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The impact of several demographic factors on chemistry laboratory anxiety and self-efficacy in students’ first year of university


The transition from high school to tertiary education can be a daunting prospect for students. The prospect of laboratories, an unfamiliar environment, for students, can increase levels of anxiety. Moreover, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that students’ self-efficacy is inversely correlated with students’ anxiety. We surveyed students at the start and end of a semester to evaluate levels of anxiety and self-efficacy in relation to several aspects of the chemistry laboratory. Time management and answering assessed questions are the aspects that contribute to high levels of anxiety and low levels of self-efficacy at the start of semester. Students generally reported lower anxiety and higher self-efficacy at the end of the semester about every aspect probed. These results are of interest to any discipline that offers an unfamiliar learning environment for students as aspects such as time management and answering assessed questions are not discipline specific. We investigated the different aspects of anxiety and self-efficacy in relation to various demographic factors.

Published: 2019-03-07
Pages:87 to 98

Author Biographies

University of Western Australia
Australia Australia

Cara Rummey is a master’s candidate at the University of Western Australia. She is currently investigating the use of pre-laboratory activities as an intervention to reduce students’ chemistry laboratory anxiety.

Dr Tristan Clemons is an NHMRC Australian Peter Doherty Biomedical Research Fellow where his research interests focus on the development of nanomaterials for drug delivery applications ranging from cancer to wound healing. Dr Clemons is also highly interested in understanding what motivates students to study chemistry and ways in which we can aid student transition into the university chemistry setting.

Dr Dino Spagnoli is a lecturer and coordinator of first year studies in chemistry and biochemistry in the School of Molecular Sciences at the University of Western Australia. He teaches many topics of first year chemistry as well as industrial chemistry to final year students. His main research interests are in developing pre-laboratory activities for chemistry laboratories and developing strategies to increase students self-efficacy in chemistry laboratories.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2205-0795