Learning Community Effects on First-Year Student Success in a General Chemistry Course
Author(s): Barrows, S., & Goodfellow, M.
Citation: Barrows, S., & Goodfellow, M. (2005). Learning Community Effects on First-Year Student Success in a General Chemistry Course. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 17(2), 11-22.
The Schuylkill Campus of Penn State University established a learning community of students connected through the First-Year Seminar (FYS) and first-semester general chemistry. This science-based learning community was created to address the 35% attrition rate for science, math, and engineering students between their first and second years. Desired outcomes included improved retention and grades in first-semester general chemistry and an increased number of students continuing on to higher-level chemistry classes. Findings suggest that the learning community model employed had the desired retention effect. This paper describes all the elements involved in creating the learning community, the FYS curriculum, and student-outcome results.