Wow! Just as I was doubting the efficacy of the flipped classroom in an general chemistry class at an open-enrollment college, Test 3 results squelched my doubts.
Test 3 consisted of solution chemistry. Topics included electrolytes, precipitation reactions, net ionic reactions, molarity, solution stoichiometry, redox, and titrations. The emphasis was primarily on problem-solving. I was nervous as many of my students were not very comfortable with taking a “word problem” and converting it to a mathematical statement to solve. Further, there was only about 3 weeks since the last test. But, I had record numbers of students attending office hours this past week which gave me more time to spend talking about problem-solving.
And boy did their efforts pay off…. The median on Test 3 was an 81%. 35% of the students earned an A on Test 3! The grades ranged from a 29-100%. Compare this to the lecture class from Fall 2012 where only 16% of the students earned an A on the same test.
However, about 35% of the students earned Ds and Fs on Test 3 in both the lecture (Fall 2012) and flipped classroom (Fall 2013). From this, I will go out on a limb with this conclusion: The flipped classroom is helping the higher performing students (more self-regulated, directed learner), but not the less motivated/prepared/struggling student. I am not seeing an increase in success for the less motivated student. In fact, the grade distribution is more polar and has an almost inverted bell-curve. View the graphical results here.
I plan on asking the students for feedback regarding how they prepared for this test compared to previous tests. There was not as much “memorizing” information like naming, molecular geometry, etc. Maybe they just buckled down and studied harder. I’m hoping they will be candid with me.
I’m looking forward to the next few weeks as we wrap up the semester and prepare for the final exam. I hope they see the benefits of the flipped classroom and are willing to tell me what works and what doesn’t work. I love to learn from my students and continue to change what I do based on their input. By the time I’m ready to retire, I might perfect this thing called teaching.