Analysis of student performance in peer led undergraduate supplements

Gardner, L. M. (2015). Analysis of student performance in peer led undergraduate supplements. (Ph.D. Dissertation), University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.  Retrieved from

Foundations of Chemistry courses at the University of Kansas have traditionally accommodated  nearly 1,000 individual  students every year with a single course in a large lecture hall.  To develop  a more student-centered learning atmosphere, Peer Led Undergraduate Supplements (PLUS) were introduced  to  assist  students,  starting  in  the  spring  of  2010.    PLUS  was  derived  from the  more well-known Peer-Led  Team  Learning  with  modifications  to  meet  the  specific  needs  of  the university and the students.  The  yearlong  investigation  of  PLUS  Chemistry  began  in  the  fall  of  2012  to  allow  for adequate  development  of  materials  and  training  of  peer  leaders.    We  examined  the  impact  of academic achievement for students who attended PLUS sessions while controlling for high school GPA, math ACT scores, credit hours earned in high school, completion of calculus, gender, and those aspiring to bepharmacists (i.e., pre-pharmacy students).  In a least linear squares multiple regression,  PLUS  participants  performed  on  average  one  percent  higher  on  exam  scores  for Chemistry 184  and  four  tenths  of  a  percent  on  Chemistry  188  for  each  PLUS  session  attended. Pre-pharmacy  students  moderated  the  effect  of  PLUS  attendance  on  chemistry  achievement, ultimately negating any relative gain associated by attending PLUS sessions.  Evidence of gender difference was demonstrated in the Chemistry 188 model, indicating females experience a greater benefit from PLUS sessions.  Additionally,  an  item  analysis  studied  the  relationship  between  PLUS  material  to individual  items  on  exams.    The  research  discovered  that  students  who  attended  PLUS  session, answered  the  items correctly  10  to  20  percent  more  than  their  comparison  group  for  PLUS interrelated items and no difference to 10 percent for non-PLUS related items.   In summary, PLUS has a positive effect on exam performance in introductory chemistry courses at the University of Kansas.

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