in ninth grade like the other
little super stars.
Instead, she had to take physical science.
This made her feel
st upi d.
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116
When her friends, who were former super stars, were taking high school
chemistry a year ahead of her, they talked about its difficulties.
scared her.
The stories
Furtherm ore, when a best friend, who had gotten A's in high
school chemistry, went to Penn State, she got B's and C’s in chem istry.
friend told her that college chemistry was very hard.
The
This conversation and
the fact that the friend had never gotten bad grades before caused the female
science major to worry about taking college chemistry.
The female science student told the following story about her mother's
experience with chem istry.
This story relates how the mother's experience
affected the fem ale science student's feelings about chem istry:
When I was still in high school, my mom was taking the same chemistry
course that I am now.
Day after day, I saw (and heard!) my mom sitting at
the kitchen table frustrated over chemistry.
the terms.
Mom was confused about all
She would ask my friends, who were taking high school
chemistry at the time, for help.
who was good at chemistry.
Worse yet, she would ask my boyfriend,
He was taking AP chem.
When we would be
leaving the house on a date, she would ask him questions and wouldn't let us
leave.
This made me scared to take chemistry.
Then, after I made my
career choice and discovered that I had to take general chemistry, my
mother told me how hard it was going to be, that it wouldn't be easy, and
how hard I would have to work.
This made me worry if I would be
successful in chemistry, but Dad told me that if Mom could do it, I could do it,
too.
The male student, who stated that chemistry in general made him anxious,
attributed most of his anxiety to a weak background in chemistry.
He had not
taken high school chem istry and was repeating the college chem istry course
because he had done poorly the first time he had taken the course.
In addition,
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117
he had heard his peers say that chemistry was a very hard subject and this
also contributed to his anxiety.
and hard chem istry teachers.
He had also heard his peers talk about the easy
However, this talk had no effect on his anxiety
because, due to his work schedule, he was forced to schedule chemistry
according to a convenient time slot.
He stated that if time were not a factor, he
would still not be affected because he believed that it was up to the student to
learn regardless o f how the teacher taught.
"Besides, a lot of teachers get
reputations they don't deserve," he added.
Two female students, who were taking college chemistry for the first time,
expressed concern about the fast pace.
One female explained, "In high school,
we slowly led up to a concept like the mole.
on you."
In college, you just get it slammed
The other female was anxious about taking chemistry in the summer.
She said, "It goes faster.
I’m worried about keeping up.”
Not being able to relate chemistry to real life contributed to the anxieties of
two female subjects who were interviewed.
degree, stated, "Chemistry is very impersonal.
life.
I don't see its importance."
One female, seeking a second
I can't see how it relates to my
The other female said that she sometimes
wants to yell, "Who cares?"
Having to memorize also worried the second degree candidate.
exclaimed, "There’s so much to memorize!"
She
A male subject revealed that one of
the reasons he had put off taking chemistry was because o f memorization.
said, "I thought chemistry was a bunch of facts that were hard to memorize.
He
If
I couldn't recall them, then I couldn't make it through.”
Bonding was the biggest contributor to the chemistry anxiety of a female
non-science
m ajor with
high
math experience and low chem istry
experience.
She explained, 'T don't understand what happened or how it happened.
do well on high school tests with bonding, so I worry now."
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I didn't
118
O ther chemistry topics that contribute to anxiety were made known by a
female non-science m ajor who is repeating the inorganic
chemistry course.
She came to the interview armed with her notebook and a lengthy list of
specific topics that contributed to her anxieties about learning chem istry.
These topics were:
balancing equations; writing electron
configurations;
writing chem ical form ulas; charges; oxidation and reduction; and m olarity and
normality.
Her anxieties associated with balancing equations, writing
chemical formulas, charges, and oxidation-reduction were all due to
confusion
about the charges.
She knew
her
that somethings have
charges, but
she did not understand why they did or how she could determ ine those
charges.
W riting
electron configurations made her anxious because
it hard to visualize the electrons populating the orbitals.
understand the model o f the atom.
memorize
She could not
thought that she had to
the electron configurations of every atom.
made her anxious
confused
As a result, she
she found
M olarity and normality
because distinguishing between the solute and the
solution
her.
Thus, terminology contributed to student anxiety about learning
as a subject.
chemistry
"There are lots of new terms and if you don't know them, then you
don't know what to put where when you are trying to solve problems.
If you
put something in the wrong place, then the whole problem is messed up,"
explained
a female non-science major who had no high school chem istry and
who was repeating the college chemistry course.
was comprehension.
This student's major worry
She was concerned that she would not be able to
understand the professor as well as the course material.
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119
Factors
That
Contribute
to
Students'
Anxieties
Associated
With
Chem is t r v - E v a l u a t i o n
Chemistry tests make the students anxious.
their test anxiety was due to math anxiety.
Two male students explained that
A female, who was repeating
chemistry, related her reason as being: "I know it when I'm studying it, but
then I'm afraid I'm going to forget it once I get to the test.”
Another female,
who was also repeating the course, said that the exams made her anxious
because she didn't get immediate feedback on whether her answer was correct.
Both short answer essay and multiple choice tests made the students
anxious.
A male subject explained that short answer essay tests made him
anxious because, "If I don't know the answer, I can close my eyes and point on
a multiple choice test.
blank.
I can't do that for the essay test.
I have to leave it
If I leave too many blank, then it's self-defeating.”
The female science
major stated that multiple choice tests made her anxious.
"If your answer
doesn't fit in anywhere, that's horrible!" she exclaim ed.
She preferred short-
answer essay tests in which she could show her work and get partial or full
credit for what she knew.
Not knowing what type of test to expect also contributed to student anxiety
about learning chemistry.
about this.
The female science m ajor was especially concerned
Furthermore, she felt anxious because the homework was due on
the day o f the test and she didn't know if she had done it correctly.
She was
afraid that she had made some mistakes on the homework and would repeat her
mistakes on the test.
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120
Factors
That
H an d lin g
C ontribute
to
Students'
Anxieties
A ssociated
With
C h em ica ls
Five of th e 8 students who were interviewed stated that they found handling
the chemicals in the laboratory to be exciting.
females liked the risk involved.
boredom out o f lab.”
like this.
These two males and three
A female explained, "The hazards take the
One o f the males said, "Handling chemicals is exciting.
I
I think the element of danger is neat and I like the risk involved.
I
like seeing the
reactions and being involved."
As a teenager, the male subject, mentioned above, had used mouth suction to
siphon gas and had swallowed some gas during the process.
Although this did
not cause him to worry about handling chemicals, it did make him realize why
mouth pipeting should not be done.
Furthermore, his uncle had gotten serious
phosphorus burns in an accident at work.
not make him anxious either.
However, his uncle’s experience did
The student stated matter of factly, "This was an
accident after 38 years o f working with chemicals and having no accidents."
Three of the students who liked handling the chemicals felt that the
chem icals were relatively safe.
traditional student
explained,
put anybody in peril."
She
lab and causing an explosion,
handling chem icals.
They trusted the professors.
A female non-
"The professors are not going to do anything to
had heard peers worrying about "screwing up" in
but this talk did not make her anxious about
She had confidence in the professors to look out for
student safety and she also had confidence in
her ability to follow directions
c a r e f u lly .
A male also said that he relied upon the teacher not to get him in the
situation where he would get hurt.
talk about getting
chemical
Although he had heard colleagues at work
burns from using cleaning solvents, this talk did
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121
not make him anxious about handling chemicals.
had a "mad scientist" outlook about chem istry.
He said that his colleagues
They thought that chem istry
involved making drugs or bombs, but this also did not influence him.
A female, despite having had a bad experience with chemicals and having
heard rumors about chemicals,
said, "I know the chem icals aren't going to kill
me and I'm safe with the fire so it doesn't bother me."
When this young lady was in a high school photography class, a large bottle
of photography solution had spilled over her.
She had to go to the hospital
because some of the solution had gotten in her eyes, but no permanent
physical effects had resulted.
For a while after the accident, she had avoided
making huge bottles of solutions and would let other people make them.
Now,
however, she could work with big bottles and large am ounts of solution.
This female subject had also heard peers talk about chemistry lab students
being taken to the hospital.
She said, "Three or four were taken last semester,
but I don't worry about handling chem icals because I think those students
were working with worse chemicals than what I have to work with.”
Her
statement about 3 or 4 chemistry students being taken to the hospital
demonstrates the scary rumors that are perpetuated about chemistry
because,
in fact, no students who were working with chemicals were taken to the
hospital last semester.
Of the 8 students who were interviewed, 3 females had high anxieties about
handling chem icals and being in the laboratory.
The factors that contributed
to their anxieties are listed in descending order with interviewee frequencies
in parentheses.
These factors are:
lighting the Bunsen burner (3); fire (2);
unstructured labs (2); acid bums (1); explosion (1); and getting chem icals on
skin (1).
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122
All three females were afraid to light the Bunsen burner.
One female was
afraid to light the match because her fingers would be too close to the flame
and she had an extreme fear o f fire.
This fear appeared to be characteristic of
a simple phobia because she avoided lighting matches and fire situations.
She
stated that she had never lit a match in her life and that she was worried that
everything would catch on fire.
R o se as a child
She thought that seeing the movie A u d r e y
may have caused
her
to fear fire.
named Audrey Rose got trapped in a wrecked car.
In the movie, a little girl
The car caught on fire and
the little girl burned to death while clawing at the window trying to escape.
The other two females were anxious about lighting the Bunsen burner
because the first
time they tried, they did not use the right technique and a tall
flame shot up in front o f their faces. This scared
avoided lighting the Bunsen burner in lab and
them so much that they
made their lab
partners light it
in s te a d .
The worry about fire in the lab was very closely related to the worries
associated with the Bunsen burner.
anxious about fire in the lab.
fire.
Two o f the females were extremely
One was the student with the extreme fear of
The other female said that she was worried about fire in the lab because,
in high school chemistry, her best friend's hair caught on
Bunsen
fire
with the
burner. "The whole hall smelled like burned hair," she emphasized.
"I'm afraid the same thing will happen to me!"
Unstructured labs caused two females to be very anxious.
One student
explained, "Figuring out what's happening causes me to be very anxious.
have no experience, so I can't judge.
supposed to look like?
either way.
I
How am I supposed to know what it's
The rules are ambiguous.
There are no clear cut rules to go by.
It seems my decision can go
I don't know what to look
f o r.”
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Fear of getting burned by acid also contributed to the anxieties o f the
female with the extreme fear of fire.
She related that her sister, who works
for a pharm aceutical company, had talked about getting acid burns and had
shown her shoes that have acid bum s.
However, she insisted that her sister's
experience did not make her any more anxious than she already was.
One female was worried about mixing chemicals because she was afraid
there would be an explosion.
She said that she had watched TV shows in which
kids had mixed chemicals and the chemicals had exploded.
This same female was also worried about getting chemicals on her skin
during the lab.
She said, "I'm afraid the chemicals will bum me.
what they’d do and I would be afraid of what they would do.
I don't know
But I'm trusting
that they aren’t too harmful."
Strategies
the
Suggested
College
bv
Classroom
Interviewees
and
to
Reduce
Chemophobia
in
Laboratory
During the first interview, a question that was not on the interview guide
became apparent and was subsequently asked to all the interviewees.
question was:
The
What would help to reduce your anxieties about learning
chem istry and handling chemicals?
In response to this question, the
interviewees suggested several strategies.
These strategies are listed below
along with the characteristics of the student(s) who suggested each strategy.
In some cases, student feelings are also reported.
1.
Have algebra be a prerequisite of the college chemistry course.
(Female
non-science major, sophomore, age 45, high math, low chem istry.)
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124
2.
Have high school chemistry be a prerequisite.
depends on what you had in high school.
Success in college chem istry
It is so important.
chemistry in high school, you'll never catch up in college.
If you don't learn
(Female non­
science major, junior, age 24, low math, repeating college chem istry; Male
non-science major, junior, age 46, low math, repeating chem istry.)
3.
Administer a test to the students before they register for the college
chem istry course.
This would determ ine if the students had the necessary
background knowledge and skills to be successful in chemistry.
If they failed
the test, then the students could be told what preparatory course to take.
(Male
non-science major, sophomore, age 37, high math, low chem istry.)
4.
Provide a list of skills and concepts that need to be known before taking the
chemistry course.
low
5.
(Female science major, sophomore, age 19, low math,
chem istry.)
Show steps for solving chem istry problems that involve math.
Provide
many examples in class and make sure the students understand before moving
on to a new concept.
(Female non-science major, sophomore, age 19, high
math, low chemistry; Female non-science major, junior, age 19, high math,
repeating college chem istry; Fem ale non-science major, sophomore, age 45,
high math, low chemistry;
Female non-science major, junior, age 24,
low math, repeating college chem istry; Male non-science major, sophomore,
age 37, high math, low chem istry; Male non-science major, junior, age 46,
low
math,
repeating
chem istry.)
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6.
Provide practice sheets o f problems. (Female
science major,sophomore,
age 19, low math, low chem istry.)
7.
Relate the math to the chemistry.
(Female non-science major,
junior,
age 24, low math, repeating college chemistry.)
8.
Accompany numbers with many words.
age
19, low math, low chem istry.)
9.
Give equations on the exams.
repeating
co lleg e
(Female science major, sophomore,
(Female non-science major, junior, age
high
math,
10.
During lectures, show words on the board, overhead, or on handouts.
19,
chem istry.)
(Female science major, sophomore, age 19, low math, low chemistry.)
11.
Show how chemistry applies to life. This shows the importance of
chemistry to something the students are using and helps the students to learn
and realize that they n eed
to know chemistry.
(Female non-science major,
second degree candidate, age 24, high math, low chem istry; Female non­
science major, junior, age
19, high math, repeating college chemistry; Female
non-science major, sophomore, age 45, high math, low chemistry; Female non­
science major, junior, age 24, low math, repeating college chemistry.)
12.
Show how chemistry relates to other disciplines.
This helps students
connect their pieces of know ledge and demonstrates the importance of
chemistry.
(Female science major, sophomore, age 19, low math, low
c h e m is tr y .)
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13.
Emphasize and tell what help is available.
(Female non-science major, junior, age
This addresses security needs.
19, high math, repeating college
c h e m is tr y .)
14.
Have help sessions.
(Female non-science major, sophomore, age 19,
high math, low chemistry; Female science major, sophomore, age 19, low math,
low
chem istry.)
15.
Have two help sessions before a test — one early and one right before the
test.
The early session gets the students on track; the session right before the
test takes care o f the last minute questions.
junior, age
16.
(Female non-science major,
19, high math, repeating college chem istry.)
Have tutoring and help sessions conducted by someone knowledgeable.
This avoids the anxiety associated with confusion.
(Female science major,
sophomore, age 19, low math, low chem istry.)
17.
Grade homework problems.
something else besides exams.
repeating
college
Give credit for the homework or for
(Female non-science major, junior, age 19,
high
m ath,
18.
Build a strong student-teacher relationship.
students and their needs.
them as persons.
chem istry.)
Show an understanding of
Be willing to take time with students and get to know
(Female non-science major, junior, age 19, high math,
repeating college chemistry; Male non-science major, sophom ore, age 37,
high
math,
low
chemistry)
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127
19.
Less dem anding professors.
high math,
20.
low
(Male non-science major, sophomore, age 37,
chem istry)
Provide situations in class where the students and teacher work together to
solve problems.
(Female non-science major, second degree candidate, age 24,
high math,
chem istry.)
21.
low
During discussions, have the students and professor sit in a full circle
facing each other.
This makes it easier to respect someone and facilitates the
discussion.
(Fem ale non-science major, second degree candidate, age 24,
high math,
low
22.
chem istry.)
Work in groups so a couple of people who understand can teach others.
(Male non-science major, junior, age 46, low m ath, repeating chem istry.)
23.
Use cooperative learning, but have groups o f about 15 people rather than 4
because som etim es when there are only 4 people, nobody knows anything.
With 15 people, there is a better chance that somebody knows something.
This
strategy reduces the anxiety associated with the blind leading the blind.
(Female non-science major, second degree candidate, age 24, high math, low
c h e m is tr y .)
24.
Have small class sizes.
This reduces the anxiety associated with answering
questions in front o f a large number of people.
(Female non-science major,
second degree candidate, age 24, high math, low chemistry.)
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25.
Provide a review
anxiety by giving the
sheet or study guide o f important concepts.
This reduces
students clear direction. (Female science major,
sophomore, age 19, low math, low chemistry.)
26.
Provide quick comments on homework and worksheets so that the students
know what they did correctly and what they did wrong.
major, sophomore, age
27.
19, low math, low
Do many demonstrations in class.
(Female science
chemistry.)
This makes the teacher seem more
human and helps the students visualize the concepts better.
major, sophom ore, age
28.
math,
29.
No fire!
low
19, low math, low
(Female science
chemistry.)
(Female non-science major, second degree candidate, age 24, high
chem istry.)
Use structured labs.
Provide step by step procedures.
(Female non-science
major, sophom ore, age 19, high math, low chemistry; Female science major,
sophomore, age 19, low math, low chemistry.)
30.
Tell how to handle chem icals safely.
(Female non-science major,
sophomore, age 45, high m ath, low chem istry.)
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CHAPTER V:
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
The research was conducted with the following objectives:
(1)
if chemophobia exists in the college classroom and laboratory; (2)
to determine
to
determine the factors that contribute to college students' anxieties about
chemistry as a subject and about chemicals in the classroom and laboratory;
and (3)
to determine characteristics of college students who have anxieties
about chem icals in the classroom or laboratory and about chem istry as a
subject.
Achievement o f these objectives will provide inform ation that can be
used to develop strategies to reduce the anxiety associated with learning
chemistry and handling chem icals.
However, care must be taken not to apply
the results of this study to other samples or to the general population of
college students since random sampling was not used to select a representative
sample.
Therefore, the conclusions and inferences that are discussed in this
chapter can pertain only to this particular sample o f students who were
conveniently available to participate in the study.
E xtent
of
Chemophobia
The results o f the study indicate that chemophobia does exist in this college
classroom and laboratory.
This finding agrees with Abendroth and Friedman's
(1983) finding that college students have anxieties about chem istry.
Furthermore, the results of this study show that the average level of chem istry
anxiety associated with learning and evaluation (2.36) is statistically the same
as the reported average level of math anxiety for learning and evaluation
(2.49) as measured by the RMARS.
This level of anxiety is between a little bit
129
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130
and moderately anxious.
Although the level o f anxiety is not high, a
tremendous amount o f attention has been given to math anxiety because o f the
importance o f math in our lives.
Yet very little attention has been given to
chemistry anxiety despite chemistry's role as a central science.
Knowledge of
chemistry is becoming essential as citizens are required to make decisions
concerning
the
considerations.
environm ent,
foods,
pharm aceuticals,
and
energy
All o f these areas of our daily lives are affected by chemistry.
The results o f this study imply that more consideration needs to be given to the
anxiety associated with the learning and evaluation of chem istry.
C on trib u tin g
The
Derived
Chemistry
Anxiety
Factors
Rating
Scale
To determine the factors that contribute to college students' anxieties about
chemistry as a subject and about chemicals in the classroom and laboratory, a
three factor, 36-item Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale was constructed.
Although the results of this study show that the total scale and each of its three
factors have high reliability, the results also show that the scale could possibly
be improved.
For example, item analysis of the test study data indicates that
two items are questionable regarding their ability to distinguish between
subjects and should possibly be eliminated from Factor 1 o f the scale.
Both
items have frequency distribution percent values greater than 70% for
anxiety level 1 in the test study, but less than 70% in the pilot study.
are:
The items
Q.25 Reading the word "chemistry" (71.9% in the test study; 68.4% in the
pilot) and Q.33 Buying a chemistry textbook (78.1% in the test study; 57.0% in
the pilot).
The interview data suggest items that may better distinguish
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between the participants.
Possible items are "M emorizing chem istry term s”,
"W riting electron configurations", and "Using math to solve chem istry
problems."
These could be included in a revised questionnaire.
The research findings show that chemistry anxiety is composed o f three
major com ponents that explain approximately 51% o f the total variance in the
scores of the 36 items on the Derived Chemistry Anxiety Rating Scale.
com ponents are:
The
Leam ing-Chem istry Anxiety, which accounts fo r the largest
amount o f variance (33.5%); Handling Chemicals Anxiety (10.6%); and
Chem istry-Evaluation Anxiety (7.3%).
The highest level of anxiety is
associated with chemistry evaluation; lowest level of anxiety is associated with
le arn in g
ch em istry .
Other variables must exist that contribute to chemophobia in the college
classroom because only slightly more than half the total variance in the
scores can be explained.
future are:
com petitive
Possible examples that may be investigated in the
(a) the challenging nature of learning chem istry; (b) the
approach
to
learning
chem istry;
(c)
inquiry-based
chem istry; (d) self-m otivation; (e) teacher personality;
learning
of
(f) success in
chemistry; (g) how to study chemistry; (h) how chem istry is taught;
(i) different types of test questions to answer, (j) attitude, (k) the abstract
nature of some o f the chemical concepts; (1) the discipline specific vocabulary;
and (m) relevance, or lack of relevance, to the students' life experiences.
Some of these examples are discussed in more detail later.
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132
Factors
That
Contribute
To
Learning-Chemistrv
Anxiety
The results o f the DCARS data indicate several m ajor factors that contribute
to
the students' anxiety as
factors
to
they learn chem istry in the classroom.
are: (a) waiting to
do well; (b) reading a
The major
get a chemistry test returned in which you expected
formula in chemistry; (c) being told how to interpret
chem ical equations; (d) reading and interpreting graphs or charts that show
the results of a chemistry experiment; and (e) signing up for a chemistry
c o u rs e .
W aiting to get a chemistry test returned elicits between moderate and quite
a bit of anxiety in the students.
The students may be worried that they did not
do as well on the test as they thought they had done.
they failed the test.
They may be afraid that
Failure, or not performing as expected, may lower their
self-esteem and possibly increase anxiety.
achievem ent in chemistry is
The possibility that low
linked to high anxiety is supported by the
finding that high science anxiety is linked to low
achievem ent (Czem iak
&
Chiarelott, 1984; Chiarelott & Czemiak, 1987; W esterback & Primavera, 1996).
Reading chemical formulas, interpreting chemical equations, and reading
and interpreting graphs and charts arouse
anxiety in the students.
The abstract and complex nature of these three factors
may be contributing to the anxiety.
understandings are necessary
successfully.
between a little bit and moderate
Furthermore,
many skills and
to be able to perform these activities
For example, to read chemical formulas and interpret chemical
equations, the students need to memorize the chemical symbols of the
elements, know the meaning
of the symbols used to describe the states
matter, understand the moleconcept, and be
of
able to apply the rules of
nomenclature for the various types o f chemical substances.
These skills and
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133
understandings
are
strongly
According to the interview
contributors
to
involved
with
m em orization
and
term inology.
data, memorization and terminology are major
chem istry anxiety.
To be able to read and interpret graphs and charts involving chemistry,
higher-order thinking skills
are required.
Anxiety may be increased in
students who have not yet reached a state of maturation that
with the
ability to perform abstract reasoning.
confused
as they attempt to interpret graphs and charts.
provides them
Concrete thinkers may be very
This state of
confusion may stim ulate feelings o f frustration and anxiety.
The notion that
confusion about chemistry may be linked to anxiety is supported by Talton and
Simpson's (1986) finding that anxiety is linked to students who claim that
science makes them feel as if they are lost in a jungle.
appeared
to voice this "lost in a jungle" feeling when she stated, "Figuring out
what's happening causes me to be very anxious.
can't judge.
A female interviewee
I have no experience, so I
How am I supposed to know what it's supposed to look like?
rules are ambiguous.
It seems my decision
clear cut rules to go by.
The
can go either way. There are
no
I don't know what to look for."
Math skills and understandings are frequently necessary to read and
interpret graphs
and charts
as well as to solve
many chemistry problems.
According to the interview data, having to use math to solve chemistry
problems trem endously increases anxiety in some students.
in chem istry increased
Interviewees,
who stated that
the math
their anxiety, claimed to
trouble relating
the math to the chemistry, memorizing the math formulas,
have
and figuring out what goes where in the math formulas when they are solving
word problems.
mem orization,
These assertions support that abstract reasoning,
and confusion
contribute to anxiety.
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134
The DCARS data also show that math is a major factor that contributes to
chemophobia.
Item 4:
Working on an abstract chemistry problem, such as
"If
x = grams of hydrogen and y = total grams o f water produced, calculate the
number o f grams o f oxygen that reacted with the hydrogen" measures the
contribution o f math to chemistry anxiety.
This item has a mean anxiety level
of 2.88 which represents close to a moderate level of anxiety.
Although the DCARS data show that math contributes to chemistry anxiety,
the statistical data show that math experience is not related to chemistry
anxiety.
Therefore, another factor may be operating here.
The students may
be comfortable solving math problems in the context o f the math questions.
However, in the context o f having to solve problems involving abstract
chemical terms, statem ents, and principles; this becomes a formidable task.
The factor "Signing up for a chemistry course" also arouses between a little
bit and moderate anxiety in the students.
This finding may lead to speculation
that the anxiety is "fear of the unknown" and that the students may be
worrying about their ability to be successful learning something for which
they have little or no previous knowledge.
supported by the DCARS data.
However, this postulate is not
Previous experience in chemistry is not related
to anxiety according to the DCARS data.
Therefore, something other than lack
of background experience may be contributing to the anxiety.
The interview
data suggest that the anxiety associated with this factor may be stimulated from
rumors the students have heard, from personal bad experiences, or from
multi-media sources.
In today's m edia world, chemistry and chemicals are
usually associated with words that have negative connotations, i.e., the
chemical people are people organized to combat drug addiction, hazardous
chemical is taken as one word in news stories, etc.
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The results o f the interview data reveal some factors, not included in the
chem istry anxiety
These factors are:
scale, that contribute
to
L eam ing-C hem istry
A nxiety.
(a) answering questions in chem istry class; (b) the fast
pace of learning chem istry; and (c) no relationship between chem istry and
life .
Three interviewees (2 females; 1 male; all having low chemistry
experience) stated
that answering questions in chem istry class made them
anxious unless they were absolutely certain that their answer was correct.
This anxiety appears to fit in the category of Social Phobia -- avoidance of
doing something that would cause hum iliation or em barrassm ent in certain
social situations (The American Psychiatric Association, 1987).
It also fits into
W ynstra and Cummings' (1993) Performance Anxiety category of item s that
make high school students anxious about science.
The
finding dem onstrates
how important having the right answer is to the students.
The anxiety associated with the fast pace of learning chemistry appears to
be related to the
large amount o f terminology involved with learning
chemistry as well as to the large amount of material.
Interviewees (2 females)
indicated that there were so many terms to learn and that they felt
overwhelmed with all the information.
Since time is required to assim ilate
facts, a large number of facts leaves very little time for assimilation.
Thus,
achievement may be reduced not only by the high anxiety associated with the
fast pace of learning chemistry, but also by the lack of time to incorporate
knowledge.
Less material would give the students more time to learn and may
result in lower anxiety levels.
enhanced.
Thus, achievem ent in chemistry may be
This speculation is supported by the American Association for the
Advancement of Science (AAAS) theme, "less is more".
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That two female interviewees were anxious about the fast pace o f chemistry
is consistent with Seym our's (1995) explanation that the pace and challenging
nature o f science courses contribute to females' anxieties about science.
Perhaps, according to Seym our’s supposition, the fast pace of chem istry leads
these two women to having to prove themselves which makes them feel
anxious, insecure, and confused about their sense of se lf as women.
Not being able to relate chemistry to life is another factor revealed by the
interview data that contributes to chemistry anxiety at the college level.
Interviewees, who could not relate chemistry to life, could not understand the
importance o f chemistry.
They had a "Who cares” feeling about chemistry.
Because they could not see how chemistry applies to the natural world, they
were not interested in learning chemistry, did not like chemistry, and found
chemistry to be confusing.
chemistry.
As a result, they wanted to avoid learning
These results imply that not showing the relation of chem istry to
life may promote low student enrollment in chem istry and a chem ically
illiterate
citizen ry .
A factor that was not explored in this study, and that may be a major
contributor to chem ophobia in college students, is the process of studying
chemistry.
The students may never have been taught how to study chemistry.
When they try using strategies that were successful in courses not related to
science and m athematics, and those strategies don't work, the students may
become
anxious.
Another factor that was not investigated in this study and that may
stim ulate
high
anxiety
is
inquiry-based
learning o f chem istry.
Inquiry-based
learning o f the sciences is presently being em phasized as science education is
being reform ed to yield a scientifically literate citizenry by the year 2000.
The
interview data suggest that this method of learning chem istry may have the
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137
potential of stim ulating high anxiety in some students.
interview ees,
w ith
low chem istry
laboratory investigations
experience,
made them feel
stated
Two fem ale
that unstructured
extrem ely anxious.
These students
felt that clear directions and more background inform ation w ould reduce their
anxiety.
This finding is consistent with Kosma's (1982) report that students
with low
ability
prefer highly structured methods
of in stru ctio n . Inquiry-
based learning o f chem istry may not involve enough clear directions or
background inform ation to allow
high
some students to learn chem istry without
anxiety .
Factors
That
Contribute
To
Chem istrv-Evaluation
A nxiety
The DCARS data of the test study reveal several factors that make the
students feel between quite a bit anxious and extremely anxious about
chemistry
evaluation.
These factors are (a) taking the final
(b) being
given a "pop" chem istry quiz, (c) taking a regular
chem istry exam,
chemistry quiz,
(d) working on homework that consists of many difficult chem istry problems,
and (e) solving difficult problems on a chemistry test.
The anxiety associated
with these items and the other items for Chem istry-Evaluation Anxiety may be
test anxiety.
The items agree with those in W ynstra and Cumm ings' (1993) Test
Anxiety category of items that make high school students anxious about taking
science
tests.
Taking the final chemistry exam stimulated the highest mean level of
anxiety (3.60) o f all the items on the Derived Chemistry A nxiety Rating Scale.
Perhaps the students are anxious because they feel that the final exam is their
last chance to pass the course.
Since final exams are usually worth more
points, anxiety may also be aroused because not doing well may lower their
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chemistry grade as well
as their overall grade point
there is no chance for redemption.
average.
Furthermore,
A low chemistry grade and a low overall
grade point average may affect some students' career goals.
On the other
hand, perhaps the final looms as a large, dark cloud full o f all the new
vocabulary words, abstract
concepts, laws
and principles that deal with
something that they can not relate to their lives.
This cloud may have been
forming all semester and now it is about to descend.
The anxiety associated with being given a "pop" quiz may be due to the
students feeling unprepared to take the quiz.
Being unprepared may result in
poor perform ance and therefore affect the student's grade.
However, the
students still have a chance to make up lost points so anxiety is not as high as
the anxiety associated with taking the final exam.
The mean anxiety level associated with taking a chemistry quiz is less than
that associated with taking a "pop" quiz.
anxiety
associated
with
being
The difference may reflect the
unprepared.
A time factor may be involved with the anxiety associated with being given
a homework assignment o f many difficult problems that is due the next
chemistry class meeting.
Time may also be a factor involved with the anxiety
associated with solving a difficult problem on a chemistry test.
problems require a great deal of thought
and time to solve.
be worried that they don't have enough
time to think about
Difficult
The students may
the problem.
Anxiety levels may be heightened if the students feel that they could solve
the
difficult problem if they had more time.
The interview data support the DCARS data that chemistry evaluation
arouses high levels of anxiety in college students.
Four of the 8 students
interviewed stated that chem istry exams made them extrem ely anxious.
reasons for the worry are math and the type of test.
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Major
The math worries students because they feel that they need to have the
equations given to them.
But even if the equations are given, some students
are confused about what to put where in the equation.
Concerning the type o f test, both multiple choice and short answer essay
tests appear to make the students anxious.
These findings are supported by the
move in science education toward alternative assessm ent methods that
evaluate the students using ways other than tests and quizzes.
If the students
are evaluated using a method that does not have high anxiety associated with
it, then their skills and knowledge may be more accurately determined.
Factors
That
Contribute
To
Handling-Chemicals
Anxiety
The anxiety associated with handling chemicals is unique to chemistry.
The
DCARS test study data show that students are close to moderately worried about
getting chemicals on their hands during the experiment.
They are between a
little bit and moderately anxious about (a) spilling a chemical; (b) working
with acids; (c) working with unknown chemicals; and (d) mixing chem ical
reagents in the laboratory.
The interview data support the statistical findings
of the DCARS data in most cases.
The interview data suggest that the anxiety associated with getting
chemicals on their hands during the experiment may be related to the fear of
the unknown.
A female interviewee was anxious because she did not know
what the chemicals would do to her if the chemicals got on her skin.
She could
imagine horrible things happening to her, such as being severely burned by
the
chem icals.
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140
The anxiety associated with spilling a chemical may be due to not knowing
how to clean up the spill without making matters worse.
The students may be
afraid o f causing an explosion or fire as well as worrying about getting the
spilled chemical on
their hands.
Working with acids in the lab may stimulate anxiety because the students
know that acids cause skin bum s.
pain that the students want to avoid.
This knowledge may conjure up thoughts of
The students may also be worried about
getting acids on their clothing and ruining their clothing.
They may have
had a personal bad experience with acids or know someone who has had a bad
experience.
A fem ale interviewee, who was worried about getting acid bums,
remarked that her sister talks to her about the acid bums she has acquired at
w o rk .
The anxiety associated with working with a chemical whose identity you
don't know is probably due to the unknown hazardous potential of the
chemical.
The students may have a tendency to think the worst case scenario
in every instance that a chemical contacts their skin.
educated
Students
must be
as to the nature o f chemicals in their life experiences.
For example,
the toothpaste that they put in their mouths consists of a mixture of
the cola
chemicals,
that they ingest is a formulated mixture o f chemicals.
The DCARS data and the interview data agree that mixing chemical reagents
contributes to college students' anxiety about handling chem icals.
According
to the interview data, mixing chem ical reagents in the laboratory makes the
students worry about causing an explosion.
A female interviewee had seen an
explosion happen when students were mixing chemicals in a TV show.
was worried that the same thing would happen to her when she mixed
c h e m ic a ls .
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She
The interview data reveal additional factors that contribute to HandlingChemicals Anxiety.
M ajor factors that contribute to anxiety are:
(a) lighting
the Bunsen burner; (b) fire; and (c) unstructured labs.
Some interviewees who are worried about handling chemicals stated that
they are afraid to light the Bunsen burner.
explosions occurring.
The interview data indicate that these fears are learned
from personal bad experiences or
someone close to them.
the
learning
Some are also afraid o f fires or
from bad experiences that have happened
TV shows, movies, and rumors have also contributed to
of these fears.
According to the interview data, unstructured labs increase
students.
to
anxiety in some
This finding implies that inquiry-based learning o f chemistry may
result in high anxiety for students
who feel more comfortable with step by
step procedures and knowledge o f
what to observe, what is happening, and
why it is happening.
The interview data show that the students trust the lab professors and
strongly believe that the professors
will not put them in a hazardous situation.
The students' blind trust that they are not in a hazardous situation emphasizes
the
need for all people to know chem istry.
Perhaps the students' trust should be communicated to the professors.
The
professors may believe that the students have common knowledge or common
sense that is in fact lacking.
the
As a result, the professors may not point out to
students the danger o f common reagents,
such as sodium hydroxide,
because they assume students have knowledge o f lye from life experiences or
from other classes.
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S tu d en t
C h a ra cteristics
Due to the small sample size, this research could only report results on
gender, m ajor (as non-science or science), and background experience in
math and chemistry.
The results for other student characteristics, such as
year in college and repeating chemistry, were not meaningful.
A study
sim ilar to this investigation needs to be conducted with a much larger number
of participants.
A larger sample size would provide a more reliable data base
for a better determination of the characteristics of students who have
anxieties about learning chem istry and handling chem icals
classroom
and
in the college
laboratory.
G ender
Due to the low num ber of research studies involving chemistry anxiety,
gender differences are not clearly established in the literature.
The results of
this study show no significant gender differences in total chemistry anxiety,
leam ing-chem istry
anxiety,
and
handling-chem icals
anxiety.
These
results
support D avis’ (1987) report o f no significant difference in chemistry anxiety
between males and females taking chemistry at the college level.
However,
these results are unlike the findings reported for math anxiety (W ynstra &
Cummings, 1990) and science anxiety (Chiarelott & C zem iak, 1987) where
females have higher anxiety
than males.
On the evaluation subscale, the DCARS data show that females have higher
chem istry-evaluation anxiety than males (3.34 versus 2.81
result is compatible with the
respectively).
findings for math and science
anxiety.
142
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This
143
The inconsistencies indicate the need for more research on the possible
gender differences in chem istry anxiety.
of gender differences so
Non-Science
Major
that appropriate
V ersus
Science
Chemistry teachers
need to be aware
strategies can be used.
Major
The test study data show that non-science majors and science majors have
the same statistical level o f anxiety overall and on each of the subscales.
A
possible explanation for this result is that the group o f science majors
included
pre-professional
therapy,
pre-dental,
students
pre-veterinary,
fields are highly com petitive.
regarding
who
continuance
in
these
are
in pre-m edicine,
or pre-optom etry
Since success in
pre-professional
pre-physical
program s.
chemistry is
program s,
M edical
very influential
student
anxiety
about chem istry may be high.
Another possible explanation for no significant difference in the
chemistry anxiety levels o f non-science and science majors is that 5 (31%) of
the 16 science majors were repeating the introductory chemistry course.
Since these students had not been successful in chemistry before,
anxiety levels may have
been high. This conjecture is
research that shows lack
o f success in chemistry isrelated
their
supported by
other
to high anxiety
(Davis as cited in W esterback & Primavera, 1992).
The interview data offers yet another explanation.
The female science
major attributed her anxieties about chem istry to personal experience as well
as to the experiences of her friends and mother.
Therefore, for the same
reasons, some science m ajors may have had higher anxieties than expected in
this study.
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Chemistry
Experience
The DCARS data of the test study show no significant difference in
chem istry anxiety between students who have low chem istry experience and
students who have high chem istry experience as chem istry
defined in this study.
experience is
This finding is unlike Anderson and Clawson’s (1992)
finding for science anxiety in which high anxiety is associated with a lack of
background
k n ow ledge.
On the other hand, the interview data appear to support Anderson and
Clawson's finding that lack o f background knowledge is related to high
anxiety.
Seven of the 8 students who were interviewed had low chemistry
experience
and
high
chem istry
anxiety.
The disagreement between the DCARS and interview data indicates that
more research is needed.
If
indeed more chem istry experience does not help
to reduce anxiety, then teachers need to be aware that something else besides a
strong background in chemistry may be needed to reduce chem istry anxiety.
The test study data also show no significant interactions between gender
and chemistry experience for handling chem icals.
Since the test study
involved a small sample size, perhaps there was not enough power to pick up
an
in teractio n .
Math
E xp erien ce
The test study results for the DCARS data show no significant difference in
chem istry
anxiety between students with low math
experience and students
with high math experience as math experience is defined in this study.
interview data appear to agree with the statistical data.
The
Four of the 8 students
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who
were interviewed
had high math experience; 4 had low math experience.
All the interviewees professed to being highly anxious about chem istry.
The interview data suggest a possible reason for increased math experience
not being related to lower chemistry anxiety.
Perhaps the students can not
relate the math to the chem istry regardless o f how much math experience
they have.
Support for this suggestion is evident in the following statements
made by two female non-science students — one w ith low math experience, the
other with high mathexperience.
math
The female with a
said, "I can't put the chemical properties and the
weak background in
math together."
The
female with a strong background in math said, "The fractions I see in
chem istry class, like in the factor label conversion problems — I never had
this before in other math classes."
The results of this study also show that no significant interactions exist
between gender and math experience regarding chem istry anxiety.
This
finding means that there is no relationship between females with high (or
low)
math experience
and chemistry anxiety and that
there is no relationship
between males with high (or low) math experience and chem istry anxiety.
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Answers
to
the
Research
Q uestions
According to the results o f the data analysis, the answers to
research questions o f
1.
the major
this study can be reported as follow:
Do college students have anxieties about chemicals in
theclassroom or
laboratory and anxieties about chemistry as a subject?
Yes, college students do have anxieties about chemicals in the
laboratory and anxieties
about chemistry as a subject.
the college classroom and laboratory.
classroom or
Chemophobia exists
The phenom enon is real according to
the
students who participated in this study.
2.
What is the extent o f college students' anxieties about chemicalsin the
classroom or laboratory
in
and about chemistry as a subject?
The average level
of chemistry anxiety
that is associated
with learning and
evaluation is statistically the same as the average level of math anxiety as
measured by RMARS.
m oderately
This level of anxiety is between a little bit anxious and
anxious.
Considering the three major components o f chem istry anxiety, college
students
worry m ost
handling
chem icals,
about chem istry-evaluation, som ew hat less
and
worry
least about learning
about
chem istry.
146
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3.
What are the characteristics o f college students who have anxieties about
chemicals in the classroom or laboratory and about chemistry as a subject?
Statistically, both males and females have the same levels of anxieties about
chemicals in the classroom or laboratory and about chem istry as a subject.
Females are more anxious than males about chem istry evaluation.
Chemophobic college students are non-science majors as well as science
majors.
They may have either high or low chemistry experience.
they may have either high or low math experience.
Similarly,
No significant
interactions exist according to the test study data.
4.
What factors may contribute to the anxieties that college students have
about chemicals in the classroom or laboratory and about chemistry as a
su b je c t?
Highest anxiety is associated with chemistry evaluation.
exam contributes to the most anxiety.
Taking the final
Other factors that contribute to feelings
between moderately and quite
a bit anxious are (a)
being given a "pop" quiz in
a chemistry class, (b) taking
a chemistry quiz, (c)
being given a homework
assignm ent of many difficult problems which is due at the next chemistry
class, and (d) solving a difficult problem on a chemistry test.
Both short-
answer essay tests and multiple choice tests make the students anxious.
The major factors that contribute to students' anxiety about handling
chemicals are the following:
(a) getting chemicals on their hands during the
experiment; (b) spilling a chemical; (c) working with acids; (d) working with
unknown chem icals; and (e)
mixing chemicals.
Lighting the Bunsen burner,
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fearing
fire,
and
perform ing
unstructured
laboratory
experim ents
are
other
m ajor factors that contribute to students’ anxieties about working with
chem icals in the lab.
Although lowest anxiety is associated with learning chemistry, there are
many factors that contribute to this anxiety.
The major factors are:
(a) waiting to get a chemistry test returned; (b) reading a chem ical formula;
(c)
interpreting chem ical equations; (d)
reading
charts; and (e) signing up for a chemistry course.
and
interpreting
graphs and
In addition, math is an
exceptionally strong contributor to some college students' anxieties about
learning chem istry!
O ther factors that strongly contribute to
Ieam ing-
chem istry anxiety are having to answer questions in class, trying to keep up
with the fast pace of chemistry, and not being able to see how chemistry
relates to life.
5.
Is there a correlation between college students' anxieties about chemicals in
the classroom or laboratory and college students’ anxieties about chemistry as
a subject?
Yes, there is a significant correlation between college students' anxieties
about chemicals in the classroom or laboratory and college students' anxieties
about chemistry as a subject.
The correlation is .46.
This relationship is
significant at p < .016.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Summary
According to this study, college students may be a little bit to moderately
anxious about learning chem istry, being evaluated
handling chemicals.
The chemophobic students may be males or females.
However, females may be more
situations.
majors.
in chem istry, and
anxious than
males during evaluation
Chemophobic students may be non-science majors or science
Furtherm ore, they may have low or high background experience in
m athem atics
and
chem istry.
When learning chemistry, chemophobic college students may be mostly
worried about waiting to get a chemistry test returned in which they expected
to do well, reading chem ical formulas, interpreting chem ical equations,
reading and interpreting graphs or charts, and signing up for a chem istry
course.
When handling chemicals, chemophobic students may be mostly
worried about getting chemicals
on their hands, spilling a chemical,
with acids and unknowns, and mixing chem icals.
evaluation, the students may be
working
Concerning chemistry
quite worried about taking the final
chem istry
exam, being given a "pop" chemistry quiz, taking a chem istry quiz, being
given homework assignm ent o f many difficult problems which is due the next
chemistry class meeting, and solving a difficult problem on a chemistry test.
The results of this study show that chemophobia appears to be a composite
of Simple Phobia (avoiding lighting matches and the Bunsen burner); Social
Phobia (being afraid to answer questions in class unless certain the answ er is
right); and G eneralized Anxiety Disorder (blanking out, heart beating faster,
chest getting tight).
In addition, chemophobia may be due in part to math
anxiety and test anxiety.
149
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Student
Suggested
Strategies
to
in the College
Reduce
Chem ophobia
Classroom
The study was conducted to provide information that could be used to
develop strategies to reduce the anxiety associated with
learning chem istry
and handling chem icals in the college classroom and laboratory.
D uring the
interviews, the students, who all professed to being highly anxious about
chemistry, suggested several strategies that they felt would lower th eir
chemistry anxiety.
These strategies may need to be tested to determ ine if they
do reduce chemistry anxiety.
Examples o f suggested strategies are listed below
in
summary
form.
1.
Show steps for solving chemistry problems that involve math.
Provide
many examples in class and make sure the students understand before moving
on to a new concept.
2.
Relate the math to the chemistry.
3.
Accompany numbers with many words.
4.
During lectures, show words on the board, overhead, or on handouts.
5.
Show how chemistry applies to life.
6.
Show how chem istry relates to other disciplines.
7.
Emphasize and tell what help is available.
150
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151
8.
Have two help sessions before a test — one early and one right before the
test.
9.
Have tutoring and help sessions conducted by someone knowledgeable.
10.
Build a strong student-teacher relationship.
students and their needs.
Show an understanding of
Be willing to take time with students and get to know
them as individuals.
11.
Provide situations in class where the students and teacher
solve
work together to
problem s.
12.
Use cooperative learning.
13.
Have small class sizes.
14.
Provide a review sheet or study guide of important concepts.
15.
16.
Have groups of about 15 people.
Provide quick comments on homework and worksheets.
Do many demonstrations in class.
(Note:
In the pilot study, the item "W atching a teacher handle the chemicals
during a dem onstration” was eliminated from the scale because it had a
frequency distribution percent value o f 76.3% for the low est anxiety level.)
17.
Grade and give credit for homework problems, reflective writings,
projects, and various kinds o f activities other than tests and quizzes.
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18.
Include formulas and equations on tests and quizzes.
19.
Provide explicit directions both in lab and in the classroom.
Further
R esearch
Q uestions
The study evoked questions for further research.
Some examples are listed
below along with a brief discussion of each.
1.
How much o f chemophobia is actually due to chemistry?
The results of the study suggest that chemophobia may be due in part to
math anxiety and test anxiety as well as Social Phobia, Simple Phobia, and
Generalized Anxiety.
The students may also be anxious about chemistry just
because it is a science and any science makes them nervous.
Furthermore,
some students might be inherently anxious (trait anxiety).
2.
What other factors contribute to chemophobia in the college classroom?
Only 51% of the total variance in the scores o f the DCARS data could be
explained by the factors.
chemophobia.
Therefore, additional factors contribute to
Such factors may be the following:
(a) the challenging nature
o f learning chem istry; (b) the com petitive approach to
(c)
inquiry-based
learning o f chem istry;
(d)
learning chemistry;
self-m otivation;
(e) teacher
personality; (f) success in chemistry; (g) how to study chem istry; (h) how
chemistry is taught; (i) different types of test questions to answer; (j) attitude;
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153
(k) the abstract nature o f some of the concepts; (1) the discipline specific
vocabulary; and (m) relevance, or lack of relevance, to the students' life
e x p e r ie n c e s .
3.
Does background experience in chemistry help to reduce chem istry
anxiety?
If not, why?
The results of the DCARS data suggest that background experience in
chemistry does not help to reduce chemistry anxiety, yet the interview data
suggest the opposite.
The conflict in results and the lack of support in the
literature for the statistical data indicate a need for more research.
4.
Does a significant interaction exist between chemistry experience and
gender
for
H andling-C hem icals
Anxiety?
The test study data do not show such an interaction.
However, the pilot
study data show that for males, anxiety associated with handling chem icals
decreases as chemistry experience increases.
associated
increases.
w ith
handling
chem icals
increases
For females, the anxiety
as chem istry
experience
Although the pilot study was conducted solely to construct a
reliable chem istry anxiety scale, the results of the data analysis for that study
are intriguing.
The results
imply that background experience in chem istry
will not help to reduce the anxiety that females have about handling
chemicals.
This means that teachers may have to use strategies other than
chem istry experience to reduce the anxiety that females have tow ard handling
c h e m ic a ls .
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APPENDICES
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APPENDIX A
THE REVISED MATHEMATICS ANXIETY RATING SCALE
(Plake
Factor
1.
1.
&
Learning-m athem atics
Buying a math textbook.
3.
Reading and interpreting graphs or
4.
Signing up for a course in Statistics.
5.
Listening to another student explain
6.
Walking into a math class.
7.
Looking through the pages on
9.
10.
1982)
anxiety
Watching a teacher work an algebraic equation on the blackboard.
2.
8.
Parker,
charts.
a
math formula.
a math text.
Starting a new chapter in a math book.
W alking
Picking
on campus and thinking about a math course.
up a math textbook
to begin working on
11.
Reading the word "Statistics".
12.
Working on an abstract chemistry problem,
such
bills, and y = total income, calculate how much
a homework assignment.
as "If x = outstanding
you haveleft for
recreational expenditures.
13.
Reading a formula in chemistry.
14.
Listening to a lecture in a math class.
155
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APPENDIX A (CONT'D).
15.
Having to use the tables in the back of a math book.
16.
Being told how to interpret probability statements.
Factor
1.
2.
M athematics
Evaluation
Anxiety
Being given a homework assignment of many difficult problems which
due the next math class meeting.
2. Thinking about an upcoming math test one day
before.
3. Solving a square root problem.
4. Taking an examination (quiz) in a math course.
5. Getting ready to study for a math test.
6. Being given a "pop" quiz in a math class.
7. Waiting to get a math test returned in which you
expected to do well.
8. Taking an examination (final) in a math course.
156
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APPENDIX B
THE ORIGINAL QUESTIONNAIRE BEFORE BEING PRETESTED
Introduction
We are interested in studying w hether students taking chemistry courses
experience concerns and worries about the various activities occurring in the
classroom and chemistry lab.
We will ask you to tell how anxious you might
become when facing certain situations and activities that you could
experience in any of your chemistry classes.
Although there is no immediate personal gain for you, the results of this study
will be valuable for future college students like you are today.
cooperation
are greatly
Your time and
needed and appreciated.
Your participation in the study is totally voluntary, and you may withdraw
from it at any time.
If you choose to withdraw from the study, you may do so
by returning the incomplete forms to the investigator.
There are no known
risks to anyone’s well-being associated with participating in this study.
Should you like to discuss your feelings and opinions any further the
investigator
will
arrange
such
an
opportunity.
157
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APPENDIX B (CONT’D).
The inform ation gathered in the questionnaire will not be reported to anyone
in any manner that personally identifies a participant.
totally anonym ous.
Thus, this survey is
Thank you for your cooperation!
Beginning on the next page you will find a series of situations and activities
that you could experience in any of your chemistry classes.
Please tell how
anxious you m ight become when facing such an occurrence.
Circle the num ber on the rating scale where:
1 means "not at all anxious"
2 means "a little bit anxious"
3 means "m oderately anxious"
4 means "quite a bit anxious"
5 means "extrem ely anxious"
1.
Spilling a chemical.
1
2
Not at all
2.
This makes me anxious . . .
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Reading and interpreting graphs or charts that show the results of a
ch em istry
1
Not at all
ex p erim en t.
2
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
158
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APPENDIX B (CONT'D).
3.
Starting a new chapter in a chem istry book.
1
2
Not at all
4.
A little bit
3
4
Moderately
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Working on an abstract chemistry problem, such as "If x = grams of
hydrogen and y = total grams of w ater produced, calculate the number of
grams o f oxygen that reacted with the hydrogen."
1
2
Not at all
5.
A little bit
2
Not at all
A little bit
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
This makes me anxious . . .
3
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
W aiting to get a chemistry test returned in which you expected to do well.
1
2
Not at all
7.
4
Moderately
Reading a formula in chemistry.
1
6.
3
3
A little bit
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Dissolving a chemical in water.
1
Not at all
2
3
A little bit
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
159
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APPENDIX B (CONT'D).
*.
Picking up
a chem istry textbook to begin working
on a homework
a s s ig n m e n t.
1
Not at all
9.
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
W atching a teacher work a chemistry problem on the blackboard.
1
Not at all
10.
2
Listening
2
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
to another student describe an accident
in the chemistry
lab.
This makes me anxious . . .
1
Not at all
11.
Not at all
Moderately
2
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
for thelaboratory experiment.
4
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
Being given a "pop" quiz in a chemistry class.
1
Not at all
13.
A little bit
3
Being told how to handle the chemicals
1
12.
2
2
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
4
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
W alking into a chem istry class.
1
Not at all
2
A little bit
3
Moderately
160
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APPENDIX B (CONT'D).
14.
Taking an exam ination (quiz) in a chemistry course.
1
Not at
15.
2
all
Not at
2
all
Not at
A little bit
2
all
Quite a bit
3
This makes me anxious.
4
Moderately
Extremely
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
A little bit
3
4
Moderately
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Signing up for a chemistry course.
1
Not at
18.
Moderately
5
Getting ready to study for a chemistry test.
1
17.
4
Being told how to interpret chemical equations.
1
16.
A little bit
3
2
all
A little bit
3
4
Moderately
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Being given a homework assignment of many difficult problems which
due the next chem istry class meeting.
1
Not at
19.
2
all
A little bit
3
4
Moderately
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Working with acids in the lab.
1
Not at
2
all
A little bit
3
4
Moderately
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
161
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APPENDIX B (CONT’D).
20.
Listening to a lecture on chemicals.
1
Not at all
21.
Not at all
Not at all
Not at all
Quite a bit
Extremely
2
A little bit
3
4
Moderately
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
2
A little bit
3
4
Moderately
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
2
A little bit
3
4
Moderately
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
W eighing a chemical on the balance.
1
Not at all
25.
Moderately
5
Looking through the pages in a chemistry text.
1
24.
4
Having to use the tables in a chemistry book.
1
23.
A little bit
3
G etting chem icals on your hands during the experiment.
1
22.
2
This makes me anxious . . .
2
A little bit
3
4
Moderately
Quite a bit
Solving a difficult problem on a chemistry test.
1
Not at all
2
A little bit
3
5
This makes me anxious
4
Moderately
Extremely
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
162
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APPENDIX B (CONT'D).
26.
Reading the word "chemical".
1
Not at all
27.
Not at all
Not at all
Not at all
Quite a bit
2
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
Extremely
5
Quite a bit
2
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
Extremely
5
Quite a bit
2
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
Extremely
Not at all
2
A little bit
3
Moderately
5
Quite a bit
M ixing chemical reagents in the laboratory.
1
31.
5
W orking with a chem ical whose identity you don't know.
1
30.
Moderately
4
Reading the word "chemistry”.
1
29.
A little bit
3
Breathing the air in the chem istry laboratory.
1
28.
2
Extremely
This makes me anxious
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
W alking on campus and thinking about a chemistry course.
1
Not at all
2
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
163
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APPENDIX B (CONT’D).
32.
Heating a chemical in the Bunsen burner flame.
1
Not at
33.
2
all
Not at
2
all
Not at
all
Moderately
A little bit
3
Moderately
Walking into a chemistry laboratory.
Not at all
Quite a bit
Extremely
4
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
2
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
This makes me anxious . . .
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
W atching a teacher handle the chemicals during a dem onstration.
1
Not at all
37.
A little bit
3
2
1
36.
5
W alking on campus and thinking about chem istry lab.
1
35.
Moderately
4
Taking an examination (final) in a chemistry course.
1
34.
A little bit
3
2
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Buying a chemistry textbook.
1
Not at all
2
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
164
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APPENDIX B (CONT'D).
38.
Thinking about an upcoming chem istry test one day before.
1
2
Not at all
39.
A little bit
4
Moderately
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
Listening to another student explain a chemical reaction.
1
2
Not at all
40.
3
3
A little bit
4
Moderately
Quite a bit
Listening to a lecture in a chemistry class.
1
2
Not at all
3
A little bit
5
This makes me anxious . . .
4
Moderately
5
Quite a bit
We are now interested in obtaining some demographics.
question and circle
the
appropriate
Extremely
Extremely
Please read each
number.
41. How many courses in math did you take in high school?
0
42.
1
2
3
4
5
6
or more
How many courses in math have you taken in college including this
s e m e s te r?
0
43.
1
2
3
4
5
6
or more
How many courses in chemistry did you take in high school?
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
or more
165
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APPENDIX B (CONT'D).
44.
How many courses in chemistry have you taken in college including this
semester?
0
45.
1
2
3
4
5
6 or more
Are you now or have you ever repeated a chemistry course?
1 Yes
2. No
46.
What is your major?__________________________________________________
47.
What year in college are you?
48.
1.
Freshman
2.
Sophomore
3.
Junior
4.
Senior
5.
Graduate
What is your gender?
1. Male
2.
49.
Female
What is your age?_____________
Thank you again for your cooperation and time!
166
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APPENDIX C
FACTOR 1 LEARNING-CHEMISTRY ANXIETY ITEMS RANKED IN
DESCENDING ORDER OF MEAN ANXIETY LEVEL
(Pilot
Study)
Item
Mean
Standard
Anxiety
Deviation
Level
Q.15
Being told how to interpret chemical
2.32
1.15
2.28
1.30
e q u a tio n s .
0-17
Signing up for a chemistry course.
0 .5
Reading a formula in chemistry.
2.24
1.12
Q.2
Reading and interpreting graphs or charts
2.13
.94
showing the results
of a chemistry experiment.
0-3
Starting a new chapter in a chemistry book.
2.12
1.06
Q.8
Picking up a chemistry textbook to begin
2.09
1.14
1.88
1.24
1.78
.96
1.77
1.02
working on a hom ew ork assignment.
0-37
Q.9
on
0-13
Buying a chem istry textbook.
Watching a teacher work a chemistry problem
the
blackboard.
Walking into a chemistry class.
167
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APPENDIX C (CONT'D).
Item
Mean
Standard
Anxiety
Deviation
Level
Q.31
Walking on campus and thinking about a
chem istry
Q.34
1.07
1.75
1.05
co u rse.
W alking on campus and thinking about
chem istry
1.75
lab.
0.40
Listening to a lecture in a chemistry class.
1.74
1.01
Q.39
Listening to another student explain a
1.68
.92
chem ical
reactio n .
0-22
Having to use the tables in a chemistry book.
1.68
.85
0.20
Listening to a lecture on chemicals.
1.58
.93
Q.23
Looking through the pages in a chemistry
1.57
.93
Reading the word "chemistry".
1.48
.85
text.
0 28
168
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APPENDIX D
FACTOR 2 CHEMISTRY-EVALUATION ANXIETY ITEMS RANKED IN
DESCENDING ORDER OF MEAN ANXIETY LEVEL
(Pilot
Study)
Item
Mean
Standard
Anxiety
Deviation
Level
Q.33
Taking an exam ination (final) in a chemistry
4.22
1.17
3.97
1.19
c o u rs e .
Q.6
W aiting to get a chemistry test returned in
which you expected to do well.
0.12
Being given a "pop” quiz in a chemistry class.
3.77
1.26
Q.14
Taking an examination (quiz) in a chemistry
3.72
1.32
3.65
1.33
Solving a difficult problem on a chemistry
3.48
1.29
Being given a homework assignment o f many
3.31
1.28
c o u rs e .
Q.38
Thinking about an upcoming chemistry test
one day before.
Q.25
test.
Q.18
difficult problem s which is due the next chemistry
class
m eeting.
169
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APPENDIX D (CONT'D).
Item
Mean
Standard
Anxiety
Deviation
Level
0.16
Getting ready to study for a chemistry test.
3.30
1.39
Q.4
Working on an abstract chemistry problem,
2.68
1.21
such as "If x = grams o f hydrogen and y = total
grams of w ater produced, calculate the number of
grams o f oxygen that reacted with the hydrogen."
170
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APPENDIX E
FACTOR 3 HANDLING-CHEMICALS ANXIETY ITEMS RANKED IN
DESCENDING ORDER OF MEAN ANXIETY LEVEL
(Pilot
Study)
Item
Mean
Standard
Anxiety
Deviation
Level
Q.21
Getting chemicals on your hands during the
2.85
1.12
e x p e rim e n t.
Q.l
Spilling a chemical.
2.40
.96
0.19
Working with acids in the lab.
2.31
1.07
Q.10
Listening to another student describe an
2.20
1.12
2.18
1.02
Heating a chem ical in the Bunsen burner
2.05
.94
Mixing chemical reagents in the laboratory.
1.99
.97
accident in the chem istry lab.
Q.29
Working with a chemical whose identity you
don’t know.
Q.32
flam e.
0.30
171
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APPENDIX E (CONT'D).
Item
Mean
Standard
Anxiety
Deviation
Level
Q .ll
the
Being told how to handle the chemicals for
laboratory
1.91
.91
experim ent.
0 .3 5
Walking into a chemistry laboratory.
1.77
.96
Q.27
Breathing the air in the chem istry
1.51
.85
la b o ra to r y .
172
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APPENDIX F
THE REVISED, VALIDATED QUESTIONNAIRE
Introduction
We are interested in studying whether students taking chem istry courses
experience concerns and worries about the various activities occurring in the
classroom and chemistry lab.
become when facing certain
We willask you to tell how anxious you might
situations and activities that you could
experience in any o f your chem istry classes.
Although there is no immediate personal gain for you, the results o f this study
will be valuable for future college students like you are today.
cooperation
are greatly
Your time and
needed and appreciated.
Your participation in the study is totally voluntary, and you may withdraw
from it at any time.
If you
by returning the incomplete
choose to withdraw from the study, you may do so
forms to the investigator.
There are no
known
risks to anyone's w ell-being associated with participating in this study.
Should you like to discuss your feelings and opinions any further the
investigator will
arrange
such
an
opportunity.
173
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APPENDIX F (CONT’D).
The inform ation gathered in the questionnaire will not be reported to anyone
in any m anner that personally identifies a participant.
totally anonymous.
Thus, this survey is
Thank you for your cooperation!
Beginning on the next page you will find a series o f situations and activities
that you could experience in any of your chemistry classes.
Please tell how
anxious you might becom e when facing such an occurrence.
Circle the number on the rating scale where:
1 means "not at all anxious"
2 means ”a little bit anxious"
3 means "moderately anxious"
4 means "quite a bit anxious"
5 means "extremely anxious"
1.
Spilling a chemical.
1
Not at all
2.
This makes me anxious . . .
2
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Reading and interpreting graphs or charts that show the results of a
ch em istry
1
Not at all
ex p erim en t.
2
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
174
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APPENDIX F (CONT'D).
3.
Starting a new chapter in a chemistry book.
1
Not at
4.
2
all
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
Working on an abstract chemistry problem, such as "If x = grams of
hydrogen and y = total grams of water produced, calculate the number of
grams of oxygen that reacted with the hydrogen."
1
Not at
5.
2
all
Not at
2
all
A little bit
4
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
This makes me anxious . . .
3
Moderately
4
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
W aiting to get a chemistry test returned in which you expected to do well.
1
Not at
7.
Moderately
Reading a formula in chemistry.
1
6.
A little bit
3
2
all
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
Picking up a chemistry textbook to begin working on a homework
assignment.
1
Not at
2
all
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
175
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APPENDIX F (CONT'D).
8.
Watching a teacher work a chem istry problem on the blackboard.
1
Not at
9.
2
all
4
Moderately
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Listening to another student describe an accident in the chemistry lab.
1
Not at
10.
A litde bit
3
2
all
A little bit
3
4
Moderately
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Being told how to handle the chem icals for the laboratory experiment.
This makes me anxious . . .
1
Not at
11.
2
all
Not at
2
all
Moderately
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
A little bit
3
4
Moderately
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Walking into a chemistry class.
1
Not at
13.
4
Being given a "pop" quiz in a chemistry class.
1
12.
A little bit
3
2
all
A little bit
3
4
Moderately
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Taking an examination (quiz) in a chemistry course.
1
Not at
2
all
A little bit
3
4
Moderately
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
176
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APPENDIX F (CONT'D).
14.
Being told how to interpret chemical equations.
1
2
Not at all
15.
A little bit
2
Not at all
A little bit
3
Moderately
5
Quite a bit
Extremely
This makes me anxious. . .
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Signing up for a chem istry course.
1
2
Not at all
17.
Moderately
4
Getting ready to study for a chemistry test.
1
16.
3
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Being given a homework assignment o f many difficult problems which
due the next chem istry class meeting.
1
2
Not at all
18.
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Working with acids in the lab.
1
Not at all
19.
A little bit
3
2
3
A little bit
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Listening to a lecture on chemicals.
1
Not at all
2
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
177
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APPENDIX F (CONT'D).
20.
Getting chemicals on your hands during the experiment.
This makes me
anxious . . .
1
2
Not at all
21.
A little bit
A little bit
3
4
Moderately
2
Not at all
A little bit
Extremely
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
3
4
Moderately
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Solving a difficult problem on a chemistry test.
1
2
Not at all
A little bit
3
4
Moderately
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Breathing the air in the chemistry laboratory.
1
2
Not at all
25.
Quite a bit
5
Looking through the pages in a chemistry text.
1
24.
Moderately
2
Not at all
23.
4
Having to use the tables in a chemistry book.
1
22.
3
3
A little bit
Moderately
Reading the word "chemistry".
1
Not at all
2
4
Extremely
This makes me anxious . . .
3
A little bit
Quite a bit
5
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
178
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APPENDIX F (CONT'D).
26.
W orking with a chemical whose identity you don't know.
1
2
Not at all
27.
A little bit
2
Not at all
A little bit
3
Moderately
2
Not at all
Extremely
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
A little bit
3
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Heating a chem ical in the Bunsen burner flame.
1
Not at all
30.
Quite a bit
5
Walking on campus and thinking about a chemistry course.
1
29.
Moderately
4
Mixing chem ical reagents in the laboratory.
1
28.
3
2
3
A little bit
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Taking an exam ination (final) in a chemistry course.
This makes me anxious . . .
1
Not at all
31.
2
A little bit
3
4
Moderately
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
W alking on campus and thinking about chemistry lab.
1
Not at all
2
A little bit
3
4
Moderately
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
179
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APPENDIX F (CONT'D).
32.
W alking into a chemistry laboratory.
1
Not at all
33.
Not at all
bit
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
2
A little
3
bit
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Thinking about an upcoming chemistry test one day before.
1
Not at all
35.
A little
3
Buying a chemistry textbook.
1
34.
2
2
A little
3
bit
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Listening to another student explain a chemical reaction.
This makes me
anxious . . .
1
Not at all
36.
2
A little
3
bit
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
Listening to a lecture in a chemistry class.
1
Not at all
2
A little
3
bit
Moderately
4
Quite a bit
5
Extremely
180
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APPENDIX F (CONT'D).
We are now interested in obtaining some demographics.
question
and
circle
the appropriate
Please read each
number.
37. How many courses in math did you take in high school?
0
38.
1
2
3
4
5
6 or more
How many courses in math have you taken in college including this
s e m e s te r?
0
39.
2
3
4
5
6 or more
How many courses in chemistry did you take in high school?
0
40.
1
1
2
3
4
5
6 or more
How many courses in chemistry have you taken in college including this
semester?
0
41.
I
2
3
4
5
6 or more
Have you ever repeated a chemistry course in high school?
1 Yes
2. No
42.
Are you now repeating a first year introductory chemistry course?
1 Yes
2. No
181
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APPENDIX F (CONT'D).
43.
Are you currently enrolled in a college or university other than IUP?
1 Yes
2. No
44.
What is your major?.__________________________________________________
45.
What year in college are you?
46.
1.
Freshman
2.
Sophomore
3.
Junior
4.
Senior
5.
Graduate
What is your gender?
1. Male
2.
47.
Female
What is your age?_____________
Thank you again for your cooperation and time!
182
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APPENDIX G
INTERVIEW GUIDE
Introduction:
We are interested in studying whether students taking chemistry courses
experience concerns and worries about the various activities occurring in the
classroom and chemistry lab.
You will be asked to talk about the concerns and
worries that you have while taking a chemistry course.
Although there is no personal gain for you, the results of this study will be
valuable for future college students like you are today.
cooperation
are greatly
Your time and
needed and appreciated.
Your participation in this study is totally voluntary, and you may withdraw
from it at any time.
me know.
If you choose to stop the interview at any time, please let
Any data that had been acquired will be destroyed.
There are no
known risks to anyone’s well-being associated with participating in this study.
183
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APPENDIX G (CONT'D).
For the sake o f objectivity and accuracy, I would like to tape record the
interview.
However, the inform ation gathered during this interview will not
be reported to anyone in any manner that personally identifies you.
this interview
If you agree
is
fully confidential.
to continue with the
I deeply appreciate your time
I n te r v i e w
Thus,
and
interview, please sign the consent form.
cooperation!
q u e s tio n s :
1. Is there anything that you are afraid of, or worry about, while you are
learning chemistry in the classroom?
Prompt Q uestions:
a.
Is there a particular topic, area of study, or activity associated with
learning chemistry that causes you to be exceptionally worried?
b.
What is this topic, area of study, or activity?
c.
Why does it cause you to be exceptionally worried?
184
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APPENDIX G (CONT'D).
2.
Do you worry about anything when you are handling the chemicals in the
laboratory?
Prom pt Q uestion:
a.
What do you s p e c ific a lly worry about when you are handling the
chemicals in the laboratory?
b.
Is there anything associated with the chemicals in the classroom or
laboratory that causes you to be exceptionally worried?
c.
d.
3.
What is it?
Why does it cause you to be exceptionally worried?
Have you ever had a bad experience that has made you worry about
learning chemistry or using chemicals in the lab?
Prom pt Question:
a.
If so, please tell me about this experience and how it affected you.
185
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APPENDIX G (CONT'D).
4.
Do you know of someone who has had a bad experience learning chemistry?
Prom pt Q uestions:
5.
a.
What is the relationship of that person
to you?
b.
What was the bad experience?
c.
How did it make you feel about learning chemistry?
Do you know someone who has had a bad experience handling chemicals in
the laboratory?
Prom pt Q uestions:
a.
What is the relationship of that person
to you?
b.
W hat was the bad experience?
c.
How did this bad experience make you feel about handling
chemicals?
186
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APPENDIX G (CONT'D)
6.
Has anyone ever said anything to you that has caused you to worry about
learning chemistry?
Prom pt Questions:
a.
If so, who was this person?
A friend, just another student (a peer),
a
member of your family (mother, father, sibling, other), or somebody
you heard on TV or the radio?
b.
7.
W hat was said that caused you to worry about learning chemistry?
Has anyone ever said anything to you that has caused you to worry about
handling chemicals in the laboratory?
Prom pt Questions:
a.
If so, who was this person?
A friend, just another student (a peer),
a
member of your family (mother, father, sibling, other), or somebody
you heard on TV or the radio?
b.
8.
What was said that caused you to worry about handling chemicals?
W ould you describe yourself as being generally anxious?
187
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APPENDIX H
INFORMED CONSENT FORM
(For
The
Interview )
I, (please print name)_____________________________________________________, give
permission
to Roberta M. Eddy, doctoral candidate at the University of
Pittsburgh,
to tape record an interview to determ ine
and worries about talcing a chemistry course.
the level of my concerns
I also give permission to her to
use the content of the audio tapes for dissertation research and possible
publication
purposes.
I understand that there are no risks to my well-being.
I
also understand that my participation in the study is totally voluntary and that
I may withdraw without penalty at any time.
Furtherm ore, I understand that
the inform ation gathered during this interview will not be stored or reported
to anyone
in any manner that personally identifies me as a participant.
my responses
are fully confidential.
S ig n a tu re ___________________________________________________________
Date_______________________
188
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Thus,
APPENDIX H (CONT’D).
I certify that I have explained to the above individual the nature and purpose,
the potential benefits, and possible risks associated w ith participating in this
research study, have answ ered any questions that have been raised, and have
witnessed
the above
Investigato r's
signature.
S ig n atu re _____________________________________________
Date________________________
This project has been approved by the Indiana U niversity of Pennsylvania
Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects (Phone:
412/357-2223) and by The School of Education Human Subjects Review
Committee at the U niversity of Pittsburgh.
189
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APPENDIX I
FACTOR 1 LEARNING-CHEMISTRY ANXIETY ITEMS RANKED IN
DESCENDING ORDER OF MEAN ANXIETY LEVEL
(Test
Study)
Item
Mean
Standard
Anxiety
Deviation
Level
Q.6
Waiting to get a chemistry test returned in
3.39
1.18
which you expected to do well.
0-5
Reading a formula in chemistry.
2.36
.97
Q.14
Being told how to interpret chemical
2.25
1.08
2.19
1.05
e q u a tio n s .
Q.2
Reading and interpreting graphs or charts
that show the results o f a chem istry experiment.
0 .16
Signing up for a chemistry course.
2.17
1.24
0.12
Walking into a chemistry class.
2.05
.95
Q.7
Picking up a chemistry textbook to begin
2.00
.84
working
on a homework assignm ent.
0.21
Having to use the tables in a chemistry book.
1.92
.93
0 .3 2
Walking into a chemistry laboratory.
1.91
.97
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
APPENDIX I (CONT’D).
Item
Mean
Standard
Anxiety
Deviation
Level
Q.8
Watching a teacher work a chemistry problem
1.89
.94
1.89
1.14
1.80
.89
on the blackboard.
Q.31
W alking on campus and thinking about
chem istry
Q.35
lab.
Listening to another student explain a
chem ical
reaction.
0 .3
Starting a new chapter in a chemistry book.
1.73
.860
Q.28
Walking on campus and thinking about a
1.72
1.05
chem istry
course.
0.19
Listening to a lecture on chemicals.
1.70
.95
Q.22
Looking through the pages in a chemistry
1.64
.86
0-36
Listening to a lecture in chemistry class.
1.61
.79
0-25
Reading the word "chemistry".
1.45
.87
0-33
Buying a chemistry textbook.
1.31
.66
text.
191
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APPENDIX J
FACTOR 2 HANDLING-CHEMICALS ANXIETY ITEMS RANKED IN
DESCENDING ORDER OF MEAN ANXIETY LEVEL
(Test
Study)
Item
Mean
Standard
Anxiety
Deviation
Level
Q.20
Getting chemicals on your hands during the
2.72
1.10
e x p e rim e n t.
0.1
Spilling a chemical.
2.59
1.03
0.18
Working with acids in the lab.
2.50
1.22
Q.26
Working with a chemical whose identity you
2.38
.95
don’t know.
0-27
Mixing chem ical reagents in the laboratory.
2.30
.97
Q.10
Being told how to handle the chemicals for
2.02
1.00
the
laboratory
experim ent.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
APPENDIX J (CONT'D).
Item
Mean
Standard
Anxiety
Deviation
Level
Q.29
H eating a chemical in the Bunsen burner
1.97
.94
Listening to another student describe an
1.80
.88
1.53
.80
fla m e .
Q.9
accident in the chem istry lab.
Q.24
Breathing the air in the chemistry
la b o ra to ry .
193
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APPENDIX K
FACTOR 3 CHEMISTRY-EVALUATION ANXIETY ITEMS RANKED IN
DESCENDING ORDER OF MEAN ANXIETY LEVEL
(Test
Study)
Item
Mean
Standard
Anxiety
Deviation
Level
Q.30
Taking an examination (final) in a chemistry
3.60
1.26
0.11
Being given a "pop" quiz in a chemistry class.
3.47
1.21
Q.13
Taking an examination (quiz) in a chemistry
3.23
1.15
Being given a homework assignment o f many
3.17
1.18
course.
course.
Q.17
difficult problems which is due the next chem istry
class
meeting.
Q.23
Solving a difficult problem on a chemistry
3.10
1.17
Thinking about an upcom ing chemistry test
2.98
1.20
te st.
Q.34
one day before.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
APPENDIX K (CONT’D).
Item
Mean
Standard
Anxiety
Deviation
Level
Q.4
Working on an abstract chemistry problem,
2.88
1.25
2.53
1.22
such as "If x = grams of hydrogen and y = total
grams o f water produced, calculate the number of
grams o f oxygen that reacted with the hydrogen."
0-15
Getting ready to study for a chemistry test.
195
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BIBLIOGRAPHY
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