Supporting the development of quantitative skills in first year chemistry


  • Alison Beavis University of Technology, Sydney
  • Antony Baker University of Technology, Sydney


To address the deficiencies in student quantitative skills, an extensive project was implemented during 2012 in a large enrolment first year chemistry subject. An initial exercise involved an extensive survey of all students to determine the diversity of the student cohort. Students also completed a diagnostic test which was developed to facilitate self-diagnosis of concepts that were particularly challenging. A collection of tutorial materials were prepared to assist students in developing their quantitative skills. These materials included a support booklet entitled “Maths for Chemistry – Essential Skills for First Year Chemistry” which was disseminated to all students. The aim of the booklet was to assist students who did not satisfy the level of assumed knowledge, but also to act a refresher for all students. Online self-test quizzes were generated for each topic, allowing students to focus on particular concepts that were hindering their understanding of chemistry. This project was one of numerous initiatives implemented by the School of Chemistry and Forensic Science with the overall result a significant improvement in the pass rate of the subject, and based on focus groups conducted at the end of Autumn 2012, a more enriched learning experience for students.

Author Biographies

Alison Beavis, University of Technology, Sydney

Director of Undergraduate Programs Senior Lecturer School of Chemistry and Forensic Science

Antony Baker, University of Technology, Sydney

Professor of Chemistry Head of School School of Chemistry and Forensic Science