Twenty-seventh Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

Assessment of Students’ Knowledge and Skills about Green Chemistry, Sustainability, and Systems Thinking

Symposium Organizers: Elizabeth L. Day, Assistant Professor, University of Texas – El Paso, and Alexey Leontyev, Assistant Professor, North Dakota State University

Since the initial conception of the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, there have been efforts to infuse the undergraduate curriculum with green, and lately, sustainable chemistry. These efforts have been the subject of many reviews, detailing the laboratory exercises, demonstrations, online activities, case studies, curricular materials and curricula. This work underscores the importance of engaging all students in thinking about the outcomes and connections of the central science to the larger environmental, human health, and socio-political systems around us. Despite multiple efforts to develop a green chemistry curriculum or embed green chemistry into existing courses, assessment of the impact on student learning is missing. One potential barrier to adoption is assessing student learning. For researchers and practitioners in chemistry education, the challenge of knowing what students know is necessary to the design and implementation of curricular materials and learning environments. To support partnerships in curriculum development and implementation, there is a need to elicit evidence of student understanding of green and sustainable chemistry and/or systems thinking.

This symposium is intended as a set of presentations of green chemistry education experts to show the assessment strategies they use to gather evidence of student understanding of green and sustainable chemistry. The focus of these presentations should be on the ways in which an expert would expect a novice to demonstrate their understanding and use of green chemistry principles, sustainability, life cycle analyses, and/or systems thinking. When discussing the assessment efforts, presenters are encouraged to reflect on what does a student performance on reported assessment look like if they “know” or “doing” green chemistry. For presenters with IRB approval, examples of student responses that are illuminating would be welcome, although all interested parties are invited.

This symposium seeks to answer the broad questions:

  1. What assessment methods are suitable for the evaluation of green chemistry instruction?
  2. What do green chemistry education experts want students to know and do with that knowledge?
  3. What evidence from students’ performances would convince green chemistry educators that students understand green and sustainable chemistry or systems thinking?

The symposium organizers welcome abstract submissions from faculty and green chemistry education experts interested in designing assessments for their current courses; chemistry education researchers interested in designing assessments that could be used as research tools; green chemistry experts interested in influencing the design of curricular materials and teachable units. Participants from ACS Green Chemistry Institute’s Green Chemistry Module Development Program are encouraged to apply and share their assessment strategies.

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