Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Mlsna, Debra Ann

Committee Member

Emerson, Joseph P.

Committee Member

Gwaltney, Steven R.

Committee Member

Mlsna, Todd E.

Committee Member

Wei, Tianlan (Elaine)

Other Advisors or Committee Members

Stokes, Sean L.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Chemistry


Student success in chemistry has been linked to a wide range of factors. Some of these factors are familiar, easily quantified measures; colleges typically rely on factors like high school GPA and measures of aptitude to make admission decisions or set course prerequisites. Success in chemistry courses can be linked to these measures, and math aptitude scores in particular are often used as prerequisites for introductory chemistry courses. However, success in chemistry can also be affected by factors like motivation, peer interactions, sense of belonging, and metacognitive skill. Additionally, outcomes in chemistry and other STEM courses like math and physics have been repeatedly found to be inequitable.

In Chapter I, background information relevant to the subsequent chapters will be discussed. In Chapter II, group quizzes were implemented as a collaborative learning tool in a large-lecture format first-semester organic chemistry classroom. Chapter III describes a multifaceted scholarship support program for chemistry, physics, and math majors. This program strove to support traditionally underrepresented groups in chemistry through several components, including a team-building course and mentorship. Heavy emphasis was placed on building a peer support network. In Chapter IV, confidence surveys were implemented to encourage student metacognitive monitoring. Student success and confidence were assessed through three scopes: as they pertained to the overall course, by exam, and by individual topic.