Academic journal article Higher Education Studies

Case Study of How Turkish University Students Improve Their Biochemistry Achievement

Academic journal article Higher Education Studies

Case Study of How Turkish University Students Improve Their Biochemistry Achievement

Article excerpt


Biochemistry courses have an important place as a common subject in faculties of medicine, food engineering, biology and chemistry. MSLQ, Metacognitive Awareness Inventory and Learning Approach Questionnaire were used. The study also involves repeated observations of the same instructor in a biochemistry class over eight weeks to describe students' academic performance, instructor practice, teaching methods and generally, learning environment in the biochemistry class. Students achieving the two highest scores, two average scores and the two lowest scores from biochemistry exams were selected for in-depth interviews and results demonstrated that self-efficacy, intrinsic goal orientation, task-value, cognitive strategies such as critical thinking ability and elaboration, metacognitive self-regulated strategies and effort regulation may have a considerable importance in students' biochemistry achievement. Results of the study also revealed that levels of students' awareness of what and how they monitor in their biochemistry learning process has an important effect on their biochemistry success.

Keywords: metacognitive awareness, motivational beliefs, learning strategies

1. Introduction

Biochemistry has an important role to understand common topics in medicine, chemistry and biology curriculum. Especially, the interrelationships between biology and chemistry subjects, like chemical reactions in our body are the main function to keep us alive. Students in the department of biology and chemistry should recognize the fundamental importance of biochemistry, because they have to use their biochemistry knowledge to understand developments in biotechnology, natural sciences, health sciences, nutrition and environmental events. Therefore, this study aims to identify the factors leading to the failure of students to achieve acceptable levels of understanding in biochemistry courses.

For many years, educational researchers have continued to show factors affecting the students' science achievements and most of the studies were conducted to improve students' science achievement by taking into account of students' conceptual development and cognitive processes, metacognition, motivational beliefs and teaching/leaming strategies (Diseth, 2011; Sungur & Gungoren, 2009; Warr & Downing, 2000). In recent studies, it was stated that learning how to learn in science is very important to have effective science education to develop students' scientific literacy (Englert et al., 2009). Motivational and learning strategies, which are directly related with the skills of learning how to leam, have an imperative role in all educational systems (Warr & Downing, 2000; Wolters, 1998). Successful and effective science education depends on how much students are using their motivational and self-regulated learning strategies while studying the science in general (Pokay & Blumenfeld, 1990). Wolters and Rosenthal (2000) stated that students who are highly motivated about performance in the classroom are more successful than students who are less motivated in the lectures.

The components of students' motivational beliefs can be listed basically as goal orientations, task value, control beliefs, self efficacy and test anxiety (Pintrich & De Groot, 1990). Looking at the research evidence cited in the literature, it is understood that each motivational variables can be used to predict students' achievements (Sungur & Gungoren, 2009; Zimmerman, Bandura & Martinez-Pons, 1992). Moreover, in the context of science learning and teaching, how the self-regulated learning strategies influence students' science achievement was demonstrated. Self-regulated learning strategies involve the use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies and time/study environmental management (Garcia & Pintrich, 1994; Artino, 2005). Cognitive learning strategies consist of rehearsal, elaboration, organization and critical thinking (Bartels, Magun-Jackson & Kamp, 2009). …

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