Student Understanding of Chemistry Concepts Related To Climate Science: A Survey for Use in Chemistry and Liberal Arts Courses

Adam Zabih, Purdue University


A survey was developed, implemented, and analyzed that assessed student understanding and their confidence in their understanding of chemistry concepts related to climate change. The survey is based upon interviews conducted with general chemistry students that identified their understanding towards climate science (Versprille & Towns, 2015) The survey was also refined through iterative implementations. The survey has 29 questions composed of 12 paired questions with the first pertaining to chemistry or the chemistry related to climate science followed by a question probing the student’s confidence in his/her response and five questions about the impacts of climate change. Analysis of the results of the survey given to 276 general chemistry students at a large mid-western research institution will be presented. The survey can be used for assessing student understanding of the chemistry associated with climate science and their associated confidence in this understanding and thus can impact upon faculty’s approach to teaching this content in general chemistry and liberal arts courses. Suggestions for implementation will be discussed.




Towns, Purdue University.

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