This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Impact on Student Academic Performance of a Self-Directed Primer E-Book in a Follow-On Organic Chemistry Course




Ali, Syed Asim

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


Retention of knowledge from school courses has long been a concern of educators and administrators. Bahrick (1979) offered the general sentiment that “much of the information acquired in classrooms is lost soon after final examinations” (p. 297). This negative outcome is exhibited in curriculum that feature course sequences, where mastery of concepts from the first course is required to achieve success in the follow-on course. This quasi-experimental, quantitative study measured the impact of developing a primer e-book delivered using self-directed learning, a key concept of adult education, to students who enroll in the second organic chemistry course in a two-semester sequence. Demographic and achievement data including gender, race, admission type, cumulative GPA, standardized test scores, academic major, and grade in Organic Chemistry I were retrieved for students who attempted Organic Chemistry II over 13 terms between Fall 2014 and Fall 2018 (N = 2,099). Students in several sections (N = 1,279) were provided a self-directed primer e-book with key concepts from the previous course. For research question 1, backward elimination regression was used to determine which factors significantly impacted student performance on a comprehensive final exam. For research question 2, those factors were controlled and a hierarchical multiple regression was used to determine if use of the e-book had a significant impact on the comprehensive final exam score. For research question 3, ANCOVA was used to determine if using the self-directed primer e-book disproportionately impacted student performance based on gender or grade in Organic Chemistry I.